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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
  • 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

Next Story

Collective Attention Span Among People Decreases Rapidly as of 24/7 News Availability

"As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual's ability to evaluate the information they consume," said researchers. 

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"Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person," Lehmann noted. Pixabay

People are losing their collective attention span rapidly owing to the ‘fear of missing out’ (FOMO), staying up-to-date on social media and breaking news coming at them 24/7 via various platforms, a team of European scientists has warned.

The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity.

FOMO is social anxiety characterised by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.

“It seems the allocated attention in our collective minds has a certain size, but the cultural items competing for that attention have become densely packed. “This would support the claim that it has indeed become difficult to stay up-to-date on the news cycle, for example,” said Professor Sune Lehmann from Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

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The study with first empirical evidence in the journal Nature Communications has found that our collective attention span is indeed narrowing and that this effect occurs not only on social media but also across diverse domains, including books, web searches and movie popularity. Pixabay

To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years.

In addition, they gathered data from Google Trends (2010-2018), Reddit (2010-2015) and Wikipedia (2012-2017).

When looking into the global daily top 50 hashtags on Twitter, scientists found that peaks became increasingly steep and frequent. In 2013, a hashtag stayed in the top 50 for around 17.5 hours and gradually decreased to 11.9 hours in 2016.

The trend is mirrored in other domains, online and offline as well.

“Since the available amount of attention remains more or less the same, the result is that people are more rapidly made aware of something happening and lose interest more quickly. However, the study does not address attention span on the level of the individual person,” Lehmann noted.

twitter
To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied Twitter data from 2013 to 2016, books from Google Books going back 100 years, movie ticket sales going back 40 years, and citations of scientific publications from the last 25 years. 
Pixabay

The study was conducted by a team of European scientists from Technische Universitat Berlin, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, University College Cork and DTU.

Also Read: New Survey Indicates, Indians Most Worry About Terrorism, Unemployment And Corruption

“As a next step, it would be interesting to look into how this affects individuals, since the observed developments may have negative implications for an individual’s ability to evaluate the information they consume,” said researchers.

Acceleration increases, for example, the pressure on journalists’ ability to keep up with an ever-changing news landscape. “We hope more research in this direction will inform the way we design new communication systems,” the team said. (IANS)