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Social Media: Not So Social Afterall

Tori Hollenbeck, Staff Writer

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 Social media has taken the sun’s place as the center of our universe. It dictates nearly every move we make. Think about it: Social media is the reason that people are so obsessed with looking flawless in pictures. It is the reason that at the beginning of fall, people get a pumpkin spice latte and take “basic” photos. Sometimes, social media is the only reason that we have any interaction with some people, but only to keep a streak alive. On that note, social media also can sometimes be our only means of keeping in touch with friends and family who live far away. It allows us to express ourselves and interact with many kinds of people from all over the world. It allows us to keep up with current events and pop culture almost as soon as things happen. Having unlimited access to whatever we want seems like a great idea on the surface, but how is social media affecting us as students?               

Social media unequivocally plays a major role in the lives of most everyone in our society, especially for students and teens. Unlike most adults, students have grown up with technology. We students haven’t lived in a world where we couldn’t type something into a search engine and learn everything about it instantly. Over the years, technology and the internet have evolved and become more efficient, making the instant gaining of knowledge even more instant. As the internet has evolved, so has social media, which has maintained its title as one of people’s favorite ways to spend their time over the years. As social media has evolved and more social sites become popular, the amount of time people spend on social networks seem to increase. An article in Business Insider states that, “Social platforms have become the new leaders in the digital media industry, evolving well past their beginnings as digital communication networks and becoming full-fledged media distribution channels and entertainment centers,” which shows that it has been proven that social media’s already large popularity is only growing.

A nonprofit devoted to helping children called the Common Sense Media did a study on the amount of time that U.S. teens spend on social media and found that, “On any given day, American teenagers (13- to 18-year-olds) average about nine hours (8:56) of entertainment media use, excluding time spent at school or for homework.” It is fairly common knowledge that the internet has some unfriendly and dangerous sides to it and it is inevitable that during those nine hours spent daily, teens will end up encountering them. The dangers that one might stumble across on the internet are more easily accessible and widely popular than you may think.

An article published by Huffington Post said that, “Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression,narcissism and decreased social skills.” On social media, people tend to put their best face forward. People only post what they want people to see. They aren’t going to air their dirty laundry on the internet. Teens who are constantly only seeing the good parts of people’s lives begin to compare it to their own lives, causing them not to be content with what they have.

This constant comparison can cause them to feel inadequate and can lead to depression. Comparison leads to a world of discontentment and unhappiness because people can never be content and happy with their own circumstances if they’re held prisoner by the unhappiness that comes with the constant comparison to everybody else. Now, how can we stop this? Perhaps we should spend less time on social media and spend more time interacting with people in the real world. I am in no way saying that we should stop using social media altogether, but maybe we should consider putting the phone down just long enough to truly connect with the other people around us, and that might make us happier. Sitting down with people and truly connecting with them shows you that everyone has their struggles and hardships, thus stopping the comparison by being able to relate to one another.

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