The Dark Side of Social Media

Photo credit: the UMF via Visual hunt / CC BY

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the dark side of Social Media. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being able to stay connected to all my friends and colleagues. It’s great to be able to chat with someone I haven’t seen in years. Social Media is an amazing tool.

I’ve used it when I’m researching information for my stories. I contact people who are experts in their fields and pick their brains. That way, I know what I’m adding to my story is accurate. It makes my story more authentic. Please understand, the people I contact, I’ve already established a relationship with them. I just don’t follow them or add them as a friend and then start bombarding them with questions. 🙂

This is an incredible way to get information, and I can see my kids using social media to do research for papers when they get older, but there’s a dark side to the internet as well.

Not everything on social media is as it seems, and we must teach our littles the difference. First of all, social media is the image someone wants to project. People usually post only about the positive things in their lives. This is okay, no one wants to hang with a Negative Nancy, but it’s only half the picture. Everyone experiences happiness and struggles. We need to remind our kids about that so they don’t get caught up in the world where likes and follows become more important than real relationships.

Photo credit: Kris Olin via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

          It’s sad to say, but it goes even deeper. Teens are using social media to hook up. That means to get together and have sex. They send out a tweet or a post asking if anyone wants to hook up. If someone responds in the affirmative, they make the arrangements. They’re even sending naked photos of themselves via the internet.  Isn’t that scary? In my opinion, social media hinders our ability to connect emotionally as human beings.

Photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt-Laurvig, Hiking.org via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

          We need to be cognizant of this trend and turn it around because if we don’t, our kids may never learn to make that emotional connection. We don’t want to lose that because it would mean we’re losing a big part of what makes us human, wouldn’t you agree?

A friend recommended this book to me and I’ve just started it, but it inspired this blog post. I believe it’s important for every parent to read, to understand the climate our kids are trying to navigate today. The cover and blurb are below.

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by [Sales, Nancy Jo]

Instagram. Whisper. Yik Yak. YouTube. Kik. Ask.fm. Tinder. The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media. What it is doing to an entire generation of young women is the subject of award-winning Vanity Fair writer Nancy Jo Sales’s riveting and explosive American Girls.

With extraordinary intimacy and precision, Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. From Montclair to Manhattan and Los Angeles, from Florida and Arizona to Texas and Kentucky, Sales crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income. American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment; where issues of identity and self-esteem are magnified and transformed by social platforms that provide instantaneous judgment. What does it mean to be a girl in America in 2016? It means coming of age online in a hypersexualized culture that has normalized extreme behavior, from pornography to the casual exchange of nude photographs; a culture rife with a virulent new strain of sexism and a sometimes self-undermining notion of feminist empowerment; a culture in which teenagers are spending so much time on technology and social media that they are not developing basic communication skills. From beauty gurus to slut-shaming to a disconcerting trend of exhibitionism, Nancy Jo Sales provides a shocking window into the troubling world of today’s teenage girls. 

Provocative and urgent, Ameran Girls is destined to ignite a much-needed conversation about how we can help our daughters and sons negotiate unprecedented new challenges.

Like I said, I just started reading it so I’m sure I’ll have much more to say on the topic at a later date. 🙂 So stay tuned, there’s more to come!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I appreciate it! What do you think? Do you think Social Media has a dark side, or is it all sunshine and unicorns? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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30 Responses to The Dark Side of Social Media

  1. April Munday says:

    The abuse of social media is scary.

  2. Amen to everything you said. I’m going to find a copy of Nancy Jo Sales’ book because in addition to the frightening potential for exploitation and sometimes outright danger to children arising out of social media, I also wonder how it will ultimately affect human evolution across the board. The more sedentary and voyeuristic we become as a species, the less we will utilize our imaginations (not to mention our limbs) and evolution may therefore phase them out just like it’s been doing with the appendix for the last several hundred years.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for this mind expanding comment. I didnt’ even think about what it would do to our brains. Where would we be without our imaginations? We wouldn’t be able to grow and expand as a species, we’d be trapped in our routines with no way to figure out a way to escape them. We need to nip this trend in the bud!

