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The good, the bad and the ugly sides of Social Media.

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The Social Media can be considered one of the best things that have happened to mankind this millennium. YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp et al, have completely changed the way information is disseminated and the way we live – some for good and some for bad.

Social Media has made it possible for people to turn instant celebrities, the ones referred to as ‘social media celebrities’. For the ladies, all they need do is post provocative images of themselves all the time to attract tons of likes and hearts. With these, their following increases and they turn instant celebrities, which sometimes translate into monetary values. Thus, the scramble for attention and popularity, has led many, especially ladies, into a frenzy of twisted personal branding, with sexualisation as the ‘pass code’.

We cannot doubt the fact that social media has its good side, but on the flip of that, are: the bad, the ugly and the outright fatal sides to this magical communication platform.

Addiction is not just about drugs, social media addiction has become prevalent among young people. It is reported that in America, children as young as 13 are being treated for digital technology addiction. The case is not different in Britain and other developed societies where early access to smart gadgets and availability of free wifi, have made it widespread.

Richard Graham is a consultant psychiatrist at the private London mental health hospital the Nightingale Hospital, where he runs a specialist technology addiction clinic.

According to a report on independent.co.uk, he told Metro what parents should look out for to know if their child is at risk of smartphone addiction: “Is their device use disturbing activities?” he said. “Is it stopping them from going to school, or engaging in other activities such as having dinner with the family? When someone seems absolutely not able to stop, they’re losing control”.

Dr Graham said parents should lead by example and limit their own use of mobile devices, and plan designated tech-free family time. “Outdoor activities can be particularly beneficial to children who struggle to disconnect”, he added.

The social media language becomes a real issue when it interferes with people’s spoken and written delivery of the English language in formal settings. It is a testament to the negative effects of the social media, common among young people.

To remain ‘afloat’, people constantly stream their private lives on social media. And in a bid to impress, many do not know when to draw the line on personal information output. Thus, every movement, every success, every landmark and indeed, every family activity are put out for public consumption. Should caution be thrown to the dogs in our personal information sharing habits? This and more questions are seriously begging for answers.  One thing is clear though; the more the information put out, the more the risks of exposure to cyber bullies and dangerous predators. Cyber bullying has pushed many teenagers to untimely death. Not able to withstand the taunts, the victims go into depression and eventually commit suicide.  Although a sad narrative, the celebrated murder case of Cynthia Osokogu in 2012 is a perfect example of how online predators operate. She was lured from Abuja and killed in Lagos by predators she met online and trusted (Google her name to read the story in full). Many robbery and kidnap victims give themselves away to their attackers by sharing too much information of themselves on social media.

On social media, things are not always what they seem. Greater percentage of what you see is not what it is. Unfortunately, teenagers get easily swayed by the perceived ‘glamour’ and tend to copy the lifestyles on display.  This promotes nudity and other crazy trends.

Young people try to outdo one another in pulling dangerous stunts with selfie poses. Well, some succeed and become instant celebrities when the pictures go viral. But, some are not as lucky. The 19 year old whose picture appears above wasn’t lucky as he crashed to his death while taking the photograph.

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