Controversy: The Rise Of The Social Media Generation

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The Rise of Social Media & the Social Media Generation Over the course of the last several years, various forms of social media have infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives. The rapidly developing forms of technology easily available to us such as smart phones enable us to gain a vast array of data in virtually no time at all. We can connect with people thousands of miles away in as much time as it takes to simply press “send” on a direct message sent via Facebook or Twitter. Many teenagers today could not imagine life without social media, which is, for many of them the main way they connect with their peers, their families, their favorite celebrities, and even where they get their news. By blurring the lines of social connections, …show more content…
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, the number of teens with Internet access went from 87% in 2004 to 95% in 2012. Within that parameter, the percentage of teens using social media has increased from 55% in 2006 to 83% in 2012 (Seo 885). Young adults use these sites in much the same way that adolescents do, with 72% of adults aged 18-29 admitting to using at least one form of social media (Lenhart et. al. 3). Research suggests that the majority of teens have overall positive interactions online, and that they often can find a sense of “social inclusion” by sharing and receiving information with their peers (Seo et. al. 885). Studies have reported that social media websites provide teens with a place that they can call home, giving them a “personal, although not private, digital space to express themselves” (885). However, all that access to social media can have its negative effects as well. In recent years, a new form of bullying commonly referred to as “cyberbullying” has become consistent with teenage social media use, especially among young females (Li 1779). Cyberbullying can be defined as “an aggressive, intentional act carried out by a group or individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself” (Smith, et. al. 376). According to Qing Li, cyberbullying is “often very serious, including stalking and death threats…I can say anything I want. It’s impersonal. Face to face is a little intimidating” (Li 177). With the advancement of technology, cyberbullying has been able to occur more discreetly and to spread more rapidly. Examples of cyberbullying among teens include circulating rumors on websites like Facebook and Twitter, creating websites that ask students to vote for the “fattest” or

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