The last decades of the 20th century saw the rapid advancement of information and communication technologies. During this era ‘communication’ become a more popular term. Today the communication revolution has brought us together, regardless of geographical boundaries. The rapid expansion of internet has brought the world into a single room. Internet is now used for communication, entertainment and information. Today’s era has come to be labeled variously as Information Age, Communication Age, Cyber or Networking Age. The internet offers a wide variety of communication tools in which one of the important tools is social networking which is day by day becoming a global phenomenon. Facebook, one of the leading social networking sites, added over 200 million users in just 12 months. Social networking sites are a virtual community that has grown tremendously in popularity. Through social networking people can use the network of online friends and group memberships to keep in touch with current friends, reconnect with old friends or create real-like friendships through similar interests or groups. Besides, establishing social relationships, social networking members can share interests and their ideas with other like-minded members by joining groups or forums. They can also participate in discussions through SNS. Members will be updated instantly about their friends and groups. It also offers micro blogging facility. In short, an SNS is a hub for communication, entertainment and information. This paper includes a broad introduction to Social Networking Sites and the research subject is ‘Facebook among teens and young adults and its impact on them.’
The broad objective of the study is to throw light on the use of Facebook among teens and young adults and to find out its impact on both. An attempt has been made to know the degree of addiction to Facebook. To achieve the goal in a meaningful way, the researcher set some questions.
- To know the frequency of mobile phones used by teens and young adults.
- To know the frequency of Facebook use among teens and young adults.
- To know the places where Facebook is frequently used.
- To know at what time of the day/night teens and young adults use Facebook.
- To know the awareness level of parents.
- To know the positive and negative impact of Facebook on teens and young adults.
- To know the impact of Facebook on other communication forms.
- To know the physical, psychological and sociological effects on teens and young adults.
- Parents themselves give mobile phones to their children.
- Both teens and young adults use Facebook almost every day.
- Teens and young adults use Facebook while eating.
- Facebook became more popular when it became available on mobile phone.
- Other activities such as sports, academics, interaction with family, relatives, neighbors, classmates and friends are affected.
- Teens and young adults are aware of the negative impact on their lives.
- Social, family and academic responsibility is ignored by teens and young adults.
- To know the physical, psychological and sociological effects on teens and young adults.
The nature of this study demands survey method. A survey research studies large and small populations (or universe) by selecting and studying samples chosen from the population to discover the relative incidence, distribution and inter-relations of sociological and psychological variables.
The survey research focuses on the vital facts of people, their beliefs, opinions, attitudes, motivation and behavior. In any research project it is impossible to study the entire population, so the researcher takes a representative sample or a sample that reflects all major characteristics of the population you want to represent
Method of data collection
The study is focused on the teens and young adults. The teens are the one group in our society eager to know about the new technologies and they adapt to it very fast. Out of the 100 respondents, 50 were teens from school in the age group of 13-19 and another 50 were young adults from university in the age group of 20-30.
The sample of teens was taken from the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Halwara, Ludhiana. The sample of young adults was selected from Punjabi University Patiala. The survey was conducted in March, 2013.
To gather the needed data, researcher used a printed questionnaire of 25 questions as data collection tool. The questionnaire is prepared with a brief description of the study and with enough directions to answer the questions. The questionnaire contained both open-ended and closed-ended questions.
Care was taken to avoid ambiguous, incorrect and biased questions. The questionnaires were distributed among the students after giving a brief explanation about the study and the questions.
This study shows the various aspects of facebook being used by the teens and young adults. The study revealed some interesting results. The study also shows the impact of Facebook on teens and young adults and its consequences. Today, many social networking sites exist but the most popular social networking site is Facebook. It was launched in 2004 and today it has achieved the top position in social networking. In India also Facebook is at the top among the social networking sites. The main reason for its popularity is its fast accessing in mobiles. It has increased its popularity and also the popularity of smart phones.
Of the 100 respondents, 50 were teens in the age group 13-19yrs and 50 were young adults in the age group 20-30yrs. All young adults have mobile phones, in case of teens 46 per cent have mobile phones while the rest might use the phone of their parents or elder brother/sister.
- Most parents give mobile phone to teens and young adults. It has been observed that among teens only six per cent forced their parents to purchase phone while others get phone easily from their parents without forcing them whereas in the case of young adults only 12 per cent forced their parents.
- Facebook is accessed more by young adults. Most of the young adults are daily users of Facebook. Teens access Facebook less than young adults.
- Some of the teens and young adults have fake accounts. Twelve per cent teens and young adults said that they have fake accounts on Facebook
- Most of the teens and young adults use Facebook while eating whereas few use it in the toilet, at religious places and in classrooms. 34 per cent teens and 36 per cent young adults use Facebook while eating, two per cent teens use it at religious places, four per cent teens and 18 per cent young adults use it in the classroom and two per cent teens use it in the toilet.
