Social Media Effects on Behavior

IT’S the most common scenario everywhere we go, where there’s a chair, a couch, a place where one can sit, in restaurants, in parlors and barber shops, in offices, in school lobbies, in malls, inside elevators and restrooms, in hospitals, inside churches (yes, even inside churches), on floors and stairs inside malls – people of all ages are holding on to gadgets, oblivious of their surroundings, lost in another world or dimension.

Majority are logged on to their Facebook accounts checking on notifications or browsing through their walls or their friends’ walls; many are looking at photos in Instagram, others on Twitter, or watching something in YouTube, and others either browsing or surfing through the world-wide web, others checking their emails; others playing online or offline games; and others, well, working on assignments perhaps.

Personally I’ve seen very small children and not so little children holding tablets or iPads and playing games while the adults they’re with are busy either conversing with others, doing tasks, talking to someone on the phone, watching TV, and sometimes, the adult themselves are also deeply preoccupied and absorbed with something on their mobile phones and/or gadgets.

In restaurants it is common to see families seated in one table but hardly speaking with one another while waiting for their food or while waiting for the others to finish their meals.

Something is simply not right.

In the recently concluded celebration of the National Family Week on the last week of September, a forum on the effects of social media on behavior was conducted and the speaker was an information officer of the Population Commission of Region 10. His presentation was on a study conducted by the University of the Philippines on the effects of social media on behavior, in particular the effects of viewing pornographic materials online (as well as offline) on the behavior of young people 15 years old and above. The research study focused on the digital natives of the urban areas in Northern Mindanao.

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The result of the research is very alarming, especially with the current situation on the rising HIV cases in Cagayan de Oro City.

Are we aware of the effects of social media on behavior? Are we interested to know? Specifically, what happens to young boys when they watch pornographic materials online? The speaker of the forum concluded his message by quoting this famous adage: “It is better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.”

He further explained that the Internet and all the social media platforms are not necessarily evil. They were created for a good purpose, but just like everything else, when abused, the result will ultimately cause damage to the user.

The study done by UP paints a very clear picture and it is something that should be a concern not only by the parents of young boys and girls and the families but also a matter of interest to educators, religious leaders, and social and civic organizations.

Some damage has been done to thousands of young people in Northern Mindanao already, this according to the UP research study, but there is still hope. Tens of thousands can still be helped, and we should all do our part – as parents and as responsible adults. But time is of the essence and we all have to act now!

There is power in knowledge because when we know, then decisions come easy.

For those who want to know more about the study done by UP on the effects of social media on behavior, the Commission on Population 10 is a very reliable resource. The information they have is very relevant, very timely, very crucial, and must be shared to all. At this very crucial time, knowing facts will make all the difference.

(This article is also posted in Mindanao Gold Star Daily by the same author/writer, published September 16, 2017)

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