Social Media: It’s Not Good

Social+Media%3A+It%E2%80%99s+Not+Good

Sophie Cox

I find myself in a constant inner debate about social media. I can’t decide whether I should be spending less time on social media or whether it’s okay. I have even found myself writing, “logging off for a while,” on my Snapchat story just to come back in a couple of hours. Social media can be a great way to stay in touch, but there are too many poor effects of it overall. Through my personal experience and input from the experts, I have decided that social media is not good for anyone’s mental health, especially teenagers. I have gathered information about the good and the not-so-good parts of social media to share how the bad outweighs the good.

In terms of the good, I can say from my life that I love to use social media as my main form of communication with my friends. It’s also fun to see what other people are up to, especially right now, when I don’t get to see many people that I would usually catch up with at school. I like to see what my friends that have graduated are up to, or what my extended family is doing. There’s nothing like sending my bestie a hilariously relatable meme or a cute cat video on Instagram. In terms of communication and staying updated on what is going on in the world, social media is great.

Social media can also be a great way to express oneself and can be great entertainment. Not only is it fun to create a personal profile and post creative pictures or videos, but it’s also a great place for small businesses to advertise themselves. In fact, “81% of all small and medium businesses use some kind of social platform,” according to Kit Smith on Brandwatch.com. Particularly during the times of Covid, this is a great tool for small businesses. That is another great use of the amount of outreach with social media. 

All of those reasons were great, but the overwhelming evidence is against social media. First on the list of negatives is it’s a detriment to mental health. Social media should not replace real human interaction, according to Helpguide.org. “It requires in-person contact with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more positive,” says the website. Furthermore, “Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people closer together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make you feel more lonely and isolated,” says authors Robinson and Smith. Too many teens today use social media as a replacement for actually talking to their peers. 

Social media can also really hurt one’s self-esteem. It is so easy to look at pictures from someone else’s feed and immediately start comparing oneself. It can be hard to forget that everyone has their own insecurities and what they post on social media is just the best part of their life. Mcleanhospital.org talks about this on their website. “When there’s a filter applied to the digital world, it can be hard for teens to tell what’s real and what isn’t, which comes at a difficult time for them physically and emotionally,” says the website. Social media can be a great way to start disliking oneself or wishing for a life more like the people in their fun-looking photos.

Next is the time-wasting that could be used for much more productive things. Social media is a black hole for wasting time. In fact, “The average person spends nearly 2 hours a day using social media, which amounts to 5 years and 4 months of his/her lifetime,” according to Mediakix.com. The best strategy is to simply not have the apps that are such big time wasters. From personal experience, it is really hard to pay attention to online classes while simultaneously checking out the Instagram explore page.

Some may say that social media is okay in certain amounts, but that strategy is hard to maintain. Each of these sites is created to keep people scrolling or to keep them coming back for more. “Using it activates the brain’s reward center by releasing dopamine, a “feel-good chemical” linked to pleasurable activities,” says Mcleanhospital.org. This means that social media could bring temporary enjoyment, but once again, it leads to eventual unsavory effects on health. It’s really hard to have the self-control necessary to leave social media and do more meaningful activities. 

To conclude, it’s important to stay informed about how habits like using social media can impact health. While spending time scrolling seems harmless, it may have long-term effects that just aren’t worth it. In the end, everyone must weigh their happiness in using the apps versus how it affects them in a negative way.