In this day and age people have the ability to be more connected than ever before. Everyday people all around the world spend countless hours on their devices, be it their smartphones, their smartwatches, their smart tv’s or their computers. Having this 24/7 connection to the internet means that people are suddenly able to connect with the other side of the world in the blink of an eye. Unlike with the news on television or the newspaper which brings days late news, social media gives readers personalised news when they want it. But is this putting other older forms of media out of business.
As it turns out most major news companies are evolving with the times. You can now choose to read your news online rather than in a hard copy. Some companies are even purpose-built to produce news on social media. You can easily go on Facebook or twitter and find your daily news with a quick search, choosing to read what you want while skipping the things that don’t interest you. Only this means that companies choose to make their articles more dramatic and outrageous to attract more attention. This means that articles that are important but don’t have particularly eye-catching titles won’t get as much attention as other exaggerated articles about the latest celebrity gossip. Companies are purposely making these ridiculous articles to attract the attention of social medias biggest user, young people.
Technology and the internet are having a huge effect on the way parents raise their children to the point that companies have started making tablets just for babies and small children. So it’s no surprise that the younger generations are more proficient in using technology than older generations who are only just getting to use it now when they longer have the same brain plasticity as young people. A study by the ACMA shows that most young people start using the internet for entertainment purposes and when they reach primary school age they start to use the internet more for educational purposes. By the time they reach high school age they’re using social media to connect with their friends. According to research done by the Pew Research Center 55% of online teens in 2006 used social media. 6 years later in 2012 81% of online teens were using social media. Another one of their studies shows that in 2014 74% of all internet users were on social media compared to the 8% of internet users in 2005. So if over 80% of teenagers are on social media then this has to be having huge effects on the work and relationships of teenagers.
I can guarantee from personal experience that it’s harder than ever to stay focused in this new world of the internet. Most students are constantly bombarded with information 24/7 and only a handful of this information actually remains in their head. Because of technology and the internet students have a world of distractions at their fingertips. Regularly I’ll open up my computer or my phone to do something just to get distracted by some notification from Facebook or some other social media platform and then I forget that I was trying to do something else, and this is annoying when it’s just something fun I wanted to do for myself but if I’m trying to do work then this is a big problem. Especially for a hardcore procrastinator like myself who already doesn’t do enough work. The thing that makes social media so distracting is that it’s a gateway to a personalised world made just for you, filled with your friends and family and everything that you like.
Unfortunately social media is also the perfect place for cyber bullying. According to research done by an anti discrimination organisation known as Ditch The Label, 70% of young people have been victims of cyber bullying. The fact that almost 3 quarters of young people have experienced this is atrocious. Cyber bullying has massive effects on the self-esteem and social lives of a majority of young people. Only half of the young people who use Facebook haven’t experienced cyber bullying on the network. But what can anyone do to stop it. You can try to avoid it and prevent it from happening by blocking someone but you can’t stop kids from being mean to other kids. It’s just the way life has always been and the way it will always be. There will always be people who are mean to each other.
So here we are in this brand new age, the age of social media. Sure it has its ups and downs but it’s what we’ve got and I’m sure that if you were to ask someone in 1916 if they thought they would be able to talk to someone on the other side of the planet face to face through their personal mobile phone in real-time they would think you’re a total nutter.
ACMA. (2009). Click and Connect: Young Australians’ use of online social media. [online] Available at: http://www.acma.gov.au/~/media/mediacomms/Report/pdf/01%20Qualitative%20research%20report%20pdf.pdf
[Accessed 8 Nov. 2016].
ACMA. (2011). Like, post, share: Young Australians’ experience of social media. [online] Available at: http://www.acma.gov.au/~/media/mediacomms/Report/pdf/Like%20post%20share%20Young%20Australians%20experiences%20of%20social%20media%20Qualitative%20research%20report.pdf
[Accessed 8 Nov. 2016].
Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. (2016). Social Media Use by Age Group Over Time. [online] Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/data-trend/social-media/social-media-use-by-age-group/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. (2016). Social Media Use Over Time. [online] Available at: http://www.pewinternet.org/data-trend/teens/social-media/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2016].
Ditch the Label. (2016). The Cyberbullying Report 2013 – Ditch the Label. [online] Available at: http://www.ditchthelabel.org/research-papers/the-cyberbullying-survey-2013/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2016].