Facebook is one of the most defining inventions of the modern era. With approximately 2.27 billion monthly active users and being the world’s third most visited site, Facebook is definitely a twentieth-century phenomenon. When Mark Zuckerberg first conceptualized Facebook, little did he know that this website would turn out to be a literal rite of passage for teens in today’s times. Nearly every teenager can bear witness to the fact that Facebook has impacted their lives significantly. But as it is with every technology, there are two sides to every coin. Facebook has been influential for adolescents yes. But how and in what manner?
Advantages of Facebook for Teens – Positive Effects
Facebook still stands true to its origins. It’s a wonderful means to connect with nearly everyone, young and old. For teenagers, it has been a means to communicate with their peers from high school and elsewhere after classes. Many kids also see it as a means to get their very own pen friend with whom they can discuss issues they face and other topics of interest. In recent times, educators have also taken to interacting with students over Facebook so as to build a stronger rapport with teens. Facebook’s additional Messenger and live stories are other key features that are helping teenager interactions in a digital world.
Long gone are times where people sit with newspapers and sift through the huge and easily disintegrating pages. Despite there being news apps and websites, for teenagers, Facebook is fast becoming their very own personalized news feed. The best part of it all is that youngsters can personalize their Facebook feed according to their interests. There is near instant updates of events as they happen. Also with Facebook’s live story feature teenagers can witness events such as learning seminars concerts, movie premieres as and when they happen.
3. Digital Portfolio
Times have changed and one of the hottest trends popular with teens seeking internships is to build their digital portfolio. A digital portfolio is a resume of sorts with the teen’s social media highlights and Facebook is an integral part of it. With the digital marketing industry on the rise, teenagers are setting the groundworks for their careers ahead with internships such as these.
4. Business/ Entrepreneurial Opportunities
Kids these days are making the full use of Facebook’s networking ability. With a potential worldwide reach, students are raring to go and test their entrepreneurial abilities by marketing their own creations on the platform. Influencer marketing is now all the fad. Teenagers with a huge Facebook friend base can earn ton loads by posting pictures of them with sponsored gear.
5. Crisis Response
Whenever natural calamities or incidents such as the school shootings take place, young adults can make sure their parents are alerted of their safety with Facebook’s Crisis Response feature.
6. Creative Expression
Facebook is a platform where teenagers can just disconnect from the issues happening around them and let the inner artist in them take over. Kids can showcase their talent to the world from inspirational posts to photography to live streaming videos of them singing, etc.
All said and done, Facebook is not all that great. Misuse of Facebook is not an uncommon thing. Many parents of teenagers have gone ahead to impose bans on Facebook usage on their kids.
Disadvantages of Facebook Usage For Teens – Negative Effects
1. Antisocial behavior
Facebook is a platform which can make teens narcissistic and uncaring towards others with a detrimental effect on their mental health. In their bid to get more friends and followers online, they can forget to socialize and interact with the people closest to them such as their parents. Drama stemming from the platform, primarily “the relationship status” issues can spill over at home with teens lashing out inappropriately. Ironically, a tool designed for encouraging socializing can lead to antisocial antics.
2. Loss of focus from academics
Facebook is so vast and encompasses literally every field of interest. Along with that its very addictive features such as live chatting, stories, finding friends, status updates can take up a considerable amount of time. Students would be less inclined to study and spend time on Facebook leading to a serious loss of academic focus.
3. Inappropriate exposure
Facebook is not privy to vulgarity. Teenagers these days are exposed to a ton of violence, nudity, and other graphic posts. Even if a kid doesn’t go searching for and subscribe to such posts cue Facebook ads.
4. Data Privacy
Everybody knows the Facebook privacy issues what with the recent turn of events involving CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. With teenagers and kids, this problem is even more sensitive as pedophiles using pictures in child pornography and other shameful activities.
5. Dangerous/ Fatal fads
Facebook is no stranger to dangerous challenges which can sometimes be very lethal. And teenagers with their young spirits and the users most prone to participate in such challenges. Infamous examples include the momo challenge, the kiki challenge, tide pod challenge, salt ice challenge, vampire biting, duct tape challenge, the choking game among many other fatal ones. The 48-hour challenge on Facebook consisted of participants disappearing for 48 hours without getting discovered by any known individuals.
One of the many disadvantages of Facebook is that it has allowed bullying to take place at unprecedented rates. Fat shaming, racial and religious abuse, homophobic slurs, the release of comprising pictures are among the examples of online bullying on Facebook. What’s sad is that the same online bullying is spilling onto teens’ offline world in schools and communities. In many instances, victims have even resorted to suicide.
7. Compromise of personal space
The online world is fascinating and many teens have their vibrant avatars and personas there. But when it comes to their real life behind the curtains of social media, it is a pretty bleak picture. Teenagers suffer from a lack of personal space where they can be themselves and take a breather for a moment. Loneliness despite having thousands of friends is another of the psychological effects that stem from Facebook usage.