At What Age Should We Start Engaging With Social Media?

 

Following on from the previous post, Olly and I thought it would be good to discuss at what age is it appropriate to engage with social media.

Oliver Campey writes his thoughts below.

A study back in 2014 conducted by Dr Richard Woolfsen and knowthenet.com highlighted that more than half of children had used social media by the age of 10. The report also found that 43% of these children had messaged strangers or engaged with negative comments by the age of 12.

The cynic amongst us may question the validity of the report or condemn certain elements in terms of how easy they are to measure. However, the fact does remain that children are engaging with social media at an increasingly younger age and it needs to be investigated as to whether this is safe.

Firstly, one the foundations of adopting any form of new technology or service is having an education on how best to use it. It’s a fact that when looking into the syllabus for younger age groups children are not educated by this stage on the positive and negative effects of social media. Personally, I think this needs to change. I wouldn’t say there’s an issue with the age that children are interacting with social media because as a generation we are adapting to new technologies at an earlier age than ever before. However, what does need addressing is providing children with an education from a young age so that they have a greater understanding of how to appropriately engage with social media.

Secondly, there needs to be further research into the negative effects of dopamine on the human brain and the formation of an addiction to likes and positive engagement across social platforms. As discussed in the previous post dopamine can be triggered by things such as gambling, alcohol, and smoking all of which are regulated and carry age restrictions of 18 or above. As highlighted by AdWeek, social media channels generally enforce an age restriction of 13+ and so there could be an argument to bring it more in line with the age restrictions for smoking, gambling, and alcohol.

Thirdly, social media is having a hugely negative impact on the younger generations ability to socialise and form meaningful relationships with their friends. Only yesterday was I sat in a cafe and I witnessed a group of friends all sat on their phones and not conversing with one another. To make things worse, when one of the group did spark up some form of a conversation, the others responded with a nod of the head or a mumbled grunt and continued flicking through their phones.

What kind of message does that send out to the person who initiated the conversation? It’s essentially saying, you’re not interesting enough for me to listen. I agree with Nat that we need to ensure that from a young age people are connected and have the ability to consume information whenever they need it. It’s common knowledge that teenagers are spending more time on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo to learn new skills and acquire new information.

I just think their needs to be a greater level of education on the safe and effective use of social media across the school system and for parents. A report by the NSPCC found that “More than half of parents are unaware of the age limit on Social Media”, this means they aren’t making well-informed decisions when allowing their children to roam free across social channels. If more work is done to provide children with a better education, it will eradicate so-called ‘social bad habits’ and allow us to become better communicators both professionally and personally.

Check out Nat’s vlog below for a greater level of insight into this topic!

The Takeover of Fortnite

This video game taking over a generation.

When we think about popular video games that attract a youth market, we think of such games like FIFA, Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Games that are prominent with a male under 30 demographic and games that cause a wave of media outcry and popularity when they are released.

Well now, there’s a new kid on the block and this new phenomenon is not just a game, but a game-changer.

Fortnite is a game developed by ‘Epic Games’ and whether they knew it or not when creating this masterpiece, Fortnite has taken the internet by storm.

Firstly, Fortnite is free to download… Yes, free.

In an age where it is not un-common to spend £40-£50 on video games, Fortnite was released to the world for a grand total of £0. If you’re like me, you’d expect a free game to be subpar… Not the case for Fortnite. It’s a solid third person shooter that has a lot going for it. Sure, it’s not Halo or Call of Duty but it does offer a great piece of gameplay that is difficult to get anywhere else.

Fortnite is aimed at a younger, male audience that either still get pocket money from mum or simply don’t earn enough money to justify buying a £50 game that doesn’t come with years of accolades. So, when a free games pops up on the market, downloads go wild.

Along with the launch, came a wave of user-generated social media content that drove the publicity of this game to a new level.

People started using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch to talk about Fortnite. Bigger accounts that don £10m+ followers started to upload content because it is where the conversation lies. People didn’t and don’t want to miss out on what everybody else is making noise about. People aren’t addicted to Fortnite, it just has the same calling that any other new craze has. Young people simply do not want to get left behind. Heck, it’s the reason why I started playing it. It’s not an amazing game but it’s a solid game, it’s a free game that everyone is playing… So why don’t I start playing it?

But what do the developers get out of this? Sure, there’s a wave of free user-generated publicity, sure they have millions of users across the globe. But if the game is free, then how are they making money? There’s no advertising in the game so there’s no third-party income coming in through that traditional route.

The way Epic Games makes money through Fortnite is through in-game purchases. This has been a model that has been around since mobile gaming first jumped on the scene. You download a ‘free’ game from the app store and then once in the game you can pay for certain add-ons to make your gaming experience even better. The console gaming industry adopted this same model a while ago and it is still being used to extreme effect today. The best example of this probably comes in the form of FIFA Ultimate Team. Where you can physically use your own hard-earned money to pay for FUT points to buy or bid on players.

Fortnite allows users to pay for in-game add-ons that can make you a more formidable opponent when you’re up against your friends in the game. As more people play and the competition levels rise, people will want to outdo their counterparts and this is what Fortnite counts on to make money.

Fortnite is an online gaming example that has taken social media by storm and…

Sorry, Ryan’s online and asking me to play… Gotta go!

