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Effects of Social Media on Pakistani Youth

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Effects of Social Media on Pakistani Youth: Social networking has become a common trend that has reached almost every corner of the world. Currently, it has become essential to determine the effects of social media on the overall life of young people. From one year to the other the rate of technology is increasing a very rapidly and the youth is the ones trapped in this rapid change.
The use of social networking sites has detonated and grown into an online platform where people create and share content, bookmark it, and network at a remarkable rate. Among prominent users of social networking sites are the youth. This research evaluates the impact of social media sites on youth’s quality of life in different aspects. Social networking is changing the conduct with which young people communicate with their parents, and friends and along with that how they make use of technology. To achieve this, an online survey was conducted which was filled by 95 respondents. The major findings revealed that social media has a significant impact on youth life. Social networking sites grab their attention and then focus it on inappropriate actions that result in youth’s distraction from studies and poor academic performance, depression, anxiety, and other physiological issues.
Effects of Social Media on Pakistani Youth1
In the modern era, the internet has grown to be one of the most powerful sources to connect people. With the advancement of the internet, Social Networking Sites (SNS) are increasingly becoming popular and have become the most up-to-date and attractive tools for connecting people across the world. These sites have created transnational, international, and national spaces where strangers meet and tie in social relations. Some of the most popular SNS include MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp. These have made it possible to easily connect with the world and these applications have attracted millions of users, plenty of whom have integrated these into their everyday practices. Social network sites have thus changed the way people connect across the world.
Over the past few years, technology has taken over and has carried out some major changes globally. Distance barriers have condensed due to technological development and new mediums are being presented to connect the public globally. Almost two-thirds of the internet users visit social networking websites such as Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc. on an hourly or daily basis, thus helping as a communication and linking tool.
The word social means interacting or engaging with people whereas the word media means medium or instrument (e.g. internet etc.). Social Media is defined as a collection of online communication networks that allow users to connect, associate, collaborate, and communicate globally. Some of the frequently used social networking websites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. These websites enable the users to share their pictures, and ideas, plan events and communicate with their loved ones immediately irrespective of their geographical boundaries.
Pakistan is considered to be the fifth-largest young country in the world. Around 63 percent population of the country comprises youth aged between 15 and 33. A greater proportion of young people is considered to be a major economic driver for growth and progress.

Effects of Social Media

Social media is defined as a collection of applications such as (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Whatsapp, Viber, Messenger, and Instagram). The use of the internet is increasing day by day at a high rate all over the world. The majority of youth including television viewers and radio listeners are now moving from electronic media to social media. The Internet has linked people together to share information and be aware of other people with their viewpoints or take part in social networking. It is social media that has shortened the distance and brought people closer.

Social networking sites have become more common than ever in modern times. These sites have directly influenced the behavior of people, especially youngsters. There are many benefits that can be associated with these sites but at the same time, the most disturbing situation is that young people have seen to be lonelier in their own world and they don’t know how to interact with society. As a result, they lose their connection with their own family as well as they lose their communication skills gradually. Youngsters are highly addicted to social media sites as they spend a lot of time on the internet to update their status on these social sites, select a picture to change their profile picture, post on walls, and even do whatever they make. They make their standard of popularity by their “Likes”, the more they have “Likes” they consider they are more popular with people.

Social media is a huge part of the lives of youth today. It’s how they communicate, express themselves, and share their life with friends. But sometimes social media can be bad for teens too.

They may start comparing themselves to others on social media platforms, feel like they don’t measure up or get enough likes, and then spend hours scrolling through other people’s posts without any self-care time in between.

Social media has a big impact on the lives of many people. It is not uncommon to see someone staring at their phone instead of interacting with those around them or having no idea where they are because they’re too preoccupied looking down into their phones.

