Social Networking: A Problem for Adolescents
Sociology 1010 P06
November 15, 2011
The impact of internet communication on adolescent social development is of considerable importance to health professionals, parents, and teachers. Online social networking and instant message applications, such as those found on Facebook, are very popular amongst an era of high-tech youth (Campbell 2011). These utilities facilitate communication for teenagers. Although these methods provide many different ways to communicate with each other, they also have real repercussions that spark questions about the social “improvement’s” validity. Acceptable social interaction is now popularly reflected online as a direct result of growing internet access, especially in the adolescent youth. Online Social Networks are regularly revamping the nature of relationships between peers. The internet has begun to take on a role of, not only an information tool, but as a place where teenage adolescents can offer and receive support. Likewise the internet can also be a completely anonymous place where someone could never know whom someone is having a conversation with. Keywords: Adolescent social development, online social networking, social interaction With the acceptance and use of any technology, there is an array of affairs that affect how social networking sites are used on a distinct adolescent level, as well as group tendencies that come into play. Adolescent’s collective, susceptible, and impetuous demeanor, associated with the element of the internet composes a generous strain for tormenting, essentially because their guardians can be uneducated of their own child’s behavior and the risks that could potentially be involved. Also people can, anonymously, post comments with no repercussions so they are more inclined to bully. Many people have trouble living by the “Golden Rule,” and when impoliteness starts clouding the internet, police and prosecutors are called to step in. Justification
The top two reasons individuals create an online profile are for creative self-expression and to document and share personal experiences. Adolescents find these reasons much more significant as they analyze new form of self-expression, identity development, and social interaction (Kidwell, Dunham, Bacho, & Pastorino, 1995). The more adolescent’s participate in social networking site activities, the more he or she may become reliant on the site for communication. This method of communication is even more complex by appreciating that teens, while unique individuals sitting at the computer typing and posting their thoughts, they are also children and citizens, with various social norms, ethics, and standards of behavior coinciding to each identity. Online communication has the potential to interact with, affect, or be influenced by all spheres of life. The internet provides unrestricted possibilities for adolescent identity as they seek to understand how they fit into the ever changing world surrounding them. Simultaneously, the internet is a functioning community involving personal morals and regulatory processes; but, these processes are stunted if adolescents do not see their online behavior as subject to any social norm. In day-by-day interactions, adolescents are in constant check and balance with parents, teachers, peers, and societal norms. Their actions bring about apparent reactions that they use to gauge future decisions and behaviors. Specifically, the internet does not provide this type of apparent punishment. Standards for internet behavior originate through text communication normalizing or encouraging various activities or attitudes, these unseen “cyber-friendships” (Mee, 2006) allow adolescents to construct the environments that will shape their psychosocial development (Greenfield & Yan, 2006). Online social networking sites have enormously enhanced aptitude of adolescents to connect inadvertently regardless of the distance in culture or habitat (Hinduja, Patchin, 2010). The popularity of these websites, combined with their ability to bridge offline and online connections, create a unique context for exploring the changing nature of adolescent socialization and the implications for their well-being. Adolescent self-esteem can easily be affected by the amount of feedback received from online social profiles. Recent studies have shown that online social networking does not lead to emotionally closer relationships offline. Pre-teenage and teenage adolescence reach a crucial age of developing friendships and clear gender identities. Meaningful friendships begin to emerge at this age. Adolescents experiment with various forms of social behaviors and experience changing forms of emotional response to that of more mature people. Identity formation is a capital task in adolescence; any young teens who explore their own identities are more likely to experience mood swings, anxiety, turmoil, disrupted thinking and, strife toward guardians (Erikson, 1968). Adolescents go through certain behavioral patterns that at first may seem to be a cause for concern, but are developmentally appropriate and normal. Adolescents who may feel they have lost their, so called voice in society or maybe ignored by authority figures in their personal life, can channel