Are [Yu Ki]dding Me?: Our Social Distractions

“I didn’t start my homework until 11:32 last night!” As adolescents, teens may suffer from the seemingly incurable plague of procrastination. It lingers around them always and prevents them from effectively using their time. But what made this epidemic so widespread that it envelopes nearly all teenagers? I would argue: Facebook.

Facebook recently hit one billion users on October 4. Meanwhile, 80 percent of teens between the age of 12 – 17 are shown to actively use social media, according to The Huffington Post. Many students at the school use Facebook regularly. However, numerous studies have shown that heavy social media users do in fact perform poorly in academics relative to occasional users and those who don’t have an account.
Facebook distracts us through its ability to tempt us to interact with friends. I have all too often fallen victim to the inability to stay away from Facebook chat. And, as you may know from experience, it is just as hard to stop conversation that has started online as it is with somebody face-to-face. In the end, I am either gossiping or helping somebody else on their work while zero progress is made on my own.

Well, if it’s so distracting, why do teens continue to use it on a daily basis?

It’s simple: they want a sense of belonging. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, people prioritize their need to belong the highest out of all the non-life essential needs. Acknowledgment from others is where all of our social confidence blossoms. This is what makes Facebook so appealing to teens, because it gives them the opportunity to be recognized through comments on their pictures and posts.

It’s also what makes it so addictive, since teens need to be a part of the “loop” constantly. So much socializing occurs on Facebook everyday that teens can feel left out if they doesn’t log on for a whole 24 hours. This explains why average Facebook users spend a whopping 15 hours a month on the site, according to Browser Media.
We need to recognize priorities. Just understanding that doing any schoolwork comes before chatting with friends is already a huge milestone. And if teens lack the discipline (which many of us do), digitally blocking or even deactivating their account during a busy week will definitely beneficial. Trust me, you will “like” your increased efficiency.