ALVIN RWEBEMBERA, 15 YEARS, LONDON COLLEGE OF ST LAWRENCE. Social media are internet services for sharing personal information and ideas. The effects of social media on youths are very evident as it becomes more prevalent. Social media has affected youths positively in a way that those with social and emotional issues feel more included with social media and online activities which helps them to be more interactive. Both the learning and teaching faculty have been offered potential benefits in the process of learning information especially in this lockdown where schools have been closed. Social media allows expression of creativity like the youth express their talents and interests digitally for example through YouTube, Instagram, and many other social media platforms. When the youth use Instagram what they are reading and who they follow is based on their interests, when doing this they explore and learn new things. The social media platforms expose teens to current events and teach them many things such as developing health habits. Social media has helped the youth to grow spiritually through Bible apps and through fellowship groups. Social media has also helped the youth by providing scholastic materials which they use in online lessons through online shopping apps like Jumia and amazon this has helped the youth more so during the lockdown. The youth get entertained from the long stress of online lessons through apps like tiktok and like. They also get a chance to chat with their friends from school through messaging apps like WhatsApp and messenger. However, social media can also be negative through social comparison theory. Social comparison theory examines how people establish their personal value by comparing themselves to others these social comparisons are related with feelings of jealousy. Social media leads to the development of depression in users who have been cyberbullied. Cyberbullying or cyber harassment is when someone bullies harass others on internet and in other different purposes. This is common in youth but should be stopped. Using seven or more social media platforms has been correlated with a higher risk of anxiety and depression in youths. Social media can significantly influence body image concerns in female adolescents ‘especially young women who are easily influenced by the images of others on social media may hold themselves to unrealistic standards for their bodies because of prevalence of digital alteration. The phenomena of Facebook depression is a condition which comes to surface when youths have a higher usage of Facebook. Adolescents feel judged when they post on Instagram and worry constantly if their post will reach a certain number of likes. Teens often will even look for a friend’s acceptance of a picture they want to post and if they receive a negative feedback this allows for a decrease in self-esteem. Children can get exposed to pornographic images. Social media has increased the influence of bad peer groups through Facebook and WhatsApp. Social media has encouraged bad habits in the youth like online betting since there is not parental guidance. The harmful consequences of social media like internet addiction, video game addiction and risky internet use can lead to secondary complications from their academic performances to health behaviors that are impacted upon their lives directly.

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