Love on social media

In this new age of social media, can relationships be what they used to be? Can you love someone unconditionally without showing the world how much you love someone? Of course you can but there are people who choose to document their relationship online for the whole world to see?

Getting more “likes” or more “views” or simply just more engagement has become far more important to people than many other meaningful things that we could label as meaningful only a few years ago. We are now seeing people share the most intimate part of their lives as a show to gain an audience and a following to ultimately gain a more monetary status. This is more than a reality TV show, this is reacting to people, demanding to see the ins and outs of the life you live.

But is this really a meaningful relationship? Is sharing every facet of your life keeping your relationship together? If it is… Is that true love?

Trends and social stigmas

We’re living in a life full of trends and what I like to call “the new age of peer pressure.” We’re now more so than ever trying to fit in with our social crowd and doing things that we would have never thought about doing five, ten or even fifteen years ago.

Let’s look at tattoos, gluten free or even veganism and try and understand how and why these have become social trends. Yes, people are educating themselves and become more “open” about such things but people are also seeking a way to become a part of a social setting that where they can “fit in.” With the rise of social and digital media, information is much easier to grasp that in the 90s and we’re being taught or some may say “brainwashed” into following trends unconsciously.

But maybe there’s a point to that…

Living in a Digital Circle

Everyone has the right to experience the natural wonders of the world. Although not everybody has the necessary tools or opportunities to do so, they still have the right.

We, as humans have the ability to grant that right to anybody and we do. Through the eyes of social media, we can bring the amazing waterfalls of Foz do Iguaçu to a young Bangladeshi girl that may never get to witness it in person… But why doesn’t everybody also have the right to classified government documents or to be in the board room discussing the next player that the New England Patriots want to sign?

Don’t we all have the right to be a part of what the world produces… We are part of this world and what we produce is a sub element of Earth… Is it not?

Non-verbal communication has taken over

We do not need to communicate verbally anymore. We are living in an age of technology innovations where the need to interact with someone with speech has disappeared. With messaging based apps on the rise and the comfort of expressing your mind over a screen rather than face to face takes over, verbal communication will continue to dwindle.

The future will host a world of virtual reality and augmented reality taking non-verbal communication that much further.

Do you give yourself a social media ranking?

Many young people tend to portray their lifestyle on social media differently to how their life really is.

There is a trend where we are seeing ourselves living life in which we aim to raise our social media ‘ranking’ and searching approval from our digital companions through our activity on social media.

We are now glittering our lives with filters and rose tinted lenses while at the same time making our peers feel bad about their own lives. And we are aware of what we are doing!

“Social Media is like cocaine – It can give us an immense high but it can also make us and others around us crash!” – Dominic McGregor, CEO Social Chain.

Why so social? – Documentary coming soon.

Social media word of mouth is the greatest marketing and advertising tool

Social media word of mouth is the greatest marketing and advertising tool. Period.

No matter what, if you have good content then you have the power to create something special; without even lifting a finger. The great thing about social media is that its users know a piece of good content and will create multiple strands of media from that content to sit on multiple platforms.

In this vlog, I speak about the recent events that has happened with United Airlines’ mishandling of a passenger and Borussia Dortmund’s team bus incident.

In the case of United Airlines, an unfortunate turn of events involving a passenger and airline staff resulting in the passenger being dragged off the plane by police officers. Fortunately, the event was recorded on mobile devices by passengers who uploaded their videos to social media. Of course, this created an uproar of emotion but what it also created was an opportunity for everyday social media content creators to act and use this event to create entertaining content which in turn made this event that much more visible to the public.

The amount of extra eye balls that this type of social media word of mouth added would have indeed been a number above comprehension. United Airlines certainly felt the impact of what social media can do and how it can ‘make’ or ‘break’ you.

With Borussia Dortmund, the use of the hashtag #BedForAwayFans was created by the club as well as its fans to help find Monaco fans a bed to sleep in for the extra night that the French fans stayed in Dortmund to support their team due to the match being postponed. This is by no means nothing new but the use of the hashtag created positive social media word of mouth to allow football fans to come together as one.

Whether for entertainment or for help or for anything else. If there is a good cause, good content or a good idea, people will use social media to share it, talk about it and promote it.

It is the very best form of marketing and advertising. Just don’t ask people to do it. Let them do it themselves!

Will our children’s, children’s, children require intimate human interaction and companionship?

It’s hard to believe that several generations down the line of present day won’t require human companionship the way we do today. In some instances, it becomes difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that going out with friends on a Friday afternoon after work to grab a few drinks won’t exist. Or having a general face-to-face catch up with good friends will simply always result to a mode of communication through technology.

In a way, humans will always need the companionship of other humans at least for the purpose of reproduction. But thinks again, do we actually need ‘companionship’ to create other beings, no… We don’t!

The way young people use their mobile devices today is a very obvious example of the direction that mobile technology and technology in general is moving. Who’s to say that in one hundred years from now, Rebecca and Jill will be communicating by hologram devices instead of meeting at each other’s houses to gossip?

There used to be a time when you had to physically talk to someone in front of their face in order to communicate with them. Now, all we need to do is pick up a phone. The more we develop as a race and create new ways of talking to one another, the less actual human physical interaction we’ll need. We will no longer need that level of intimate human interaction or companionship.

Yes, communicating with a friend in any circumstance or by any means is still companionship but compare this companionship to what we have today. Now ask yourself this question… What comes next after holograms?