Social Media: A Help, or a Hinderance?

As a great follower and believer of social media, it has come to my attention, unsurprisingly, the many pros and cons held within the platform.

As a blogger, 'tweeter', 'youtuber' and 'facebooker' I am constantly interacting with social media, be it talking to my friends or reading a blog. As cliche as it may sound, I would be lost without my smart phone, converging all the applications I 'need' to go through my day stress free. And it is just that, stress. I am a worrier, and I worry about little things. My friends and I are infamous for our long facebook mail chats. It is hard to get everyone together, and with a large group of over 10 friends, facebook is the easiest platform to communicate (It gets expensive trying to text every single person). In this way, social media has made communication with my friends, who are in many different parts of the country and world, a hell of  alot easier than years before! Couldn't be dealing with writing 10 letters every week I tell you!!

Social media has also opened its doors for hobbies, like blogging. Many of you who are reading this post are bloggers too, and share my hobby in writing, reviewing and sharing your lives over the internet. If it wasn't for social media such as the wonderful platform that is Google's blogger, this wouldn't have been possible. I am very greatful for the opportunities readily available for me in this 21st century media landscape.

However, it pains me to say, that I do feel social media is becoming maybe more of a hinderance for the minority of the population. This came to light in last nights dare I say it, 'cut4beiber' hashtag on Twitter. Twitter is, generally, a revolutionary social media site. But is it too revolutionary?

Following the discovery of Justin Beiber's cannabis use, young fans took to twitter in a bid to 'get attention' from him in order to 'stop him killing himself' through the use of drugs. I was seeing tweets from girls as young as 15 uploaded pictures of cut arms and even going as far as to threaten to microwave their hamster. Now, subjectively, this sounds so absurd that it might spark a few guilty giggles from you. However, I am shocked that this kind of conversation can happen so casually, readily and frequently over twitter. I think a large part of this, is that the girl in question was only 15. At 15, call me stereotypical, but celebrity fandom is all consuming and can become overwhelming. Communicating with celebrities over the twitter platform does provide the illusion of talking to a friend - a great but dangerous asset.

Maybe this will spark a reaction from twitter in terms of moderation. Shouldn't this serve as an example that those younger than the age of 16/17 shouldn't be allowed to communicate so openly over the internet? I think in order for these dangerous, shocking and upright scary occurances to stop, there must be a rethink in the guidelines for those of a younger age. For me, as an outsider, you may think that statement is perhaps impossible or idealistic, but moderation is and always has been the key to the safety of our teenagers. Parent's must be aware of their childrens activity on the internet and permission must be needed in order to proceed with twitter registration.

Thankfully, after Twitter had got in contact with this young girl, she admitted that the picture was a fake. However, this does not mean that these horrifying thoughts were not running through her mind for at least a second. Our teenagers are becoming exposed to these dangerous topics in which are sometimes encouraged and supported  - take for instance, pro-ana sites. I am a BIG believer in democracy, but only when age permits.

What do you guys think?


  1. I saw those pictures on facebook and twitter yesterday but scrolled past them. I'm just shocked at the actions of these kids and indirectly their parents. I'm 23, practically 24 and I know when I was younger my parents have strict internet and TV rules. Which at the time I hated but as I got older I appreciated. Stories like this show the impact of good/bad parenting.
    Whether on not they should be on twitter/Facebook isn't my point, but definitely monitoring and advising their actions on there platforms.
    This is really sad.

    But on a lighter note, my friends and I used to do the same thing on facebook. We'd write really long messaging back and forth when we were apart during the summer in college.

    Great post.


  2. Back in the day when I was younger, kids would do risky things over ICQ, MSN Messanger, and chats etc. So I think ever since the internet was made available to the public it's been a dangerous place for young people. I have 2 sets of twin cousins that are 10 and I know that their internet usage is extremely moderated yet it seems impossible now with kids having iPod Touches, iPads etc.

  3. I just find the whole thing so pathetic it's laughable. I do think its just a cry for attention though and it's really insane that kids now have compete access to just about anything on the Internet. The amount of 13 year olds I see on twitter spamming everything up with their Bieber shit is insane. They are always the ones who are behind the trolling and death threats of so many celebrities too. It's just mad how childhood has changed and that's coming from someone who is only eighteen!

  4. Thank you so much for your comment and your follow!

    I found this post really interesting and I'm now following you because of it :)

    I've got to say that I don't think censoring helps because it depends on the individual. My parents were technology-challenged when I was growing up and being the curious geeky type, I wasn't a stranger to sites I shouldn't be on! but I didn't let them influence me in my real life.

    To me, the biggest cons about social media and media in general, is firstly the lack of privacy. I am a blogger and tweeter so it may sound hypocritical but I share my life to a point. There needs to be boundaries because a lack of boundaries can cause more people to pry. We see it with celebrities all the time. Personally Facebook is where I draw my line. Only my friends in the non-virtual world are allowed access to my account. The second con, the judgemental attitudes it promotes. If Beiber wants to smoke weed surely it's up to those who are close to him to look out for him. Having a bunch on judgemental fans going nuts on Twitter isn't going to do much, is it? IF he has an addiction, people pressuring him to change isn't going to make him want to, right? xx

  5. This is such a interesting topic I'm 13 and I was stunned by the girls cutting themselves me and my friends spent the whole day tweeting the fans to try and help them it almost seems as it was a huge cry for help. I'm not a huge social media fan being cyber bullied in the past I think they can be more trouble than there worth! Any way on a more positive not I love your blog and I'm now following I would love for you to check out mine :)

  6. This is such an insightful post and I agree 100%. I think that social media is not only too heavily influential on youth, but it's also to permissive in general. Some of the things I see tweeted shouldn't even be said in real life let alone for everyone on the internet to see. People still don't understand how permanent the internet is either; one bad move and it's up there forever and it can ruin reputations. Teens are already impulsive and foolish even when they're away from the computer so I really don't think it's wise to give them a platform to broadcast such behavior to the world.


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I read and reply to everyone of your comments! Thanks for putting a smile on my face :D