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Examine the effects of the rise in social networking on young people, and investigate possible future consequences Essay Example

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Effects of Social Networking on Young People

Name of School

18th October 2016


Social networking refers to the internet or mobile-device-based social sites or spaces that facilitate communication, content sharing, as well as collaboration across various networks of contacts (Bakker and Vreese, 2011). They include Facebook, twitter, Instagram, myspace among others. They allow users to share content with friends, to create groups and add members of their choice. The use of social networks has led to various effects that affect the young people positively, such as; it enables them to stay in touch even when they are many miles apart (Bakker and Vreese, 2011). It has also affected them negatively; for example, it exposes them to cyberbullying, reduces productivity since some young people spend a lot of time on these social sites instead of working and it exposes them to online predators among others as discussed below.

Positive effects of social networking

Social networking has benefited learners in various ways; for example, it has enabled them to develop a voice and to build trust. This enables them to acquire debating skills and to develop and keep friendships within the networks. They create groups within these social sites that enable them to discuss assignments and they are able to keep in touch with each other even after school (Subrahmanyam, Waechter, and Espinoza, 2008). Young people have become more creative as social networking allows them to showcase contents such as photography, music and writing. They are also able to explore and learn new things as social networking encourages discovery.

They are able to join or create groups that enable them to develop their interests (Subrahmanyam, Waechter, and Espinoza, 2008); for example, if someone is interested in doing charity, then he or she can create a group that will attract like-minded people. It has also enabled young people to develop key and real-world skills such as the ability to learn and adapt new technologies, which is highly valued by employers (Subrahmanyam, Waechter, and Espinoza, 2008). Young people also develop literacy skills such as interpretation and evaluation skills since most of the services are text based (Bakker and Vreese, 2011). It also enables young people and other social media users to stay updated on what is happening globally.

Social media sites enable young people to keep in touch with each other even when they are miles apart. This helps them to strengthen their relationships as social media enables them to update each other and stay connected even after they have finished school and moved to different places (Valkenburg, Peter, and Schouten, 2006). These social media sites also enable the young people to create groups and pages that are based on their interests and common disciplines (Bakker and Vreese, 2011). These pages enable them to build connections and to developing their careers through online discussion with other people who are in the same field.

Negative effects of social networking

Social networking has led to antisocial behaviours such as cyber bullying. Cyberbullying is defined as the use of ICT, particularly the use of mobile phones and the internet with an intention of upsetting someone (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010). This is usually done by sending threatening or intimidating messages. Cyberbullying leads to emotional trauma, low self-esteem, and in extreme cases, it makes the victims commit suicide (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010).

Social networking has led to impersonation and identity theft (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010). Most of the people online are not necessarily who they say they are. People give wrong information about their names, gender, and age on social media platforms. These fake profiles can be used to cyberbully or they can be used by adults to groom children. Giving too much information can lead to identity theft. A person pretending to be someone else can post information that may be illegal. Giving too much information can also enable others to contact or locate a person when he or she is offline (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010).

Young people have become more vulnerable to crimes. They are exposed to criminals e.g., robbers and stalkers who get information about their whereabouts through social media and the stalkers may end up sexually assaulting the victims (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010). Young people also send sexual messages or post sexy photographs, which may lead to child pornography and criminal charges. This mainly happens when other people download the images and then uploads them on pornographic sites without the subject’s knowledge or approval. Online security attacks such as hacking, viruses and identity theft affect the young people on social media (Wilson, Fornaiser, and White, 2010).

Social networking has led to a number of social detriments; for example, extensive social media engagement is associated with personality and brain disorders such as poor social skills, emotional distress such as depression and loneliness. Some young people have also become addicted to some of these social media sites. Young people also use social media instead of face-to-face communication with loved ones and this has negatively influenced relationships (Valkenburg, Peter, and Schouten, 2006).

Social networking has also exposed young people to misinformation; for instance, social media promotes amateur medical advice and encourages self-diagnosis of various health problems, which is dangerous, and in some cases life-threatening. Social networking also facilitates the spread of rumours and unreliable information (Bakker and Vreese, 2011). Social networking also makes young people waste a lot on social sites and some become addicted to these sites. They chat on Facebook during class time and some chat when they are supposed to be doing productive things (Echeburúa and Corral, 2009).

Possible Future Consequences of the Rise of Social Networking among the Young People

Using social media moderately can lead to many benefits in the future, for example, if young people use these sites to increase on positive knowledge, then they will become more knowledgeable and acquire good communication skills that will enable them to get good jobs and improve their careers (Subrahmanyam, Waechter, and Espinoza, 2008). Social media use can also have negative consequences in the future, for example, young people may be exposed to a lot of immoral content online such as pornography, which compromises their morals. Cyberbullying may make the victims commit suicide (Wilson, Fornaiser and White, 2010). Young people who spend a lot of time on these sites may become obese due to lack of exercise, which exposes them to many other health complications.


From the above discussion, it is clear that social networking affects the young people positively and negatively. They are therefore required to be careful when using these sites so that they can avoid negative aspects such as cyberbullying and other online crimes. They should ensure that they maximize the benefits that they can get from these social sites such as keeping contacts with friends and reading materials that can be useful to them (Bakker and Vreese, 2011).


Bakker, T.P. and de Vreese, C.H., 2011. Good news for the future? Young people, Internet use, and political participation. Communication Research.

Echeburúa, E. and de Corral, P., 2009. [Addiction to new technologies and to online social networking in young people: A new challenge]. Adicciones.

Subrahmanyam, K., Reich, S.M., Waechter, N. and Espinoza, G., 2008. Online and offline social networks: Use of social networking sites by emerging adults. Journal of applied developmental psychology.

Valkenburg, P.M., Peter, J. and Schouten, A.P., 2006. Friend networking sites and their relationship to adolescents’ well-being and social self-esteem. CyberPsychology & Behaviour.

Wilson, K., Fornasier, S. and White, K.M., 2010. Psychological predictors of young adults’ use of social networking sites. Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking.