Young People and Social Media Addiction
21 Oct 2016 by Madura Thivanka
Social media networks are a platform on which individuals can share their views, ideas and interests with the world. Recently, the usage of social media has gone up due to development of these platforms and the attractiveness of social media technology. This method of interacting is now excessively used by individuals, who may become addicted to such social media networks and become isolated in real life. This addiction can lead to ignoring real life, silent behavior, mood adjustments and conflicts. These are some of the behavioral problems which may occur.
According to the Sri Lanka National Human Development Report (NHDR) 2014, youth are more vulnerable to pattern of abuse violence in Sri Lanka. Further NHDR (2014) indicated that the educational and professional institutes need to focus on developing the values of youth in the country to establish a secure future for them.
Of course there are positive impacts of social media usage among the young generation; the author would like to discuss both aspects equally to identify those that affect the national economy.
During the recent past, usage of the social media has gone up and the author feels the younger generation is moving away from the general society when spending time with smart phones and laptops. This has made them move away from close family relationships. Apart from that, according to the NHDR (2014) the life style of the 23% of the young people has changed - they spend their time watching movies and TV, leading to lower physical strength due to lack of physical activities. This can be directly applied to social media addiction which may result in low in physical fitness as well. It was further confirmed by the NHDR (2014) that this is a life style change among the younger generation.
The NHDR (2014) mentioned that improving employment choices will absorb the young generation who are moving away, into the national workforce. Social media has created many employment opportunities for the younger generation in the country, such as entrepreneurships, content developers, e-marketing positions in reputable companies etc. With the development of social media in a positive aspect, selected young crown have absorbed it into their engagement with national economic development. In my opinion, as mentioned in the NHDR (2014), the discrepancy between education and the labor creates a gap and reduces these positive aspects. Young people in Sri Lanka have not yet absorbed the positive aspects of social media or identified the potential of these platforms, due to the low level of education and skills development. This has been confirmed by the NHDR (2014) survey results which indicated 62% of the young generation are not experiencing adequate level ICT knowledge and skill set.
If policymakers can focus on developing a learning platform using these upcoming trends in the field of technology, then the young generation will absorb the positive aspects of these technologies before they use it in negative aspects. The tertiary education system needs to focus on those aspects, to guide the Sri Lankan youth in usage of social media.
Currently, a percentage of young people are working in ICT while the majority of young people spend their time and money on social media platforms to hang around with friends. Policy developers should develop a foundation to use this addiction productively, which can link to national economic development with positive aspects and also benefit the social development of this country.