Social media has been in widespread use for a decade. Yet, the effects of constant use of social media are just now being understood. These effects are most devastating to young people such as adolescents and college students. Especially young people who use social media on a regular basis. Young people who use social media regularly are having a more difficult time with self-esteem and personal relationships than ever before.
Children in the pre-teen age group use social media because they are prone to a need to belong. According to Quinn and Oldmeadow, this age group is the “we” generation, currently having the greatest problem because belonging “is a fundamental human need” (136). As children move into adolescence, this need becomes one of the key roles in developing identity. Both boys and girls relate online activity to how close they believe their friendships are, unable to tell the difference between reality and social media (Quinn and Oldmeadow 137).
With social interaction changing due to the addition of social media, more relationships are being affected. According to Baek, Bae, and Jang, adding social media to interpersonal relationships has led to a “diffusion of a new medium” which then in turn “influences people’s psychological well-being” (512). Essentially, adding social media to relationships has weakened the strength of the interaction and led to a significant change in psychology of relationships.
Many have argued that social media and similar interaction such as messaging helps to strengthen relationships and allows people “to form stronger membership andobtain so-called weak ties” (Baek et al. 512). So, although social media has some negative effects on interpersonal relationships, it can sometimes be beneficial.
Regardless of the controversies surrounding social media usage, this type of social interaction is not going to end anytime soon. The most prudent suggestion is to become more familiar with the way social media usage affects relationships and to understand how this usage can change the way children and adolescents feel as if they belong in a social group.
Baek, Young Min, Young Bae, and Hyunmi Jang. "Social and Parasocial Relationships on Social Network Sites and Their Differential Relationships With Users' Psychological Well-Being." Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking 16.7 (2013): 512-517. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.
Quinn, Sally, and Julian A. Oldmeadow. "Is the iGeneration a 'We' Generation? Social Networking Use Among 9- to 13-Year-Olds and Belonging." British Journal of Developmental Psychology 31.1 (2013): 136-142. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.