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Social Media Can Affect Teenagers’ Real Life Relationships

The increased screen time could also convert to more problems offline, the findings showed

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Social Media can potentially affect teenager's real life relationships too. Pixabay
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  • Social media can severely affect the relationship of teenagers
  • Many teenagers are victims of online bullying
  • More time online can cause problems offline too

Even as effects of social media use on mental well-being is hotly debated, a new study says that spending too much time online can create problems in real life relationship of teenagers and vice versa.

Social Media can potentially damage teenagers' real life relationships. Wikimedia Commons
Social Media can potentially damage teenagers’ real life relationships. Wikimedia Commons

Results of a survey conducted by Professor Candice Odgers of University of California, Irvine and her colleagues showed teenagers from low-income families reported more physical fights, face-to-face arguments and trouble at school that spilt over from social media.

On the other hand, the researchers found that adolescents from economically disadvantaged households are also more likely to be bullied and victimised in cyberspace.

“The majority of young people appear to be doing well in the digital age, and many are thriving with the new opportunities that electronic media provides. But those who are already struggling offline need our help online too,” Odgers said.

Also Read: Social Media Giant, Facebook Introduces Ad Performance Measurement Solutions

Many teenagers are victims of cyberbullying. Pixabay
Many teenagers are victims of cyberbullying. Pixabay

In a commentary published in the journal Nature, Odgers argued that while smartphones should not be seen as universally bad, vulnerable teenagers experience greater negative effects of life online.

“What we’re seeing now may be the emergence of a new kind of digital divide, in which differences in online experiences are amplifying risks among already vulnerable adolescents,” said Odgers, who is also a fellow in Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Child & Brain Development programme.

For the last 10 years, Odgers has been tracking adolescents’ mental health and their use of smartphones.

In her survey of North Carolina schoolchildren, 48 percent of 11-year-olds said they owned a mobile phone as did eighty-five percent of 14-year-olds.

Also Read: Social Media in India: Understanding The Dynamics of ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’

The study showed that teenagers from families with a household income of less than $35,000 per year spent three more hours a day on screen media watching TV and online videos than teenagers in families with an annual income of more than $100,000.

More time online can cause problems in real life. Pixabay
More time online can cause problems in real life. Pixabay

The increased screen time could also convert to more problems offline, the findings showed.

“The evidence so far suggests that smartphones may serve as mirrors reflecting problems teens already have. Those from low-income families said that social media experiences more frequently spilt over into real life, causing more offline fights and problems at school,” Odgers said. IANS

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Social Media Laws Should Be Tightened: Germany

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law

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An illustration picture shows a man starting his Twitter app on a mobile device in Hanau near Frankfurt. VOA

German states have drafted a list of demands aimed at tightening a law that requires social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove hate speech from their sites, the Handelblatt newspaper reported Monday.

Justice ministers from the states will submit their proposed revisions to the German law called NetzDG at a meeting with Justice Minister Katarina Barley on Thursday, the newspaper said, saying it had obtained a draft of the document.

The law, which came into full force on Jan. 1, is a highly ambitious effort to control what appears on social media and it has drawn a range of criticism.

Twitter, tweets, social media
Twitter allows publishers to monetise video views globally. (VOA)

While the German states are focused on concerns about how complaints are processed, other officials have called for changes following criticism that too much content was being blocked.

The states’ justice ministers are calling for changes that would make it easier for people who want to complain about banned content such as pro-Nazi ideology to find the required forms on social media platforms.

They also want to fine social media companies up to 500,000 euros ($560,950) for providing “meaningless replies” to queries from law enforcement authorities, the newspaper said.

Till Steffen, the top justice official in Hamburg and a member of the Greens party, told the newspaper that the law had in some cases proven to be “a paper tiger.”

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If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite. Pixabay

“If we want to effectively limit hate and incitement on the internet, we have to give the law more bite and close the loopholes,” he told the paper. “For instance, it cannot be the case that some platforms hide their complaint forms so that no one can find them.”

Also Read: Facebook Allows French Regulators to Oversee Hate Speech Control

Facebook in July said it had deleted hundreds of offensive posts since implementation of the law, which foresees fines of up to 50 million euros ($56.10 million) for failure to comply. (VOA)