Features / Youth

Is Social Networking taking over your Life?

Have you updated your status today? Social networking is seen as a part of everyday life for us all now, a place to publish our achievements and check up on our exes. But with more time being spent Snapchatting a gig experience than actually listening to the band, is the impact social networking is having on our lives going too far?

Facebook first hit our screens in 2004 and paved the way for more social networking sites to launch.

Twitter – 2006, Instagram – 2010 and Snapchat – 2011. Surely that’s enough? But no we want more.

Research carried out by Ofcom in 2016 showed that 74% of 16-24 year olds using the internet in the UK used social networking sites.

The introduction of live streaming via Facebook and Snapchatting has meant that in 2014 internet users over the age of 16 spent over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week.

The optimism of what the internet and social networks can bring to our generation is mixed with a serious doubt of moving us even further away from real life.

Blogger, Lois Marie Hamilton

Blogging has had rising success due to increasing popularity of online platforms with vloggers such as Zoella releasing her own book and a beauty range in high-street drug stores.

Teesside beauty blogger, Lois Marie Hamilton was inspired to set up her own blog after starting her first blog as part of a final project at college.

She said: “I mainly use Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. I use them the majority of my day if I’m honest.”

“I’m always in two minds about social media.

“I think it’s amazing and opens up a whole new way of living and staying in touch.

“But at the same time, I think it can be very poisonous and people can be horrible online because you can stay anonymous.”

“I can see how it can influence someone’s mental health massively as so many of our lives online now.”

Think about it. How often have you been somewhere; a gig, night club or restaurant and someone has used their phone to take a video or photo for Snapchat?

A study called ‘Clicks and Cravings’ which took place in 2012 found that 47% of 18-34 year olds taking part in the survey use social media during meals instead of talking with family and friends.

Ever updated your Snapchat story at a gig?

Even more surprisingly a survey on electronic review site, Retrevo found that 10% of under 25’s admitted to responding to social media or text messages during sex.

Dr. David Beer, a reader in Sociology at the University of York, said: “There is a lot to be said about memory and social media.”

“What we display on social media is a filtered version of our lives, displaying a managed persona.”

“New features like ‘memories’ on Snapchat mean more than ever we are archiving our lives.

“We use social media now with an eye on the future and thinking about exactly how we would like to remember our memories.”


What do Teesside University students think?

  • Hannah Scott, 19 from Teesside: “I use Twitter and Facebook so many times a day. You can connect and talk to friends and different people so easily.”
  • Kristian Powers, 18 from Stockton: “I rarely post stuff on Facebook but I do look to see how many likes it gets if I do. People compare how many likes they get to how many other people get and it can affect your self-esteem.”


Yes, we’re the online generation but is this really anything to be ashamed of?

Information is easier than ever to find and we can connect with long lost friends in the click of a button.

Reportedly, internet users over the age of 16 spend over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week

I’ve found that social networks are a very useful tool to help find out what is happening in your community as well as helping to raise awareness of issues or projects you’re working on.

A report by The National School Boards Association found that 59% of American students with access to the internet use social networking sites to discuss educational topics.

Even the political landscape is benefiting from social networking, in 2010 the student protests over rising tuition fees were organised through Twitter and Facebook and the recent Anti-Trump protests that are taking part all over the UK have been correlated through Facebook events.

Blogger, Lois said: “It’s so much easier to teach yourself about things, whether it’s what’s happening around the world or social issues.”

“As someone with a blog I find social networks useful to promote my blog and I find it helpful when it comes to trying to be creative as anything can influence you.”

“Social media is a really big platform in our everyday lives now.”

Whether you love it or hate it, social networking is here to stay as part of your life.




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