Social media is defined by the websites and other online means of communication that are used by large groups of people to share information and to develop social and professional contacts. Although teenagers are aware of the negative impact that social media has on them, their awareness does not stop the addiction. It is very common to hear elders saying, ” Back in my day, you would never imagine anything like this.” points to smart phone, and “I don’t need to be on no Bookface, Instagrams, or Chatsnaps.” The generations before us, idolize human interaction and simple communications such as talking on a house phone, or stopping by for a visit. Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist said, “there’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills. In a way, texting and online communicating does not create a nonverbal learning disability, but it puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and even the smaller kinds of vocal reactions are rendered invisible. Another study done by researchers at UCLA’s Brain Mapping center found that when teenagers’ photos receive a lot of likes on social media, such as Instagram or Twitter, their brains respond in a similar way to seeing loved ones or winning money. The award pathway in the brain lights up when teenagers see that their photo is being liked by their peers. Adolescence is a period that is very important for social learning, which could explain why teens are often more in tune to what’s going on in their respective cultures. With the rise of social media, author of the study, Lauren Sherman, thinks we may even be learning to read likes and shares instead of facial expressions.“Before, if you were having a face to face interaction everything was qualitative. You used someone’s gestures or facial expressions, that sort of thing, to see how effective your message wS,” she says.”Now if you go online, one of the ways that you gauge the effectiveness of your message is in the number of likes, favorites or retweets, and this is something that’s really different and unique about online interaction.Within only five years, internet users have increased by nearly 1.7 billion people, more than 1.3 billion people have started using social media, and mobile networks activated a net average of almost fourteen new subscriptions every second. If these statistics aren’t enough to recognize the world’s obsession with social media, just take a look around at any public outing. People are glued to their phones. As technology continues to increase, what does the future generation look like? Will human interaction subside? Every generations forms habits that the new generation will inherit, so it is important that teenagers learn to control the amount of times they are spending on electronic devices.
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