Who Influences You Online

With internet safety week upon us, expectations for the internet community are very high to uphold. Online is meant to be a place of socialising and gaining information. As technology evolves, so have we on what we do on the internet. Now most, if not all of the internet has an element of sharing, and almost nothing is off limits to what we share. Social media has the power to change perspectives, thoughts and opinions. But does it have the power to influence you?

The media is a very big influence in teenager’s lives. Mainly a bad influence, as the media often show women with unrealistic body types (which are usually the product of photo shop) and “sexy” appearances which is promoted by A-List celebrities. Other kinds of media feature violent imagery and coarse language which is often shown and heard on music videos. Main examples are shown on popular rap videos which are popular in society today among teens. The indirect media influences can suggest to teenagers that these are ‘normal’ ways to look and behave, causing self-esteem issues, negative behaviour and a rise in plastic surgery.

Celebrities have a huge influence over their fans and the way users of social media view certain trends. This could be a good thing because celebrities with a big fan base can use their high influence as a way to talk about social topics and make people aware of current events. As of recent, music artists are speaking out on the recent rage following the Black Lives Matter campaign.  This can be seen as a good thing because it is an eye opener to the important problems of today. Their tweets are viewed by millions of people, many of whom are supporters of their work. This makes the supporters more susceptible to agreeing with their views. It can influence teenagers to attain information and pushes them forward to making a change. This can be a good thing, however, there are certain instances where celebrities do not use their popularity on social media to good effect.

As you know, most teenagers have an obsession with a celebrity, but this level of infatuation has been taken sky-high. Popular boy band members sparked an outrage after indecent pictures on the social networking site Instagram surfaced of the two males smoking what seems to be marijuana. This affected fans and resulted in fans cutting their own wrists with the hope that the message that smoking drugs is bad for you would be made clear. This ruined the name of the fan base and more importantly teenagers with teen fans being stereotyped as obsessive. This type of media coverage of teens does not help the public perception of this group.

Although this is happening, things are looking up; for example #WakeUpToSyria, a morning selfie trend, is helping to raise money for a good cause. Just taking a simple snap of you in the morning can contribute to raising money for children who are affected by the conflict in Syria. By doing this celebrities are influencing others to take a photo and join the trend. The internet has played a radical part in persuading children to make decisions, which brings it back to the question, who influences you online?