Social media has become a part and parcel of our daily lives. We can view social media as two sides of the same coin, bringing with it both positive and negative aspects. However, in recent years it has been observed that the dark side of social media has taken precedence over the bright one, especially when talking in context to the young generation.
According to a study conducted by Pakistan’s National Human Development Report in 2017, 64 % of the nation is younger than 30 and 29 % of Pakistanis are between 15 and 29 (an age group, which we define as the youth). Pakistan now has more young people than it has ever had, and this is forecasted to continue to increase until at least 2050.
The dark side of Social Media
As we know, young people are vulnerable and can easily be influenced by this glittering and dazzling world of social media. To mention some of the evils of social media include:
Poor academic performance
Decreased family time
Teens being dragged away from their culture
Increased vulnerability towards sexting and mental disturbance due to cyberbullying even suicide.
This belief can be cemented by the fact that the younger generation mostly uses social networking sites primarily for fun, to kill time, to meet existing friends, or to make new ones and ending up being addicted and wasting their precious time.
Moreover, this fact cannot be denied that social media has reduced our span of attention and disrupted our focus. Our ability to concentrate on the task at hand is significantly reduced by distractions brought about by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat.
In these unprecedented times, proliferation in COVID-19 cases has restricted everyone inside their house. Schools are closed and people working from their homes. Consequently, outdoor activities and sports are highly discouraged. People tend to spend time mostly on their gadgets using different applications, playing games, watching videos posing serious threats to physical, mental health, and overall wellbeing.
This has deviated teenagers from career and personal development goals, which could add up plus points in their academic record. Instead of investing this judicious time in activities like meditation, fitness, learning new things, reading books, or researching in various disciplines, they are utilizing their time in likes, shares, comments, posting selfies, and chatting. Without realizing it, paying little attention to personal development can bring about negative consequences, months, or years down the road.
Another detrimental effect brought about by social media is that it builds a wall among family members. Though social media is a great way to interact, yet problems emerge when teenagers start detaching themselves from their families. Overindulgence of teenagers in social media has pulled them away from public spaces, family gatherings, traditional social settings, neighborhoods, and other integral associations, making them isolated in their rooms. It seems that teenagers have made a trade-off by subtly substituting social media for family gatherings and face-to-face interactions.
Hence, we can say that social media is a double-edged sword to tread on carefully and should be taught as a subject in schools to create awareness.