Social media generates a negative impact
By Justin Lin
Social media’s constant effect on the lives of numerous teens has created a much larger negative consequence than a positive one. With so many people having to face problems such as mental health issues, addiction, lack of productivity, and both physical and emotional insecurities, a big question has to come to mind: How can these problems be limited/prevented? I believe the negative impact of social media can easily be dealt with through one’s personal actions, such as being more aware of the sites that are used, being more aware of certain identities and accounts, and limiting the time being spent on social media.
Being more aware of sites that are being used
A big reason why social media could be dangerous is the countless amount of sites that can gain access to personal information and privacy. This could lead to the physical security of users being at risk.
In 8 dangers of social media to discuss with kids and teens, Nicole Fabian-Weber talks about how parents should inform their children on what details shouldn’t be exposed online and the dangers of false marketing/scams.
It’s important to understand which sites are safe to use and be cautious of whether or not private information could be leaked on those sites. If photos are being posted, this could be checking to see if there is any important information in the background. Making sure not to tag locations or show anything in the background that could give away your location is also very helpful. If you are going away on a trip, make sure not to announce it so people won’t know you’re away from home. Also, it would be best if pictures were posted after coming back from vacation.
Another reason parents might not want their kids to use social media could be because of adult content possibly being exposed to children who are not old enough or mature enough to deal with it. False information could even be given to those kids, which could lead them to think or act a certain way that could be negative or dangerous.
Parents could solve this problem by explaining to their kids what is and isn’t appropriate for their age and teaching them to close out of anything that doesn’t seem to be suited for them. Even if that doesn’t work, parents could always enable content filters and ways to block certain apps/websites. These content filters could include MyCircle, OurPact, Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family, and much more.
Being more aware of certain identities and accounts
On social media, it’s important to be cautious and know how to deal with other accounts that could bring dangers/negativity.
A major problem of social media has been an increase in emotional insecurities among many teens. Teens have been pressured to do certain things online in order to make it seem like they belong or to make them feel good about themselves.
In How to Build Self-Confidence in the Age of Social Media, Gergana Mileva explains how this problem could be solved through occasional breaks from being online, unfollowing accounts with negative impacts and following accounts with more positive influences, understanding personal strengths and weaknesses, and more.
In relation to troubles with self-confidence online, a big cause of that has been direct cyberbullying. Social Media and Teens: How Does Social Media Affect Teenagers’ Mental Health says, “Teens girls in particular are at risk of cyberbullying through use of social media, but teen boys are not immune. Cyberbullying is associated with depression, anxiety, and an elevated risk of suicidal thoughts.”
By contacting and reporting issues of cyberbullying to tech companies, the whole problem could immediately be stopped. This could prevent even bigger problems dealing with mental health, which would have easily been caused by cyberbullying.
In Cyber-solutions to Cyberbullying, Matthew Lynch writes, “There are many social media platforms and carriers, and even more websites that allow for interactive messaging, but most of them are committed to helping you identify and stop the bullying. To report cyber bully texting, contact your carrier. If the bullying is happening online, contact your Internet provider.”
Limiting the time being spent online
Denali freshman Jack Abrahamson is considered to be a heavy user of social media, saying he uses “five hours a day.” He explained the disadvantages that social media has on his daily life. “It can be distracting, like when you’re trying to focus on something and you get a notification,” Abrahamson explained. “Then you get distracted and off task.”
In 7 Ways To Stop Your Social Media Addiction, Phoebe Avison simply explains how to put an end to this specific problem: “When you stop notifications from disturbing your normal routine, you might find it easier to concentrate on your daily tasks and not get distracted so easily. Notifications are a constant reminder that something is happening in the online world and you might feel like you’re missing out. So to quell your FOMO, turn off your notifications.” (FOMO stands for “fear of missing out.”)
Aside from the problem of lack of productivity, it’s seemed as if people have been glued to their phones so much as if that’s the only way of communicating with others. Avison also goes on to explain how real-life interactions with family and friends could make it much more memorable than by doing it through a screen.
That’s not even all of it. Addiction to social media has even led to bigger problems involving mental health. These problems could include anxiety, loneliness, depression, etc. And as social media usage continues to increase, these problems will only grow.
In 2018, The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study involving 140 undergraduates either continuing their regular use of social media apps or limiting the amount to 10 minutes per day. Alice G. Walton writes, “As the researchers expected, people who limited their social media use to 30 minutes felt significantly better after the three-week period, reporting reduced depression and loneliness, especially those who came into the study with higher levels of depression. Interestingly, both groups reported less FOMO and less anxiety in the end, which the team suggests may just be a resulting benefit of increased self-monitoring” (New Studies Show Just How Bad Social Media Is For Mental Health).
Making personal time limits online and sticking to them could help reduce the impact of mental health issues, which are usually caused by overuse of social media.
Overall, social media has made a very negative impact on numerous people around the world. It has provoked issues dealing with addiction, lack of productivity, mental health, self-confidence, and the physical safety of users being at risk. But with personal steps being taken, these problems could easily be prevented/limited. People need to be aware of the specific problems they are facing and how to confront them, otherwise the negativity would only grow. It’s only a matter of whether or not they will decide to take these actions.
PHOTO CREDIT: Featured image: needpix.com