Once there was a girl, addicted to her phone. She tried and tried to stop, but no matter how hard she tried she couldn't get over the wonders of her phone. Social media. Games. Group chats. Anything that was meant for teens was on her phone. One day, this girl got a friend request from a boy she didn't know. Not thinking clearly, she accepted the friend request. They chatted every day, and soon a friendship grew to something more. Then one day, something happened that shook the girl to tears. This boy was sending her inappropriate pictures. Scared and alone, the girl was in too deep. She cried every night, terrified of what she had gotten herself into. Terrified of what might happen. One day, a police officer came to her school to give a guest presentation. The police officer gave her courage, and that evening when she came home she gathered up all her confidence and talked to her parents. She showed them her phone and cried out of shame. That night her parents took her to the police station. She was never the same again. This is how dangerous technology can be.
Anyone who has met a teenager knows how addicting phones can be. As the technology develops the demands rise. It's seems to be an endless sea of I want this and I want that when it comes to technology. However, technology can be severely damaging. With all this technological power at our hands, how long will it take before our world is transformed to a digital one?
As a teenager myself, I would be lying if I said phones aren't great. But they have a limit to their greatness. Every teen seems to have social media on their phone. I don't have social media myself, but I know it can be really damaging. The people that make social media apps are people that know how to make it addictive. These same people make gambling machines. A new study shows that social media can lead to depression and loneliness. An experiment was conducted where 143 students from the University of Pennsylvania were split into two different groups. One group continued their social media usage as normal and the other group restricted it to 30 minutes a day. The group that restricted their social media usage was proven to have a better mental health outcome.
Social media can also lead to cyber bullying. A 2016 study of cyber bullying shows that 33.8 students have been cyber bullied in their lifetime and 16 .9 in the previous 30 days to the survey. 22.5 students say they have had hurtful comments online, 20.1 say they have had rumors online, 12.7 have had mean names or comments online said about them with a sexual meaning, 12.2 have been threatened online and the list goes on. Cyber bullying can have a series of negative effects such as low self-esteem, skipping school, stress, doubt and isolation. No one wants to have this. It is important to limit these trends.
So, how can you help? The first step is to cut back on social media. It doesn't have to be completely cut away, just by small amounts each week or month. Limiting the usage of social media would improve your mental health and could build confidence in the outside world. Secondly, if you know someone is struggling from cyber bullying or online interactions please tell someone. The worst is when you know your friend is being bullied and you don't support them. Believe me, it's happened to me. Thirdly, if you want to cyber bully someone, stop and think first. How would you feel if someone did that to you? How would you feel if your parents knew what you are doing? Remember, everything you do has consequences. If you want to cyber bully someone to make yourself feel better, don't do it. The best way to make yourself feel better is to talk to someone you trust. If you start disrupting others for your own need it only leads to more trouble. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. Before you do anything, remember to think twice!