Social networks are websites or other applications which enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, and images. An example of that might be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and many others. As it is known, teenagers are the most fanatic users of these sites. Nowadays, some might believe that people are now more connected now than they were before. While it might seem like social networking is bringing people together, it is now less clear. Interacting on social media was first seen as a good thing for teens. As more time passes though, questions are now being raised on the true effect of social networks on teens and their health and wellbeing. (Sales 65) This is an important issue to study because mental health problems and social isolation are at epidemic levels among teenagers and a source as to why must be found.
Young people themselves are quick to defend their socially networked lives. The majority of teenager’s report that social media helps them feel more connected to their friends and provides critical support during difficult times. Yet, at the same time, one out of five teens disclose feeling worse about their own life because of what they see on social media. (Oestreicher)
Studies have shown that social media sites are an effective tool for connecting with new and old friends. However, some users may find themselves spending quite a bit of time viewing them and may inevitably begin comparing what’s happening in their lives to the activities and accomplishments of their friends. According to University of Houston (UH) researcher Mai-Ly Steers, this kind of social comparison paired with the amount of time spent on social networks may be linked to depressive symptoms. (Carroll)
A second study shows that It turns out that the people who reported spending the most time on social media — more than two hours a day — had twice the odds of perceived social isolation than those who said they spent a half hour per day or less on those sites. And people who visited social media platforms most frequently, 58 visits per week or more, had more than three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week. (Hobson)
A third study shows that social media “may provide an additional way to connect with others and form relationships”, they are also potentially “a source of social comparison, cyber bullying and isolation”. Chris King, chairman of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) of schools, said teens at leading independent schools are turning to counseling to help them cope with the pressures of appearing popular on social media.
Also, adolescent psychiatrist Dr Hayley Van Zwanberg, of the Priory Group said: “Children are totally immersed in a virtual world which is damaging both to the way they see themselves and the way they perceive the real world; some young children are finding it hard to unpick reality from fantasy.” (Jamieson)
Not all teens respond in the same way even to social networking and not all teens use the same tools and sites. Facebook is the focus of most current research yet many teens are quickly adopting new platforms. The best thing we can do as parents is to observe, stay connected, and ask questions. (Oestreicher 88) Some teens may be feeling sad and turn to the Internet for much-needed support. Others may find that the Internet increases feelings of sadness or loneliness. Some may feel creative and inspired while others become angry and irritable. These signs are more important than any study. (Homayoun 76)
The questions that should be answered throughout the research are the following: The first question emphasizes on how can social networks cause isolation. Is it by comparing oneself to another person or another reason? The second question will show the extent of the usage of social networks that leads to isolation. Finally, the third question aims to figure out if there is a connection between mental health and social network isolation. This research expects that social networks have a harmful effect on teens if they use them too often. The confirmation of this hypothesis would indicate that social networks do cause isolation among teens. On the other hand, it could be disconfirmed and that would show that social networks don’t have an effect on the youth.
Method, Design, and Procedure:
A survey and an interview will be conducted to prove the hypothesis. The survey will be conducted on high school students from three different schools. The students will be of both genders and fall in the range of fourteen to eighteen years old. A survey is the finest technique to apply since it targets the people who the research is about. Moreover, the interview will be done on a physiatrist to show how the effects of social networks on one’s mental health.
As mentioned previously, the hypothesis indicates that social networks do cause isolation among teens. If the research done reveals results that indicate that social networks are harmful if the survey’s results show that teens do feel isolated because of social media the hypothesis would be confirmed. However, it could also be disconfirmed. In case the benefits of using social media are higher than the disadvantages and if the scientific evidence isn’t proved.
Significance and Conclusion:
In conclusion, teens often times feel they are inadequate just through normal real-life interactions, and social networks amplify those feelings and thoughts. This does not mean social networks are horrible or should not be used by teens, however. More studies are needed to find the long-term impact of teens and social networks, but the correlation between loneliness and social networks is definitely being felt. Teenagers should be aware of the consequences in order to look out for their health.