The impact of social media on young adults

May 26, 2018 Media

This essay is going to look into the impact of social media on young adults, how widespread it as among this generation, and how strong is its influence. Young or prime adults, according to Erik Erikson’s stages of human development, is a person in the age range of twenty to forty, engages mainly college students, workers and ones still looking for a job. We can think of regular media being a one-way street where we can just obtain the information without being able to give our thoughts on the matter.

Social media, alternatively, is a two-way street where information flows both ways, giving us the ability to interact and communicate. Social Networking Sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Bebo, Hi5, Last. FM. , have the major role in young people’s lives. Accoring to the PEW resarch project (Lenhart et al. , 2013), the specific sites on which young adults maintain their profiles is Facebook, leading with 71% of users, and MySpace, almost keeping up with 66%. They are less likely to have a profile on the professionally oriented network, LinkedIn 7% .

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From an article Youth Engagement and Social Media Guide based on Youth Work and Social Networking Final Report (NYA, 2008), as main reasons and purposes of creating and using these profiles we can mention: Keeping in touch with friends and acquaintances; ? Developing new contacts often with friends of friends, or people with shared interests;? Sharing content, engaging in self expression ; exploring identity;? Hanging out and consuming content including commercial and user-generated content;? Accessing information and informal learning; ? Participating in informal groups, and formal youth engagement opportunities;?

Beside social networking sites, they are some other, less common types of social media, like Social Bookmarking, which involves interacting by tagging websites and searching through websites bookmarked by other people; Social News where is interacted by rating articles and commenting on them; Social Photo and Video Sharing, used to interact by uploading photos or videos and commenting on other users submissions, or Wikis, involving adding articles and editing existing articles. Just a decade ago, young people could have only been in touch and socialize with friends and peers when hanging out at school, or meeting up in town.

Nowadays, social media tools are woven into many young people’s day-to-day lives. In conversation and communication with their friends and peer groups, young adults are using a wide variety of different media and media devices every day. Through instant messaging, social networks, online games etc, they are “constantly connected”! The impact of Social media on society, and young adults as a most affected population, has been that strong that „real“ and „online“ world cannot be distinguished any more, the online world IS real, and has a great importance on lives of young people.

Even more, it has become unavoidable to participate it, almost in any aspect of life, if wanting to be „up-to-date“. Where young people have limited access to technology their ‘digital exclusion’ may add to ‘social exclusion’. However, as social media brings about changes in society – it does impact upon all young people (Sokol, 2013). As we we can’t always predict and control how people will use it, there are many advantages, but as many disadvanteges arising, in aspects of socializing, relationships, health, life quality and job hunting.

Socializing wise, the main question is: Is social networking working in favour of sustaining pre-built personal relationships, and making new friendships and aquistances, or is more tending to ruin face-to-face relationships with close friends and families, increasing just the number of unreal and inconsistent “friendships”, but not the quality of socializing. (Chambers, 2013). Also, uncontrolled use of social media could create dependency on it, in a way that one starts to think making contacts outside the social network is less important or unnecessary.

Also, according to Erin Meyers, assistant professor of communication and journalism at OU, while social media and constant connection can be beneficial, excessive use can derive some social issues among young people, like the impact it has on young people’s self-esteem. Social media sites being an outlet for aspirations, it can cause people to hold themselves up to an unreal standard. In addition, when one not realizing that other person’s life might not be as perfect as represented on those sites, they could feel like coming up short in comparison to their own lifestyle ( Sokol, 2013).

In respects of the relationships, A study from Brigham Young University concluded that teenagers who connect with their parents in social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have a better connection with them offline. They are also less likely to behave aggressively or be depressed. We could not say the same for marital relationships. Most common causes that could lead to a breakup or divorce among excessive Facebook users are partner supervision and jealousy coming from a partner keeping in touch with his/her ex (Lee, 2013).

Job hunting and hiring wise; a study carried out by CareerBuilder in 2012, found that out that nearly 40% recruitment professionals use social media to screen applicants. Another research, along similar lines by the New York Times has shown that 70% of interviewed have not hired someone because of what they found whilst screening their online profiles. Often, they get caught unprepared, not being aware that their Facebook profile is actually more likely to be screened than their LinkedIn profile, as emplyers prefer to screen the private life rather than being „fooled” with „made to impress“ employees profiles.

The fact that social media is being used to screen them is probably not something that young people are happy about, but if predicting it, they can make the best return on it by sculpting their profiles to be exactly what they potential employer wants to see (Waldman, 2013). Therefor, social networking, if suitably used, can just as easily have a positive impact on ones career. Firstly, it is an additional tool for job hunting, but also, young adults today are in the perfect position to manipulate social media to their ends, by finding a way to skip ahead of older generations.

Lastly, but nothing less important, is an impact of social media on young peoples health. Apart from the greater availability of useful health related information on blogs, forums and social networks, I can not come up with any other positive affect. Unfortunately, according to the research published on Child Refuge site, constant exposure to the internet because of social networking addiction limits engaging in physical activities, and, if excessive, could cause or involve also mental stagnation. Resarchers believe that there’s a link between social media usage and trouble getting to bed at night, often tied to mobile usage (Sokol, 2013).

The studies have shown that, among young adults, there is a relation between the high usage of mobile phones for communication with sleep disturbancees, stress, and depression. The social media for sure has had a great influence on everyone’s life, today’s young adults being the most affected, as being the first generation that met those of innovations. Will one be affected positively or negatively, depends on the individual himself. However, if not excessively used and applied in the appropriate manner, social media can be a great tool to keep connected worldwide and to make our lives easier, more eventful and fun on daily basis.


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