their need for attention into their online social network, in contrast to feeling confused, worried, negative, misunderstood, or just physically acting out (Kidwell, 1995). Affairs coming from adolescent social network profiles embody romantic relationships, friends, parents, substance use, sexuality, popular culture, eating disorders, school, depression, conflicts, self-expression, and self-harm (Mazur, 2005). Social networking sites have become the social norm of communications equivalent to that of cell phones, email, or instant messaging (Mee, 2006). The key differences amongst social network sites and other forms of communication involve the accessible nature of social networking sites due to internet enabled cell phones, the facilitated observance of previous printable dialog, and the creativity given to adolescents to define their life according to personal interests and how they view themselves. From a functionalist viewpoint, the internet has greatly increased the immediate means of communication to include email, instant messaging, and other various forms of messaging through social network sites; these communication channels allow prompt connection to friends, and acquaintances. Technology has greatly increased speed of communication, also this facilitation in technology can be used for academic purposes and media reports. From the conflict perspective, there are dangers associated with social networking including data theft and viruses, which are on the rise. The most prevalent danger, though, often involves online predators or individuals who claim to be someone that they are not. Although danger does exist with networking online, it also exists in the real world too. Just like someone is advised when meeting strangers at clubs and bars, school, or work he or she is also advised to proceed with caution online. The potentially hazardous aspect of this technology derives from the benevolence of the internet and the aspects of anonymity of the user. Another crisis that terrorizes social networking sites consist of the explicit content thrusted upon children, killing innocence and creating a society filled with violent, sexual assholes. Cyber bullying exceeds school yard bullying because of its alluring presence causing targeted students to have an inescapable battle with their oppressor. Opinion
There are many potential problems with social networking sites and the adolescents that use them. Social networking online involves using Web sites to share information with others and connect with them by creating a profile that may include a personal Web page and a blog. Social networking sites allow users to add friends, send messages and comment on others' profile pages. Along with these benefits come some risks. Most social networking sites are open to all, which means that your adolescent could be exposed to harassment, bullying or sexual advances. Cyber-bullying and harassment are most often perpetrated by other teens and tend to happen most to older girls and to adolescents of either gender who have a strong online presence. It may take several forms, such as, publicizing private instant messages, text messages or e-mails, posting threatening messages, posting photos that will cause embarrassment, and spreading rumors. It is rare for harassment to spill over into real-world conflicts, but it can still be a cause of emotional distress for adolescents. A greater danger is that teens may become targets of pedophiles. The anonymity of some social networking sites makes it easy for unscrupulous people to target young adolescents and engage them in harmful conversations. It is easy for predators to pose as teens and lure children into harmful real-world contact as well. Most social networking sites have privacy controls in place, but teens seldom use them. Both the opportunities and the risks arise because self-actualization is a social process. Selves are constituted through interaction with others and, for today’s teenagers, self-actualization increasingly includes a careful negotiation between the opportunities and risks by social-internet communication. References
Campbell, A. (2011). Online social networking amongst teens: friend or foe? Studies In Health Technology And Informatics, 167(May), 133-138. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21688277 Greenfield, p., & Yan, 2., (2006) Children, Adolescents, and the internet: A new field on inquiry in developmental psychology,
Developmental Psychology, 42, (3) 391-394. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/dev/42/3/391/ Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2010). Bullying, cyber bullying, and suicide. Archives of suicide research official journal of the International Academy for Suicide Research, 14(3), 206-221. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2065837 Kidwell, J. S., Dunham, R. M., Bacho, R. A., Pastorino, E., & Portes, P. R. (1995). Adolescent identity exploration: a test of Eriksonʼs theory of transitional crisis. Adolescence, 30(120), 785-793. Mazur, E. (2005). Online and writing: Teen blogs as mines of adolescent data. Teaching of Psychology, 32(3), 180-182. Retrieved from http://www.leaonline.com/loi/top. Mee, C. (2006). To Blog or not to blog. On Target 2(1), 30-31., 2(1), 30-31.