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The way in which the majority of the world now communicates is through Social Network Sites which is very common in today’s society. Over the past ten years Facebook has grown to be the number one social network site utilized in the world. The purpose of this research is to educate parents on the dangers it can bring to adolescents. The primary audience will be parents of adolescent children. This research will explore the disadvantages of adolescent communication on Facebook media. Focusing on Cyberbullying, Sexting, and Facebook Depression, looking at how this behavior can have a negative impact on them.
Traditional adolescent bullying in the 70’s and 80’s of threats to do bodily harm to another adolescent either before school, after school, on the playground, or even in locker rooms have become somewhat a thing of the past. With todays advanced technology such as cell phones, and Social Network Sites you now have what is called Cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is any behavior performed through electronic or digital media by individuals or groups that repeatedly communicates hostile or aggressive messages intended to inflict harm or discomfort on others (Tokunaga 2010). This new trend of harassment amongst adolescents has become more and more prevalent than ever before. Any adolescent ranging from the age of 13 to 18 can obtain a profile on Facebook.
Facebook media which is the number one social network site in the entire world has become a caveat for Cyberbullying. There is no need for the aggressor or better known as the bully to wait until there are other children around to see the pain that they can inflect on others. This electronic accessible website ultimately allows an adolescent to do his or her dirty work behind closed doors. It only takes a few key strokes on a key board making it so much easier to intimidate, humiliate, and threaten someone. The bully has more freedom, or should I say he or she is less inhibited when it is done online. It is done anywhere, at anytime, and the victim is subjected to this behavior because usually the computer is where schoolwork is performed, and where the adolescent communicates with their friends (Interdynamics, Inc 2012). The main objective of the adolescent bully is demonstrate and gain control over the other.
Cyberbullying amongst adolescents have no boundaries. There are no discriminatory factors of race, sex, or demographical areas. Cyberbullying behavior preys on the weak, usually other children of low self-esteem. Most likely the ones who do not have friends or who aren’t associated with any type of group(s). Studies have shown that girls are more involved in cyberbullying than boys (Cox Communications 2009).
Bullying is a learned behavior from an environment needing and desiring control over others. This type of behavior can have serious effects and damage families permanently. Unfortunately some adolescents have resorted to suicide as a result of being bullied. Teen Charged in Fatal Cyberbullying Case of Rebecca Sedwick to Remain in Jail (Newcomb, A. 2013). Eden Wormer, whose Facebook cover image included the haunting words, “Right Now The Only Love Of My Life is Me Myself”, she took her own life after enduring two years of bullying (Sinmaz, E. 2012 March 11). Cyberbullying is to be taken serious because adolescent years are critical to the development of a child both physically and psychologically. This is a sensitive time period when they are exploring who they are and also needing affirmation from their peers.
Sexting on Facebook media by adolescents is dangerous and is defined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (2014) as transmission of nude (or seminude) images via an electronic device. This is never okay and it is viewed as child phonography when done by youth under the age of 20. They are taking the risk of someone stumbling upon pictures of their nude body parts and reposting to other Facebook users. There are several reasons why sexting is done by adolescents. Some do it merely for fun, to get attention, to flirt with others as well as being pressured by their peers. Needless to say none of them can have healthy outcomes. This act can be used to black mail or embarrass a child which can be very devastating. Resulting in unwanted and unforeseen hurtful and long term damaging effects.
According to the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2011) Facebook Depression is defined as a depression that is developed from a great deal of time spent on Facebook media by pre-adolescents and adolescent children. Apparently based on their findings this mainly happens when the child has less friends. Oftentimes children find themselves spending a lot of time on social networks because of loneliness. Perhaps moving to a new city causing them to isolate themselves, or their personality for instance being an introvert. After spending a great deal of time on the computer the adolescent may resort to other means of reaching out to others for friendship. Such as other blogs, unsafe dating websites, or even resorting to substance abuse.
However, other studies that were done on Facebook depression had different results. After a study was performed by the University of Wisconsin on this topic it was indicated that there are no significant associations between Facebook media use and the probability of depression (News And Events 2012). But it was highly recommend that parents educate their children about the safety and how to balance the usage of social media.
While social network sites remain to be the most popular ways of communication during the current times in which we live. It is imperative that parents supervise their pre-adolescents and adolescent children, which is encouraged by many professionals such as teachers, psychologist, counselors, and social workers etc. There are many ways parents can educate themselves regarding Facebook usage and other online networks that are accessible to teens. These can be found by googling them on the internet, and there are several helpful articles that are offered by Facebook. For instance, Safety Center, Parents Guide, and Parental Awareness.
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