Impact of Social Media on Business

Social media is the new buzz area in marketing that includes businesses, organizations, and brands which helps to create news, make friends, make connections and make followers. Businesses use social media to enhance an organization’s performance in various ways such as to accomplish business objectives and increase the annual sales of the organization. Social media provides the benefit of a communication platform that facilitates two-way communication between a company and its stockholders. Business can be promoted through various social networking sites. Many organization promotes their business by giving advertisement on social media in order to attract maximum users or customers. Customers can connect and interact with businesses on a more personal level by using social media. If an organization has established a brand, social media may help this organization to develop the existing brand and give the business a voice. With the help of social media, organizations can make their strategy to promote their organization.

Impact of Social Media on Society

As we all are aware social media has an enormous impact on our society. Many of the social media sites are most popular on the web. Some social media sites have transformed the way where people communicate and socialize
on the web. Social networking sites render the opportunity for people to reconnect with their old friends, colleagues, and mates. It also helps people to make new friends, and share content, pictures, audio, and videos with them. Social media also changes the lifestyle of a society.

Impact of Social Media on Youngsters

Social media is like two sides of a coin. On one side it connects people worldwide and allows interaction, and exchange of ideas/knowledge; on the other side, it may promote deceptive posts, messages, conflicts, cyberbullying, and mental and physical health issues. The intention behind the development of social media channels was to facilitate communication, and the youth has been the early enthusiasts of this digital media.  High levels of engagement have however been a matter of concern for their wellbeing too. Nonetheless, social media is a major lifeline in our lives today and is an inevitable part of everyone’s life, whether it is official or personal space.

The Youth Bulge in Pakistan

The youth are considered the future of any society and a country. Over 64 percent of the population of Pakistan is below the age of 30 years, one of the largest young populations in the world. This can be turned into the greatest dividend for Pakistan if we are able to capitalize on it.

Unfortunately, lack of job opportunities, lack of social engagement, unequal education and health facilities, coupled with social injustices, outdated traditions, and an exclusionary attitude of community and society towards the youth are all turning this dividend into a ticking bomb. Young people’s dreams and aspirations to attain education and find respectable livelihoods turn into a nightmare. Therefore, the youth become frustrated when they do not find any hope for their future.

The UNDP Report 2020 indicates that 29 percent of the youth in Pakistan is illiterate while only six percent have more than 12 years of education. It also states that four million youngsters enter the working-age population and only 39 percent get employed every year. The most alarming situation is that almost half of the country’s young are not in education, employment, or training.

A huge number of Pakistani young people acquire training through the informal sector; consequently, they do not get proper skills and formal certification. This segment of the young does not get employment as skilled workers in national and international markets, and they end up in working the informal sector with no legal protection of their rights. The ILO estimates that the unemployment rate for 2020-21 will remain at 9.56 percent. To improve labor force participation rates, an additional 1.3 million jobs must be generated each year for the next five years.

Pakistan Continues to Rank Low on Youth Development

Barring Afghanistan with a score of 0.421, Pakistan (0.517) has been ranked lowest among all the regional and neighboring countries when it comes to the latest Youth Development Index.

More worryingly, among the 10 lowest-ranked countries in the Commonwealth, Pakistan is the only poorly performed nation that is not part of Sub-Saharan Africa. On the overall basis, out of 181 countries, Pakistan ranked 162nd on the 2020 Global Youth Development Index that measures the status of young people in 181 countries around the world.

The index ranks countries between 0.00 (lowest) and 1.00 (highest) according to the developments in youth education, employment, health, equality and inclusion, peace and security, and political and civic participation. It looks at 27 indicators including literacy and voting to showcase the state of the world’s 1.8 billion people between the age of 15 and 29.

As per some snapshots of the latest index, Pakistan’s score deteriorated by 64.29 percent, from a relatively low score of 0.168 in 2010.

More concerning was that R&D spending actually contracted over the period in five economies – Pakistan, India (0.626), Mozambique, Sri Lanka (0.747), and Uganda. To solve this problem, it is important to identify the priority levers for innovation policy that enable the digital economy.