- Parents restrict their children for using too much internet. Parents of 64 per cent teens and parents of 36 per cent young adults restrict them from using too much of internet.
- Facebook became more popular when it became available on phone. 88 per cent teens and young adults said Facebook became more popular when it became available on the mobile phone.
- Teens and young adults agree that Facebook has negative impact on their lives. Loss of time is the biggest negative impact, then there is dependence on technology and loss of privacy which have negative impact on them.
- Most of the teens and young adults use Facebook for entertainment. Facebook has been used mostly for entertainment by teens and young adults. Some replied they use it to be up to date with friend’s life, share their experience and few use it for self promotion.
- Teens share personal/private information less than young adults. Six per cent teens and 16 per cent young adults share private/personal information with strangers on Facebook.
- Teens and young adults interact with people that they normally wouldn’t under other circumstances. 40 per cent teens and 68 per cent agreed with this statement.
- Young adults intentionally altered/ exaggerated personal information on Facebook more frequently than teens. Most of the young adults altered their personal information because of their changing lifestyle. The search for an opposite sex partner could also be the reason behind this.
- Decrease in usage of telephone, letters, greeting cards, talking face to face, television watching, visiting fairs and watching plays due to Facebook. In case of telephone usage, most said there is no change but 12 per cent teens and young adults agreed that its usage has decreased. In case of letters, 20 per cent teens and 28 per cent young adults admitted decrease in use of letters. In case of greeting cards, 12 per cent teens and 34 per cent young adults agreed that there was decrease in use of greeting cards. In case of talking face to face, 50 per cent teens and 12 per cent young adults agreed that face to face conversation has decreased. 38 per cent teens and young adults admitted that there was a decrease in television watching. 22 per cent teens and 28 per cent young adults spoke of decrease in television watching.
- Teens have more friends on Facebook than friends in real life in comparison to young adults. 32 per cent teens and 44 per cent young adults have more friends on Facebook than friends in real life.
- Young adults take much interest in stranger’s life. Young adults take interest in stranger’s life because they want to explore the world and want to make new friends with whom they can share their views and sometimes young adults are more interested in the opposite sex.
- Social, family and academic responsibility was ignored by teens and young adults. Teens had ignored the social, family and academic responsibility more than young adults.
- Psychological effects on teens and young adults: Excessive use of Facebook creates many psychological effects on teens and young adults. Teens are so much addicted to Facebook that many would prefer to surf on it while eating food. Due to its excessive use, their behavior is being spoiled and hence affecting their overall physical and mental growth. The teens are so much addicted to Facebook that four per cent use it at the religious places and two per cent in toilets also. In fact, four per cent young adults use Facebook in toilet. Facebook has made such an impact that they want to use it wherever it is possible. They can leave other things but don’t want to miss Facebook. Facebook has such strong influence on their minds that they are not ready to do any other work. They just want to be left alone with a computer and internet connection so that they can surf Facebook without any disturbance. While surfing if anyone asks them to do any work they show anger and misbehave. The survey shows that most of the teens are using Facebook in the afternoon and in the evening. It means that after coming from school they sit on their computers and start surfing Facebook. Six per cent teens say they use Facebook late at night. This results in sleeplessness. They wake up late in the morning. Less sleep thus results in sleeping disorder and restlessness. This ultimately makes them irritable at home and school. Even in their playing time in the evening they are busy using Facebook. In reply to a question, 80 per cent teens said that their sport activities are affected due to Facebook which is retarding their growth physically. They are more tied to Facebook at home. However, 64 per cent teens say that their academic and reading activities are also affected due to Facebook. This results in their overall academic loss.
- Sociological effects on teens and young adults: Sociologically also Facebook leaves a great impact on teens and young adults. It is found that about 42 per cent teens believe that their interaction with family members is affected. It means that their time spent with their parents is replaced by Facebook. It also shows that they are socially moving away from their parents and their interaction with neighbours is reduced. More than 60 per cent teens say that their interaction with friends is also affected. Similarly, 52 per cent teens think that their interaction with classmates is affected. Therefore, the teens are more affected than young adults and are reducing social relations and indulging more in the virtual world which is a matter of great concern. About 60 per cent teens say that using Facebook is wastage of time, while 34 per cent young adults support this view. It means that they know its negative effect on their life but still they are addicted to it.
Twenty-six per cent teens and 36 per cent young adults say that they intentionally alter their personal information on Facebook. It means that they are hiding their true face and showing off to get appreciation and positive comments about their looks and features. So, they give more preference to the virtual world than the real one. Moreover, 16 per cent teens and eight per cent young adults say that they ignore their social responsibilities. It is also seen that both teens and young adults prefer to have more friends on Facebook than in real life. 62 per cent teens and 44 per cent young adults admit that they have more friends on Facebook than in real life. It means that their sociological needs are getting lesser due to the increase in Facebook needs; and this is a great impact of Facebook on teens and young adults.
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