  3. clairerwong says:

    This is such an important topic you’ve raised Lisa, and some really resonant points. I wonder how education about social media for young people will change over the next few years as we respond to these issues.

  4. I’m so glad I grew up in a world without social media. During your teenage years you don’t need to worry about that and it’s scary the concerns and type if relationships teenagers have with others and with themselves.

    Really good post.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks! I appreciate your kind words and I’m also glad I didn’t have to deal with social media when I was growing up. I’m worried about how it’ll affect my kids. They’re not quite at the age where this is an issue yet, but I’m going to start their education early that’s for sure. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. scskillman says:

    I believe that the answer is, as with most other worrying behavioural trends, to start addressing this subject in schools. Along with many other subjects (like financial management) I think “emotional intelligence” should be on the curriculum. And now it seems that “self-esteem for young women” should be there too – sadly, Feminism appears to have gone into reverse effect.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I agree. The schools are a good place to address these issues, but how much more can we add to their curriculum? They already seem to be overtaxed as it is with all the testing and reporting they have to do. I think we should cut back on that myself, but I don’t know if that will happen. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Love, Laughter & Truth says:

    It’s pretty depressing to go out and see a family sat around a table with each of them glued to their phone…

  7. sharonledwith says:

    Great post, Lisa! What these kids don’t realize is what they do on social media will effect them when they’re adults, especially when trying to get into college or applying for a job. They make stupid choices that will follow them around for years! What’s needed here is some foresight. Cheers!

  8. LucciaGray says:

    Yes, I agree it has a dark side, which is uncontrollable and unstoppable. However, as long as people aren’t bullied or harassed, and it’s legal, I suppose it’s ok. Although there’s too much cyber bullying and illegal stuff going on which worries me.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I agree, Luccia. The bullying has got to stop. I’m just not sure how to do that. Any ideas? Thanks for stopping by!

      • LucciaGray says:

        One idea would be for cyber bullying to have consecuences. I think most countries are updating laws etc. It’s not easy, but we need to do something about it. Lots of education, building awareness at schools and in families…

      • Lisa Orchard says:

        All good ideas! I know our school does training classes for the kids and I have a feeling more and more schools will be doing it.! Thanks for stopping by!

  9. There is a reason I don’t really have social media*, and that is mostly it. Besides all of the inappropriate going-ons, I also believe it makes it harder to connect to people – in a relationship way. So many kids at my school are [insert social media name] friends with almost every kid in the school, but they don’t really know them, they just know their face.
    Erik
    *Yes, I have social media for my blog, but its just for the blog

  10. sunphant says:

    Love your post and I’m so glad you mentioned it today on #SITSBlogging because I am really interested in reading this book. As a school counselor, I speak with my students about cyberbullying and discuss the dangers of the internet along with sexting. This would be another good reference for me to use. It’s a scary world our kids are growing up in. Here’s the elementary version of the lesson I teach. https://sunshineandelephantsblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/how-cyber-smart-are-you/

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      I’m so glad to hear that the schools are talking about this. I haven’t finished the book yet, but it’s a pretty scary prediction of what the future holds for our kids who’ve grown up with social media. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I appreciate it! 🙂

  11. I’ve heard talk about an app called candid, an annonomous chatting app. Sounds like a bad idea to me for 12 year olds. Anybody know anything about this one? I told my daughter the internet is bad enough without having to account for your own actions. Posting text and pics annonomously even with your friends sounds like a terrible idea.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      It does. I haven’t heard of this one, but I know there are similar apps out there like it. I wouldn’t recommend letting kids onto those apps. Even if they’re not sending naked pics, other kids may well be doing it. And I don’t want my kids to be the recipient of these pics. Another thing to think about is there are predators out there using Social Media to lure kids in. It’s very scary.

      • So scary. We have lots of conversations about this stuff. What a different world we live in.

      • Lisa Orchard says:

        I know. It is scary. I hope we can turn the tide on this social media thing before my boys get involved with it. We’ve had many conversations about it so I’m hoping they’ll make good choices. 🙂

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