A key element of this is to align research with the needs of the digital economy. This will involve closer collaboration between education and industry, so as to develop innovation ecosystems and entrepreneurial culture.

In developing countries, particularly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Cambodia, improved access to the internet and accurate information has been important for young people as well as greater freedom of movement and opportunity for female youth, particularly in rural areas. Youth, from all consultations, wish to see an end to the practice of child marriage and associated family violence.

Within the region, followed by India, Maldives, Pakistan, and Bangladesh; Afghanistan improved in gender parity in literacy, economic marginalization, early marriage, and gender parity in safety and security.

As per the latest report, the index further reveals that the conditions of young people have improved around the world by 3.1 percent between 2010 and 2018, but progress remains slow. The Commonwealth Secretariat on Tuesday released its triennial rankings of youth development in 181 countries, with 156 of them recording at least slight improvements in their scores. While the data used in the index pre-dates Covid-19, the report highlights the positive trajectory of youth development, which the virus could reverse for the first time unless urgent action is taken to secure the pre-pandemic gains.

Relation Between Pakistani Youth & Social Media

We all have been through situations when we are scrolling through posts or watching YouTube videos and before we even realize an hour or two has already been passed.

On one hand, social media has changed people’s outlook on business and technology, but on the other, it has also changed the way people communicate and spend their time. Resultantly, these advancements have caused our younger generation to be at the forefront of this change. We can view social media as two sides of the same coin, bringing with it both positive and negative aspects.

However, in recent years, it has been observed that negative consequences are overpowering the positive ones, especially when talking in context to teenagers. Now, problems are not just confined to cyberbullying. Excess use of social media has resulted in poor academic performance, decreased family time, teens being dragged away from their culture, increased vulnerability towards sexting, and mental disturbance due to cyberbullying.

Social networking sites have been recognized as a great resource for information, studies, however, suggest that the demerits of social media are often outnumbered by the merits. This belief can be cemented by the fact that students mostly use social networking sites primarily for fun, to kill time, to meet existing friends, or to make new ones. These sites are designed in a way to attracts maximum people.

Thus, even if you do not have an initial intention of wasting your valuable time on social media, you still are entrapped by catchy thumbnails or meme pages. This deviates students from their actual objective, for which in the first place, they opened social media.

Moreover, this fact cannot be denied that students who tend to multitask often show reduced academic performance. Our ability to focus on the task at hand is significantly reduced by distractions brought about by YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. To further add, compulsive use of social media does not go unnoticed by parents and teachers, as this correlation is clearly reflected on students’ result cards. In these unprecedented times, proliferation in COVID-19 cases has restricted everyone inside their house. Consequently, outdoor activities and sports are highly discouraged.

Thus, teenagers often spend their free time using social media. This has deviated teenagers from career and personal development goals, which could add up as plus points in their academic trajectory. Instead of investing this judicious time in activities like meditation, fitness, learning new things, reading books, or researching in various disciplines, they are utilizing their time in likes, shares, comments, posting selfies, and chatting. Without realizing that paying little attention to personal development can bring about negative consequences, months, or years down the road.

Another detrimental effect brought about by social media is that it builds a wall among family members. Though social media is a great way to interact, problems emerge when teenagers start detaching themselves from their families. Overindulgence of teenagers in social media has pulled them away from public spaces, family gatherings, traditional social settings, neighborhoods, and other integral associations, making them isolated in their rooms. It seems that teenagers have made a trade-off by subtly substituting social media for family gatherings and face-to-face interactions.

Social media, when referred to in a negative way makes us shed light on another major problem, cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is quite common among teenagers in Pakistan and those victimized by this often succumb to conditions of anxiety, self-isolation, severe depression, and in some cases even suicide.

Teenagers often share too much with too many because they perceive that the ‘social quotient of a person is determined by their number of friends or followers and not by how good they are in real life. In an attempt to increase followers or friends, they add unknown people, giving them the right to invade their privacy.

