Free Essay. How Social Media Creates Isolation Among Young Teens and Youths

Published: 2023-04-04
Free Essay. How Social Media Creates Isolation Among Young Teens and Youths
Type of paper:  Research proposal
Categories:  Child development Social media Mental disorder Emotional intelligence
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1253 words
11 min read

Social media was previously thought to be something that would broaden our worldview and helps us feel connected to individuals who live in other nations (RAYSAC n.p). Through different social media sites, and applications like Whatsapp and Skype teens can now interact with more people, and build relationships. They also have more chance of seeing beyond the world around them (RAYSAC n.p). However, what is actually happening is that youths in the millennial age are becoming more sheltered and less independent than any other generation before them (RAYSAC n.p). The paper will address how social media creates social isolation in the context of obesity, a negative health impact that is affecting the teen's sedentary lifestyle.

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Social isolation can be referred to as unusual increases in cortisol patterns, and these aberrant patterns can disrupt sleep, immune function, and cognition (Primack et al. n.p). Social isolation also impacts gene expression, adversely affecting the vascular and mental well being of young people. The construct of social isolation can be explained in two ways; objective social isolation-is the lack of social bonds (Primack et al. n.p). It occurs when the teens spend less time outside the house, and with their daily friends because of smartphones and laptops. Subjective social isolation is the feeling of wanting not to engage with other peers. In youths, it occurs due to their perception of being socially lonely and has also been associated with both mental and physical conditions (Primack et al. n.p).

Social media creates isolation among young teens and adults because it causes addiction, which makes them live far away from reality. While on social media all day, young teens will not have time for outdoor activities such as camping or playing sport (Shin and Ismail 9). Moreover, instead of going out to meet their friends or talks to their parents, they will prefer chatting on social media. They always stay at home and update themselves about anything new on social media. In most cases, they post status and add photos on social media and this makes them live only in the virtual world. A clear example is me. When my mother bought a cell phone on my 18th birthday, my addiction to social media augmented. I rarely went swimming with my friends during weekends. I seldom talked to my parents. During vacations, I remember taking photos of food and places we visited and then notified my friends on my Instagram. Recently, I post my feeling status with a photo on social media every day. My life is updated frequently on social media since the concept is regarded as a world I live in where we communicate through likes comments and icons.

Furthermore, since social media impedes young teens and adults from face to face communication and interactions, it can cause serious problems such as depression and self-esteem challenges. Research done by O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson indicates that social media addictions are real and can cause serious problems for young individuals because there is a lack of face to face communication with peers (802). These young teens and adults will end up isolated from their friends and eventually struggle connecting with their loved ones. Therefore, the use of social media could affect people, particularly when it comes to self-esteem. The reason being, the pressure of being socially accepted by peers is only perceived by the media but when it comes to reality it is contrary. Some of the negative impacts of this include increased risk-taking behaviors, exclusion, depression, reduced self-esteem and self-image, to mention but a few (O'Keeffe and Clarke-Pearson 803). This can affect the social development of young teens since they are dealing with the changes of transitioning from a teenager to an adult as well as struggling with mental health problems. The struggle could result in loss of interest in activities, loss of friendship because they will prefer spending time alone while on social media.

According to social psychologists, Jean Twenge; the number of youths who consume time daily with peers plummeted by 40 percent between 2000 and 2015 due to increased use of smartphones, and social media sites (RAYSAC n.p). Youths are driving less, and relying on their parents more for rides because the aspect of staying indoors to use their smartphones tends to erode their mindset and they start to behave like small kids. Social media prevent young children from learning or implemnting social skills, as they do not get the opportunity to interact with other people especially those of the opposite sex and get to create friendship bonds with them (Christofferson 8-9). A research conducted by the University of Pittsburgh discovered that teens who often use social media are highly likely to feel socially isolated (Christofferson 11). They used the rationale that since they will be seeing through their phone screens the flashy lives of other children engaging in all sorts of social activities in the real world, and they are not included (RAYSAC n.p). It can cause them to feel even more alone than before, leading to low confidence, and motivation to participate in future social interaction (Christofferson 27-28).

Some critics argue that the recent increase in social media use through its platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could provide chances for the alleviation of perceived social isolation among teens. For instance, if youths feel isolated due to their physical environment they may be able to access supportive networks (Primack et al. n.p). Conversely, social media use may also help information about connections among individuals by augmenting social support. For example, through Twitter, a youth can rally or persuade others to raise some funds in aid of his or her peer requiring a surgical operation probably due to breast cancer (Primack et al. n.p).

In conclusion, the paper has explicitly explained how social media creates social isolation that leads to obesity, which is an example of a negative health condition brought about by a sedentary lifestyle. In the essay, it has also been explained that social isolation also impacts gene expression, negatively affecting the vascular and mental well being of young people. There are two contexts of social isolation that has been explained. One is objective social isolation, and it occurs when teens do not create social ties with other peers. Second is Subjective social isolation is the feeling among the youths of not wanting to engage in social activities with other peers. However, there are other researchers who argue that social media use could provide chances for the alleviation of perceived social isolation among teens. For instance, if youths feel isolated due to their physical environment they may be able to access supportive networks.

Works Cited

Christofferson, Jenna Palermo. "How is social networking sites affecting teen's social and emotional development: A systemic review." (2016). 1-33.

O'Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, and Kathleen Clarke-Pearson. "The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families." Pediatrics 127.4 (2011): 800-804.

Primack, Brian A., et al. "Social media use and perceived social isolation among young adults in the US." American journal of preventive medicine 53.1 (2017): 1-8.

RAYSAC. "Social media causes isolation in teens." (2020).

Shin, Wonsun, and Nurzali Ismail. "Exploring the role of parents and peers in young adolescents' risk-taking on social networking sites." Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 17.9 (2014): 578-583.

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