Social Media Troubles

Max Smith, Journalist

Social media has become one of the most prominent things in many people’s lives over the past few years. Social media has expanded and changed from just Facebook to many other apps such as Tiktok, Instagram, and many others. However, has this really been a good thing for everyone? Or has social media changed all of us for the worse.

Social media has been consistently tied to mental health problems in teens and even in adults. A 2019 study involving 6,500 teenagers has shown that teenagers who use social media for just 3 hours a day were already at risk of depression and anxiety disorders. Most teenagers currently spend that much time, or more on social media daily. Social media has also been linked to sleep loss and other sleep disorders, causing more anxiety and depression problems from a lack of sleep. In 2016 a study involving 450 teenagers proved this by displaying that teenagers gained sleep disorders from using social media too far into the night. People have become addicted to social media too, in more ways than they realize. The same 2016 study showed that teenagers became emotionally invested in social media and showed emotional distress when they were prevented access to social media. In addition to this a lot of teens’ focus has been severely affected by social media, with many people losing focus and checking social media instead of doing work. “ It (social media) definitely has made me procrastinate more, as social media is easier to comprehend than real work but that can turn into longer periods of time on social media than I want.” IHS student Daniel O’Carrol when asked about social media’s effect on his attention. Time and time again studies have shown that social media can be very bad for teens or anyone in general.

However it is not all bad with social media; it brings a lot of positivity to teens and everyone around the world. People from all over the world who would never be able to talk to each other normally have gained the ability to talk and communicate with each other through social media. “For example, everyone has some people that they met with common interests through the internet and become emotionally attached to them like real friends, even without knowing them physically.” Daniel O’Carroll told me about his thoughts about friendships online. Also through social media, people can be informed of things happening around the world in an instant and gain important knowledge that will help them in the future. Social media helps the world stay connected and informed about the world around them.

So is social media  good or bad for us? I talked to my mom, Anne Mclister, about how she thinks life has changed since social media to get a better idea of it truly helping or hurting people. She told me how social media has helped her get in contact with friends and family she hasn’t spoken to in a long time, but at the same time she mentioned how social relationships themselves have changed with less face to face interaction. “It is good in the sense you can keep up with people and family who you don’t see on a regular basis” She told me but she also said “ You actually used to take the time to talk to people in person or on the phone, I miss that.” 

In the end social media has both positive and negative effects on us, but despite everything it stays a prominent part of our society. The problem is that social media can be easily overused, and when overused social media can be extremely bad for almost anyone, anywhere. But as long as it is not overused, social media can be a very good thing, connecting the world and bringing people closer together, even with the risks it comes with social media remains an important part of everyone’s life.