Nearly 2.5 billion people used social media in 2017, and it has its own effect on every user. Our world has been dramatically affected by the creation of social media. Social media, also called social networking, has been a cause of debate for years due to the mixed effects it has on teenagers. Many believe it to be a negative influence on young minds, and argue that it causes mental health issues, sleep deprivation, and decreased productivity. On the other hand, supporters say that it expands the knowledge of users, develops skills such as leadership and empathy, and help reinforce relationships. Social media, when used with care and in moderation, can have beneficial effects such as strengthening friendships and enabling youth to engage in activities that positively affect their community.
Social media can be used as a platform to implement positive changes in one’s community. Even teens, who have a reputation of being addicted to social media, use it as a tool for aiding the people around them. The article “How Teens Are Using Social Media To Do Good” summarizes many initiatives taken on by teenagers who use social media for their projects. One of these youth, Caitie Shaw, created #Cyberlove on Facebook to help youth spread positivity on social media. Another student mentioned by the article, Rob Dyer, “founded Skate4Cancer - Dream Love Cure in an effort to raise awareness and spread knowledge on cancer prevention.” These teenagers used social media platforms in order to bring their ideas, which would help those around them, into reality. Shaw and Dyer were not using social media to harm others, they were using it to better the world. No matter the size of their impact, what they were doing did not negatively affect the world. However, if these people were using their platforms irresponsibly, their work would not have succeeded. It is important to keep in mind that reckless overuse would not have had the same favorable influence. Without the use of social media in these situations, it becomes difficult to spread change. For all the consequences that social media may have, it is undeniable in situations like this that social media can also be used to help others.
In addition to spreading positivity, social media can also aid in strengthening relationships with family and friends. A study done by the Pew Research center found that “More than nine-in-ten teens (94%) say they spend time with friends on social media. Fully 30% say they spend time with friends on social media every day, and another third (37%) say they do so every few days.” According to a Common Sense Media survey, “Half (52%) of all teen social media users say using such media has mainly helped their relationships with friends, compared to just 4% who say social media use has mainly hurt their relationships... In addition, a majority of teens say social media help them keep in touch with friends they can't see regularly (88%).” Almost all teens use social media to spend time with friends, and 67% use it for this purpose at least every few days. Only a minority of the studied teens said that their friendships were hurt by social media, and the vast majority said that it helped them stay connected with friends. The use of social media is far more beneficial than harmful to teenagers’ friendships. If this service did not exist, teenagers would not have the ability to stay in such close contact.
Without the connection that is provided by social media, the bonds between teenagers may become weaker and less numerous. Social media is an important tool that can aid in creating, maintaining, and strengthening friendships.
Despite having negative effects, social networking sites and apps have an overall positive effect on teenagers in particular. The effects of social media, such as aiding the connections between friends and spreading positivity, make it clear to see that it can help teenagers. Teenagers use social media platforms to implement change that has a widespread effect. In addition, friendships between teens can be strengthened through the use of social media. For all that, if social media had been used recklessly in these instances, it would not affect users constructively. For all of social media’s harmful consequences, moderate and careful use by adolescents can have its benefits, such as maintaining friendships and implementing positive change.