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It is quite evident by today’s youth that many have become extremely accustomed to the improvements of the Internet as a source of entertainment. Instead of adhering to an individual’s academics, it has influenced a majority of the younger generation to look at their phones in attempts to fulfill their own social life. Social networks and other forms made into mobile applications, has provided the public a way to share and stay in touch with others. Yet, it is gradually becoming more known to encourage bad behavior, increase negative esteem issues, and create communication barriers within relationships. The missions of many social platforms’- of providing an accessible way for relationships to stay connected – has resulted else wise. Despite the major advancements, the World Wide Web has considerably undermined our emotional capacity as well. Teenagers are often found misusing it and many cases have outcomes of physical and mental harm. To deter away from this exponentially growing problem, authoritative figures should use their line of networks as a way to substitute for the constant need to check their devices every moment. The American education system should focus more on encouraging students to participate in extracurricular functions, as a method to prevent students from turning to social networks to compensate for their lack of emotional fulfillment, and deter away from the resulting emotional disconnect.
There are countless reasons why people use social media. Some use it to promote their line of work, and some use it as a method of voicing their opinions. Unfortunately, most go on sites that do not add any value to their academic life. Students generally use media because it acts as an escape from society and the classroom may not offer the means for them to express their creative side. According to Dr. Shannon M. Rauch, of Benedictine University, one of the leading reasons we utilize social networks is for the boredom relief and self-distraction (Future Medicine). The time people spend “surfing the web” have become a common pastime, but the negative results that root from teenagers browsing at other’s photos and statuses, can be prevented if they were to occupy themselves with other forms of activities. A lot of the discouraging behavior influenced from social media is because people are often comparing their lives to their peers. They are so tuned into the virtual world that they are already straying more and more away from physical communication. Strong verbal skills is absent and problems with self-esteem often lead to conflict with others or self-harm; in more severe cases, such as bullying or committing suicide. Research found that participation in extracurriculars promotes social and personal development, whereas adolescents who aren’t unaffiliated with any structured activities, tend to drop out of school, get in trouble with the law, and/or abuse drugs (Educational Research Newsletter and Webinars). Providing opportunities during and after-school cannot only make a difference for the individual, but for the community as well.
Educators are encouraged to use their group of networks and get them connected to their students, to help them build upon their own future assets instead of resulting to social networks as a solution. Teachers and professors should provide opportunities for students to participate in, by creating more accessible and responsible student roles, career-related internships, and more club activities in addition to sports-related functions. Many students often end up looking at their phones to detract their sense of boredom and this is also a source for procrastination even when assignments are done. By employing more leadership roles for students it will solve the problem of the constant need to check every update on what’s trending or popular online. Rather than self-pitying themselves that they don’t have the J.Lo body or going far as updating statuses that aren’t even true, instead he/she can feel happier through extracurricular activities. The recognition people receive from the community and their peers for their contributions to the activity they pursue, will give them a sense of importance and purpose. In some high schools, such as Cesar Chavez High School, the school partners with local medical institutions and provides internships for students who want to further their desire to work in the field (CCHS). One of the greater things that colleges and employers are also often looking for nowadays, stem from skills outside of just getting B and A grades anyways. Why not employ it in all basic fields? -understudies for technical positions, openings to auction off artworks to charities, showcase musical concerts, volunteer opportunities. The administration shouldn’t focus on taking cell phones whenever one is out, but more on solving the issue to why students are urged to check their phones. In studies provided by Dr. Cecile Andreassen and colleagues at University of Bergen, it appears that “many users who are addicted to Facebook use the site as a way of gaining attention and boosting their self-esteem” (Medical News Today). That emotional lack will have an improved outlook once the American education system realizes students are people who still need that social interaction, especially for teenagers who truly believe that no one cares about him/her.
Social media has been proven to be an influential and detrimental factor in more unfavorable cases, so some have proposed that if parents monitored their child’s time spent on the Internet, it would solve the issue. Some parents believe it would keep him/her from seeing inappropriate matters and will deter them away from the negative influences of the Internet. The Digital Future Project finds that “in an attempt to combat inappropriate site surfing, some parents are downloading programs such as Spectorsoft, which blocks, records and alerts parents by monitoring Internet use” (Friedman). While moderating their access to social networking relieves some of the parent’s tensions, this does not ultimately affect the high chances of them discovering information another way. Professors from Auburn University, concluded that the more restraint made towards a teenager, they are more prone to rebelling and feeling more emotionally disconnected from their friends and peers, even within family relationships (Strom). Americans have greater access to the World Wide Web than ever before and along with it the speed of seeing, reading, and hearing something in one click. Even setting a time frame of when they can gain entry to the Internet does not restrict them from everything a parent thinks is not beneficial to their child. The Internet is vital to the modern world and an important tool in education and with the access, they will eventually experience some sort of upsetting news. However, just as they will come across things on the Internet, it all depends on how they handle the situation. The Internet offers people an escape from their pain and troubling problems. People who “lack rewarding or nurturing relationships or who suffer from poor social and coping skills are at greater risk to developing inappropriate or excessive online habits” (Webroot). They feel alienated, which makes it makes it harder for them to socialize, and it hurts their ability to work in groups. Ultimately, coping with their problems by spending time online essentially ties into the boredom relief and self-distraction. It becomes more the reason why it is important for authoritative figures to address towards the sole reason why cyberbullying, lowered self-esteem, deathly actions, and lack of physical interaction are happening. Positive reinforcement from providing more opportunities for adolescents and teenagers to take part in will give them the necessary emotional connection, relationships, face-to-face social interaction, and passion they need in order to prevent the disadvantages of the Internet spectrum.
Some may argue that most school districts already provide the means for students to run outside groups, such as after-school clubs. While this may hold true, educators are highly urged to make more of an effort of influencing and encouraging students to join these organizations, and to also help provide more activities that every joining student can engage in. Currently, many elementary, middle, high school and even colleges are depriving students of experience set apart from their academic work A lot of what is provided by students only appeals to a direct few as well. The largest challenge mostly has to do with planning an activity where they actually are able to get in touch with someone. With the help, it will likely lead to higher participation percentages and less ruthless acts from people who “have nothing better to do.” There is also concern that there are just not enough funds to support the events they may have in mind. The report by Campaign for America’s Future shows that cuts to education funding are leading to eliminations of early childhood education programs, termination of music, art, physical education, elective subjects special needs programs, advanced placement courses, extracurricular activities, and special academic programs (Campaign for America’s Future). While this may bring some trouble, it does not eliminate all options. Most if not all activities mentioned do not require monetary expense. These kinds of events can also be easily implemented alongside a student’s class schedule as well. It can be done during lunch, after school, or the weekends. Students go to school to benefit their future, but also for the experiences that comes with it. It shouldn’t be spent alone, looking through social feeds of what he/she yearns and could’ve had. Even with the circumstances set in place already, it is easily implemented since this is on the student’s and administrations own accord of whom they know and of who wants to take part.
The Internet allows for informative and educative purposes, yet it does not stop people, especially adolescents and teenagers, from depending on it as a source of past time. Anybody at anytime are prone to seeing something that can affect their mood, perspective, and can become an influential factor in their lives. Although social networks are great for people to stay connected, physical interaction is proven to be better. By solving the initial issue of why most of the population results to looking at their laptops, phones, desktops, tablets, etc, with bringing in other activities to occupy the time will prevent cases of the emotional barrier. People need to realize that not everything on the Internet is truthful nor should it pressure people to act upon certain things. If educators offered more opportunities that expand from just the academic work, it will help individuals with discovering new relationships and provide insight that there is much more than the virtual world to live by.
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