Post-modern man has become a machine driven by multitasking as a new normal in our highly mechanized lives. It is immensely amazing as to how we manage it all.We largely depend on our smartphones for work, school, our personal and social lives. When was the last time you left home without your phone and kept on going? Likewise, the internet has become a significant part of our daily lives. So too has social media. It is having an immense impact on today’s teens.Back in 2005, when social media was still in its infancy, only about 5 percent of users were involved in social media. In 2019, that number grew to about 70 percent.Pew Research Center surveyed social media usage and popularity among US adults early in 2019. The survey found that while the most-used social platforms for adults are YouTube and Facebook; teens prefer Snap-Chat and Instagram, while Tik-Tok is reportedly the fastest growing social network among younger users.Social media use is nearly universal among today’s teens. Pew Research Center reports, 97 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds use at least one of seven major online platforms.The amount of time spent on social sites is astoundingly increasing with every passing day. One report indicates the average teen ages 13 to 18 spends about nine hours on social media each day; tweens ages 8 to 12 are on for about six hours a day.Like most things, using social media has its positives, its pitfalls, and dangers that lurk and impact the lives of many, especially teens. There are no two opinions about this reality that internet has grown to be one of the most powerful sources to connect people. With the advancement of internet Social Networking Sites (SNS) are increasingly becoming popular and have become the most up to date and attractive tools for connecting people across the world. These sites have created transnational, international and national spaces where strangers meet and tie in social relations. Some of the most popular SNS include Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Viber and what Sapp. These have made it possible to easily connect with the world and these applications have attracted millions of users, plenty of whom have integrated these in to their every day practices. The social network sites have thus changed the way people connect across the world. When it comes to the popularity of SNS developing countries too are at the forefront. In the context of Pakistan social media is getting distinction day by day. Thirty million people in Pakistan have been reported to be online every day and the number is growing quickly. Likewise, there are 120 million versatile endorsers in Pakistan that make it the fifth biggest cellular telephone showcase in Asia. Face book is presently the most broadly utilized social media site in Pakistan with nine million clients in the nation. It has been reported that face book has over one million supporters a month and 44 thousand new clients joining the site consistently. Pakistan’s face book audience has been reported to be 70% male, 30% female as of April 2013. Face book has turned into one of the fundamental channels of correspondence between evacuee Pakistanis living in the Gulf States, European nations and the US and their families back home Undoubtedly, social media and technology offer us greater convenience and connectivity:staying connected with family and friends worldwide via email, text, FaceTime, etc. It offersquick access to information and research, banking and bill pay at our fingertips, online learning, job skills, content discovery (YouTube), involvement in civic engagement (fundraising, social awareness, provides a voice), great marketing tools, opportunities for remote employment. Social media can be a good thing, but if teens ever feel uncomfortable about something they see or read on social, they should trust their own feelings and talk to someone – a parent, a teacher, or another trusted adult. Bullying, threats and cruelty on social media are all signs that the person doing those things needs help.Along with the good comes the bad. With all of its benefits, the nature of social media presents a range of potential issues.Social media itself is not the problem. It is the way people use it in place of actual communication and in-person socializing. “Friends” on social media may not actually be friends, and may even be strangers.The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.When you’re playing a game or accomplishing a task, you seek to do it as well as you can. Once you succeed, your brain will give you a dose of dopamine and other happiness hormones, making you happy. The same mechanism functions when you post a picture to Instagram or Facebook. Once you see all the notifications for likes and positive comments popping up on your screen, you’ll subconsciously register it as a reward. But that’s not all, social media is full of mood-modifying experiences.Fear of Missing Out is now a new sickness. FOMO has become a common theme, and often leads to continual checking of social media sites. The idea that you might miss out on something if you’re not online can affect your mental health.Social media sites provide tools that allow people to earn others’ approval for their appearance and the possibility to compare themselves to others. It can be associated with body image issues and psychological concerns. The “selfieholics” and people who spend most of their time posting and scrolling are the ones most vulnerable to this. In fact, most college girls who use Facebook at least five times a day are likely to link their self-worth to their looks. That doesn’t mean that the main problem is social media; it only provides a medium for it, which further aggravates the problem. Simultaneously, it also promotes the same kind of behavior to others.Sadly, there is an ugly side to all that technology offers. While bullying is not a new concept, social media and technology have brought bullying to a new level. It becomes a more constant, ever-present threat, cyberbullying. “Bullying” means the use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof directed at a student that:causes physical or emotional harm to the student or damage to the student’s property, places the student in reasonable fear of harm to himself/herself or of damage to his/her property, creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or abusive educational environment for the student, infringes on the rights of the student to participate in school activities, materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.“Cyberbullying” means bullying through the use of technology or any electronic communication, which shall include, but not be limited to, any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, texting or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, including, but not limited to, electronic mail, Internet communications, instant messages or facsimile communications.Every 7 minutes a child is bullied. Unfortunately, intervention is rare, with an adult intervening in only four percent of cases, and a peer in 11 percent. An astonishing 85 percent of all cases of bullying are not addressed. This is alarmingly dangerous. Adding salt to the injury, this can take an adverse toll on young minds. Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under age 14. Suicide rates among 10- to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades, according to the American Association of Suicidology.Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 and 14 are very low, but are creeping up, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.What can parents do?As parents, there are things we can do to improve our children’s lives online and in real life.We must endeavor in our daily lives to model the behavior we want to see. Therefore, it is imperative toset boundaries right away when you give your children their first phone. It is equally important to set parental controls on his or her phone, with access to their passwords. Phones should be charged somewhere other than their room at night, and phone sets should be shut off an hour or two before bed.Have conversations with your children on why some things should be kept private andtake time to actively engage with your kids face to face. This interaction teaches them how to follow social cues, verbal and non-verbal.As parents you must talk to your kids without glancing at your phone.Similarly, one must find opportunities to have genuine conversations that are not lectures and thus sensitize children about privacy concerns and cybersecurity issues.Technology has changed the way we live, work, and socialize but in no way can it replace parenting. The writer is a civil servant by profession, a writer by choice and a motivational speaker by passion!