Photo by Michael Burrows

The youth have the power to shape society’s influence however they want to, whether positively or negatively. But in the prevalence of social media and its seemingly unobtrusive effects, how will they fare?

The youth is society’s future. They’re the backbone of their nations, the future leaders responsible for the improvement of the world. When current leaders and the system fails, the youth is the primary source of hope for a better tomorrow.

This is why various societal systems work to shape them toward becoming responsible people, ready to take on this huge responsibility. The youth has their education feeding them with ample knowledge to help them better comprehend the world’s system. They also have the support and guidance of people, teaching them to be better humans equipped with the correct values. However, at the same time, there also exists various developments and innovations that may impede the youth’s development.

The Importance of the Youth

Beyond acting as the foundation for the future, the youth also influences politics, especially in promoting equality and justice. Most of these people are engaged in politics, actively voicing their concerns, and often place themselves at the forefront of campaigns and movements.

This makes the youth important in numerous aspects of society. Shaping them to be finer minds means shaping society for success and attaining its goals. This is stated in the book, The Soul of Adolescence Aligns with the Heart of Democracy by Alfred Kurland. For a transformative society, the youth must be one with the essence of democracy, which is found in people’s participation.

Hence, to act in alignment with this means the youth must actively participate and engage with their society. They must unleash their life’s purpose and potential through this proactivity and participation throughout the community. However, these adolescents are often the most distracted provided by countless diversions by society, such as the existence of social media. This leads to them making decisions that don’t align with this heart and the realities required for growth.

After all, it doesn’t matter if the youth is deemed this powerful force if it is broken down, unable to attain its full potential. How will they drive politics and society, in general, to a better system when they’re driven down and consumed by vices and temptations presented by social media?

Social Media and the Youth

Social media has long been present within society. For the most part, this provides a more significant avenue for making the world go round. However, as much as it presents numerous benefits, social media also has its downside. People, especially the youth, have used this medium to the extent that it adversely affects their well-being and impedes their development.

As social creatures, social media might be an excellent means for people to thrive through companionship and relationships. However, if they spend too much time on it, the healthy balance may be tipped, and their mental health will be compromised.

Instead of alleviating their stress levels and encouraging them to be healthier, social media can fuel sadness, frustration, and in extreme instances, depression. These negativities fuel people’s needs to search for methods of relief. Hence, they depend on social media more in hopes it can provide this release. This becomes a toxic cycle of negativity and dependency, prompting these youths to dwell on the wrong things and not spend their energies and competencies on what truly matters.

Social Media and Politics

Of the many things social media influences, politics, and the youth’s participation takes the biggest hit. Generally, about 64% of Americans mention that social media mainly harms society, especially regarding how people handle things. While this survey was taken by adults, the results also reflect and consider the youth’s behavior and opinions about politics.

The most considerable effect social media has on politics is regarding the movement of political discourse and the spread of misinformation. While social media has the power to make communication more accessible, it doesn’t have much influence on fact-checking and stopping intentional misinformation.

This prevalence of social media is connected with the presupposed greater freedom of speech for its users. Most of what this medium offer revolves around the safe space to communicate and express their feelings, and less about ensuring this space isn’t taken advantage of for the detriment of others.

One of the primary problems with social media is built around its structure. Content is a significant matter around social media. People do anything to provide this. Propaganda isn’t new around these applications. With this freedom of speech comes people taking advantage of this space to paint a new political perspective.

The youth often fall victim to these misconceptions, quickly falling for what they read on these platforms. And as active participants, these people spread this information around believing they’re real, often engaging and spreading this disinformation.

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