Childs Play: Trending

Image: HuffintonPost

We are living in an online world. A world where our opinions can reach people half way around the globe through a single click of a button, where we can edit our lives so we only show our best moments and where we can filter everything in life until it all picture perfect.

Social media has it’s many good qualities such as connecting the world together, sharing world news and uniting with old friends, and I think it’s clear to say that social networking plays a major role for Irish teens. They have grown up with social media, and as they got older and smarter, so have our phones. Social media has become a whole new culture to young people. They have their own language, their own culture, it’s their own world.

Social media has grown and expanded over the years and is now so much more than what is was years ago. There are so many new websites and apps being made, and being turned into billion dollar companies. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are listed the most popular apps in Ireland for teens.

Facebook offers people the chance to connect with old friends and far away family through sharing, liking and messaging. Instagram allows people to post pictures. Twitter gives people the opportunity to share their views and opinions to the world, and Snapchat lets people chat through pictures that can disappear within seconds.

But, what do our Irish teens think of social media?

“My favourite app is Snapchat because I can text all my friends from the one app!”, says Orlaith, age 14. “I would easily spend more than three hours a day on all the different social medias”.

“I go on my social media pages every so often, but not all day every day and because it’s a good way to communicate without using up credit and money”, says Roisin, age 13.

“Snapchat is my favourite because it is so easy to use and all my friends have it so I can talk to them all. Everyone has Snapchat!”, says Leah, age 14 “I could spend eight hours online if I didn’t have other things to do”.

Social media is a great way to share details about your life, but it can also leave you open to humiliation and ridicule. On sites like Facebook and Instagram, ‘likes’ can mean a lot to a young person. Also, the number of ‘followers’ and ‘friends’ can have a serious effect on the fragile ego of a teen.

“It’s just a little embarrassing if you post a picture of yourself and nobody likes it. People can get really paranoid about this kind of thing”, says Aoife, age 16.

Snapchat streaks are one of the latest online trends, and this is where two people send each other messages in the form of snaps within 24-hour period. The longer you keep up the snaps, the longer your streak can go on. This is a test for commitment and friendship.

I would probably cry if I lost all my streaks! I have so many streaks with all my friends and they are all so high, my highest is over 400 days and if I lost that, I would be so mad”, says Orlaith.

“My bestfriend and I have a 700-day streak going on and if we lost that, I would cry! It’s just additive”, says Ellie, age 15

Though social networking has all it’s good factors, there are still dangers surrounding young teens when they are online. And to any Irish parent of teenagers, social media can be a scary topic. There are so many dangerous surrounding social media, so I asked, what do you think the main dangers of social media are?

“I think the dangers of social media would mainly be bulling.”, says Orlaith.

“You never know who is looking at your profile, who is looking at your pictures”, says Leah.

“Cat-fishers are scary! They could be strangers pretending to be your friend, or worse they could make a fake account as you”, says Alannagh, age 13.

And apart from the obvious dangers of strangers messaging you, your account being hacked and your pictures being copied, there is a whole new generation of dangers. With hackers, keyboard trolls and anonymous comment boards, there is so much to be aware of as a parent to teenagers.

“I think the dangers of social media would mainly be bullying”, says Orlaith.

“I hate it! I think it’s a way for people to bully others because there is no way to find out who said what, nobody gets caught!”, says Leah on anonymous sites.

“It’s a weird app. I don’t understand why people use it but I think it’s disgusting. It’s just a new way for people to bully each other”, says Roisin.

Social media will always be a part of our everyday life, and with the right attuite it can be a safe and friendly space for everyone, regardless of age.

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