Adolescence is a transitional period in life where a person’s development is characterized by daring behaviors and involvement in adventurous activities. At this stage, adolescents imitate any kind of behavior and action as they strive to explore the world. Peer pressure plays a major role in nurturing the psychological behavior of adolescents during this stage. Various psychologists have conducted research on the psychological behavior of the adolescents including how they are acquired and how they affect the involved teenager both positively and negatively in regard to their mental and social cultural development. This paper is a review of different views and approaches taken by the researchers in identifying the challenges that face young adults at this crucial development stage.
The article “Social capital, self- esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis” found in the journal of applied development psychology analyze how social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instant Messenger affects the self- esteem of the adolescents. According to the article, social media influence greatly in improvement of the youth’s self- esteem through interactions among various online friends. According to Steinfield (2008), social interaction between teens with low esteem and their counterparts with high self-esteem through the internet helps in developing attitudes that boost their self- esteem. This according to the research is attained through exchange of ideas, experiences and suggestions on various activities that a teen should undertake in boosting their esteem. This research mainly focuses on boys who are usually bullied by their colleagues leading to anti- social behavior and low self- esteem. It also discuss on how girls are likely to be affected by the same.
The article provides in depth details on how the teenagers have benefited from the social media particularly Facebook where the sharing of ideas and experiences have enabled them close the gaps of different levels of self- esteem and confidence. The article however, does not provide the negative influence of the social media in the process of developing self-esteem in adolescents. Social media may result in deteriorating the self- esteem of a teenager in cases where the lifestyle of their online friends does not match theirs, regardless of whether the lifestyle is real or a fiction created by posting updates, comments and pictures based on lies. Also, in an effort to fit in to the social circle, teens may adopt the fiction life of their online friends which they think are cool and could aid in developing their esteem such as drinking alcohol, smoking and dress codes that are inappropriate to the socio- cultural practices and norms.
The article ‘Peer pressure trumps “thin” ideals in the media’ in the journal of youth and adolescent compares how peer pressure and competition together with social media and television impact on the body image of an adolescent girl. It states that peer pressure affects teenage girls negatively in terms of body image and general life satisfaction more than television and social media. According to the article, most girls are likely to feel inferior towards their colleagues and friends in terms of dress code and living standards as opposed to television and other media personnel. The social media plays an insignificant role in affecting the youth’s self-esteem. It mainly focuses on girls and states that they are more likely to be affected by what is portrayed on the media. A group of girls were randomly selected and interviewed and later followed up to identify any possible change in behavior as a result of media influence and interaction on social sites.
With the technological advancement in today’s world, it is evident that the media and more so the social sites provides a platform for learning. Adolescent is the most crucial development stage in human beings and at this stage they learn mostly from observation and interaction (Ferguson, 2013). This shows that what they see on television will be copied as coming from the stars; they take it to be the right thing to do. They also copy their friends and colleagues as a way of trying to fit into social groupings. The social media also provides a basis for interaction and therefore, increasing peer completion. All these impact negatively on the body image of the youths.
The two articles have discussed in depth about the influence of media in adolescence development whereby to some extent, teenagers will imitate the images, discussions and lifestyles of the people from the media as they articulate it to be the good way of life. The two also demonstrate the importance of communication between parent and their children especially in this critical time when guidance about life choices is essential. The main difference between the two articles is the way they perceive the influence of media and gender whereby the first article has put an emphasis that social media influences change of behavior for both young boys and girls while the second article puts more emphasis that the girls are more likely to imitate the stars from the media. The second article however, do not seem to acknowledge the influence that the social media has on a teenager’s life.
- Ferguson, C. (2013). Peer pressure trumps “thin” ideals in the media. New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.springer.com/psychology/child+%26+school+psychology/journal/10964?detailsPage
- Steinfield, C. Elison, B. & Stampe, C. (2008). Social capital, self-esteem, and use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology vol. 29 Issue 6. pp. 434-445. Retrieved from www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-applied-developmental-psychology/