By Saurav RajBhandari

Various forms of media, such as television, radio, newspapers, movies, magazines and most notably the internet, have great impact on youth. The media not only serves as a source of information but also provides a source of entertainment. Media sources have relentlessly worked on creating appealing images that entice younger people to their content; however, we’ve been coerced into using more time reading and browsing for relevant information.

Recent advancements in computers and mobile phones have led to ease of access of the internet via advanced wireless devices. While this creates a tech-savvy generation, the content provided by some media houses may be uncensored and exposes our youth to visuals of violent acts, obscene graphics, and vulgar language. In addition, more kids are spending time keeping up with strangers in the virtual world instead of socializing face-to-face with family and friends. This undesirable environment, coupled with the reality that many parents today work long hours just to make ends meet (and therefore, have less interaction with their families) has made it hard to deny the effect technology is having on kids. Have these so called “social” media platforms made us unsocial?

Another alarming trend is the amount of personal information contained on social media sites. There have been reports of misuse of such information by strangers which has led to psychological as well as physical harm in several youths.

On-the-other-hand, social networking giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have contributed to creating a whole new world where we are free to express our opinions and share it with our friends and peers. This world of social media gives a platform for everyone to express and share ideas, thoughts, and feelings. The five major ways it’s impacted us is by bringing us closer to the daily happenings of the world, promoting interaction in massive scale between people of several countries, enabling greater political awareness and organization, which has in some cases rewritten entire political landscapes, creating a platform for learning, and helping companies be consumer-centric.

With the capabilities to change the world in one click, social media, like any other human innovation, has two sides. It can either control you, or you can control it. Which side would you rather be on?