With social media increasing in popularity, safety issues, concerns continue to arise

With Facebook decreasing in teenage popularity, Snapchat and Twitter continue to be used.

With Facebook decreasing in teenage popularity, Snapchat and Twitter continue to be used.

With the introduction of social media in the early 2000s, the twenty first century has been an era of total technological takeover. Though adults have been avid Internet surfers for several years now, the true concern is the power that social media has when in the hands of adolescents. With more teenagers using the Internet today than ever before, it is clear that there is no turning back with regards to the expansion of online communication.

According to the Pew Research Center, eight in ten online teens are engaged in some form of social media, and in 2013, Facebook’s Chief Financial , David Ebersman, confirmed that the teenage population was straying from Facebook and moving toward newer sites such as Instagram and Twitter. Other prevalent social media outlets include Tumblr, LinkedIn, Yik Yak and Google+.

Freshman Tyler Koch noted that his favorite form of social media is Snapchat, a photo messaging application created in 2011. Koch stated, “Snapchat lets me communicate with my friends and is much quicker to use than any other form of social media.”

An adolescent’s access to the World Wide Web can have both a positive and negative outcome; however, the trend of undesirable circumstances seems to be more common.

Becton’s media center specialist, Ms. Vaccaro, agrees that there are benefits that social media has on students. “It’s a required skill in today’s day in age,” she stated. “It’s become a form of advertising. Social media is everywhere.” However, being head of Becton’s Twitter account, Ms. Vaccaro does agree that students don’t always use the Internet applications appropriately. “It is important for teenagers to be responsible and learn about online citizenship,” she said.

One of the top issues that arises from teenage usage of social media is cyber-bullying. According to nobullying.com, “Twenty-five percent of teenagers report that they have experienced repeated bullying via their cell phone or on the Internet.” Social media is only making it easier for teenagers to hide behind the screen and exploit others at any point of the day.

As a side note, online users must also be aware of their account profiles and privacy settings. There have been various occasions in the past in which teenagers have lost a specific job or could not attend a college of choice due to inappropriate posts or photos. Misuse of social media can have a direct effect on someone, especially to those who make their online profiles accessible to the public.

Also, if someone posts their current location as a place other than their home, they are publicizing the fact that their house is empty. With this information burglaries are much more likely to occur due to the public knowledge of an empty home.

Overall, it is clear that the negative effects of social media can affect anyone at any age; however, today’s teenagers appear to be the most prevalent victims of social media’s unfortunate incidents. When posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc., it is important to keep in mind that an online profile is a representation of the user. Social media is an advancing trend that can benefit its teenage users; but if used incorrectly, it can have long term, adverse effects on the user and their reputation.