Subsequently, exposing these teenagers to higher risks of cyberbullying. Some teenagers are easily influenced by the magnificent lives and bodies documented on Instagram and Facebook. This not only erodes their self-confidence and self-esteem but they also constantly start comparing themselves with the person behind their mobile screen.

Consequently, they start complaining to themselves for not being slimmer, prettier, stronger, taller, smarter, and the list goes on. These flawless pictures, being portrayed on social media, also have some profound psychological outcomes, making sensitive teenagers feel ostracized from society.

Another problem arising from social media is sexting. Sexting is basically sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit content, primarily through social media. Although at the moment there are no available statistics for this in Pakistan, if we observe the increasing rates worldwide then we can admit that Pakistani teens are also not immune to this problem. The group most susceptible to sexting is girls. Several girls in Pakistan have received sexually explicit messages from unknown accounts and in some cases, they even received some inappropriate pictures. In fact, a recent incident can be quoted, where some teachers of a private school association were held accountable for sending sexually explicit messages to their students.

Conclusively, we cannot deny that social media is a double-edged sword. However, it is entirely upon us which side we opt for. Using technology and social media is really important when living in this era, but what is more important is to maintain a balance between the virtual and real world. Academics and family should be prioritized. If social media is destroying your precious time then this problem should be addressed because if not taken into consideration, it can have some grave repercussions.

The Positive Effects Of Social Media On Adolescence

While these issues should not be dismissed, this doesn’t mean that social media and the internet are 100% harmful. Though these factors aren’t discussed often, there are actually many benefits of social media in the lives of adolescents.

Adolescents often cite that social media improves their self-esteem, creativity, and connection to their friends and family, and helps them obtain information. Let’s explore these factors more to see how social media can benefit today’s youth.

Social Connection

About 40% of teenagers who believe that social media is an overall positive cite the connection to friends and family as the main benefit. Before the internet, connecting with family members that live far away was awkward and difficult. Furthermore, it was nearly impossible to meet new friends who live in other countries, as the distance would have slowed or hindered most potential communication.

The internet has made human connection far easier than it ever has been before. Adolescents not only use social media to connect with their friends and family members, but they can meet other like-minded people and gain new friends that they may have never met in person due to physical distance.

This increased social connection not only helps strengthen established relationships but also helps those who struggle with socializing in person to establish new friendships to reduce loneliness.

Improve Self-esteem

Many people believe that social media is always detrimental to self-esteem. And even though cyberbullying and harassment are factors that should not be overlooked, the truth is that the subject is more complicated than that. Some researchers have pointed out that self-esteem in adolescence is already typically very low, so there is not enough conclusive evidence to show that social media always has a negative effect.

Interestingly, when using social media safely, teenagers often report a boost in their self-esteem. This is potentially due to connecting with supportive people and using social media as an outlet for their self-expression. Watching uplifting videos or seeing positive messages online also helps adolescents keep up their self-worth.

Creativity

Social media has also been known to increase creativity. This has benefits in adolescents’ schoolwork as well as their overall well-being. More and more teenagers are engaging in artistic activities, allowing them to express themselves more than previous generations.

Though the very act of engaging in art is often beneficial and therapeutic, showing the world their art can also positively impact adolescents. There they will often find support and praise for their work and even encouragement to turn their art into a career or side gig. Before social media, it was far more challenging to practice and gain an audience for one’s art. Now with a simple click, potentially millions of people can view their work online.

Obtain Information

The internet has become the primary source of obtaining information. Adolescents are no exception to this. They often refer to social media and the internet to help with their homework assignments and studies. Long gone are the days of using only the textbook or an encyclopedia.

Furthermore, social media has made learning more about current events and other cultures so much easier. Even just a few decades ago, countries rarely knew what was happening on the other side of the globe, let alone know much about their culture, history, and customs. Now, you can learn everything you want to know about a specific place by just searching it in a web browser.

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