Social Media and Its Effects on Teenagers: Cyber Bullying and Impersonation

I joined Facebook in June 2011 and the joy of having an account was freaking me. After that day, I remembered I spent my weekends on Facebook Messenger because my friends were online. Towards the end of that year, another social media which is no longer in existence today came in vogue and it was known as 2go. My aunt helped me to open an account and I can remember how 2go status made some of my classmates feel inferior to others.

2go had about 10 ranks, with the last at Legend and the first as Amateur. I had people who were in the last stage and they felt like they had attained a great height in life. I met few people via the platform, and only one of them is still a friend today, though he is currently outside the country.

From my experience on social media, I have observed that teenagers suffer great effects of social media, ranging from Internet fraud, internet dating, imposter, and cyberbullying. Since the effects of social media seem dangerous, should I tell teenagers to stop using social media? No!

If you did not have the access to the internet, you would not be able to read this.

According to Wikipedia, “Social media are computed mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career, interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks”.

As of today, there are about 212 active social media sites, but over 800+ in existence. Out of the 212, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumble, Quota are active social media sites with their apps on an average Android user’s storage.

According to Social Media Today, Facebook has updated its monthly active users’ numbers to 2.2billion in March.
Twitter reported 336million active monthly users in its quarterly report.
YouTube measures logged in users, and now this number stands at 1.8billion.

What are the Benefits of Social Media?

  • Connection
  • Networking
  • Meeting old friends
  • Having a community around your interest or career
  • Social media as of today has helped several young adults and teenagers become a business owner, either by blogging, digital marketing or social media management.

What are the Effects of Social Media?

Cyberbullying is one effect that several victims are either the victim or the bully.
Cyberbullying takes place over digital devices like cell phones and computers. It can also occur through SMS. It includes sending, posting or sharing of negative, harmful table or mean content about someone else. Examples of a medium used to bully are SMS, instant message, Email, Facebook, Twitter.

In 2015, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, which is a part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that an estimated 16% of high school students are bullied electronically in the 12months prior to the survey.

I was once bullied on Facebook, by my classmates. Something happened in my class one day, and it was attacked by a girl in my class. After school hours, everyone resumed to Facebook and by the time I logged in at night, I realized that they continued the discussion on one of my picture on Facebook. They all insulted me.

The funny part was that I could not reply back, neither could I beg them to please stop the insults. I could not beg them because they would have mocked me for begging for mercy and continued the bullying later. I kept calm, didn’t go to school for a few days.

I was distracted, none of my parents, teachers knew what the girls in my class did on Facebook. After a week or thereabouts, they stopped the bully because someone posted an old picture of a girl in my class on Facebook. She took it as an insult and was ready to fight the person who uploaded the picture, so my bully was distracted.

Do you care to know how I felt the days I was bullied?

I felt sad, depressed, I was always anxious. Whenever I wanted to log in to Facebook, I was after my notifications. Cyberbullying damages teenagers self-esteem and put them to the risk of depression, stress-related disorder, suicide.

Signs of Cyberbullying

  • Emotionally upset
  • Secretive or protective
  • Withdrawal from family members
  • Change in mood
  • Avoiding discussions about the internet and technology.

How Do You Stop Cyberbullying?

  • Block the bully(s)
  • Limit the use of technology
  • Keep your password safe
  • Think before you post
  • Don’t make mean comment about anybody: this happens a lot on Twitter. I have come to realize, don’t say what you don’t know.
    Don’t contribute to a trend if you don’t have a handful information about it. If you insult anybody on Twitter be ready for clapbacks or threat depending on the topic at hand.

Impersonation on Social Media

So many times, you get a friend request on Facebook and after going through the user’s timeline, you discover that the user is an imposter.

I will have to talk about 2go again. 2go had several group chats with different interest, age group, and state.
They were many times I chatted with a stranger who turned out to be an adult, whereas, I met him on a teenage group.

Some individuals take a job to use people’s name because they have low self-esteem. Some, because they want to enjoy the attention.

Social media is a great tool, it only depends on how you use it.

If you are an impersonator:

  • Deactivate and delete the account on Facebook or any social media as it may be.
  • Try as much as possible to be truthful
  • Work on your self-esteem
  • Have a circle of good friends.

How Should Parents Help Teenagers with the Use of the Internet

  1. Ask them to log in to their account so you can see their previous notifications and messages
  2. Make sure you can monitor their activities online, like uploading of pictures, posting articles or write-ups. How people reply to their post on Facebook.

As teenagers, have friends offline; spend time with families and friends. Take time off your android, take time off the internet.

This will enable you to grow and help you overcome addiction, anxiety, and depression.

I hope you learnt something new from this?
Have you ever been bullied on social media? How did you overcome it? Let’s talk in the comments section below
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to not miss a post.

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