The use of social media has increased drastically over the past 15 years. In the beginning, it was simply a way to easily stay connected with friends and family. Now, most people spend the majority of their free time scrolling through the latest updates on their feeds but is it affecting us?
The availability of social media applications makes it hard for one to not have at least one of them downloaded on their phone or computer. From Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and more, there is a social media platform that can fit almost every need.
Social media use in teens and young adults is even more prevalent, with some schools and parents banning its use altogether. Is social media a bad thing, though? I don’t think the answer is clear cut at all.
How does social media positively impact us?
Social media has many great uses and has allowed us to reach many people from all walks of life. As well as reach people from almost every country in the world. Social media platforms such as Facebook have allowed us to join in on conversations of world events and to see the many perspectives of people from all over. We can join groups that pertain to our interests and meet others who, without social media, we would have never had the chance to meet. We can use these apps to easily find and connect with old schoolmates and friends and keep up to date on their day to day lives.
Twitter is an even greater source to keep up to date on world events, and Instagram can allow others to express their creativity through photography.
Social media has also allowed some people to earn full-time incomes or greater. Social media apps like Instagram and Tik Tok have created what is now known as an Influencer. These are people who have gained popularity online doing everything from making comedic videos to posting makeup tutorials. These people can be making anywhere from thousands of dollars a year to more than a million. This has allowed many people to not only mostly work from home but also to become their own boss and spend more time doing things they love and be with family.
Are there any downsides?
While social media seems to have had many positive impacts on some people’s lives, it can be catastrophic in others.
One of the ways social media is negatively impacting us is our relationships. How many times have you been sitting with friends, and at least one of you is scrolling through your phone, missing the social interaction that is happening right in front of your eyes. We have become disconnected from the whole around us to become connected with our phones and what others online are doing.
Not only is it affecting our friendships but also our romantic relationships. It has become much easier to be unfaithful and to just simply hide any evidence. Instagram has created a “vanish mode” that automatically erases messages, and Snapchat is based around images and messages that disappear.
Safety is another concern for social media. Most Social media platforms allow us to enter the city we live in, our full name, and our date of birth. We tag ourselves at locations when we travel and post photos of our children online. Unless you have your privacy settings set very strict, anyone can see a majority of this information. Apps like Instagram allow us to tag our location on our pictures we post and to post our location on our “Story” in real-time. Lastly, Snapchat has a map mode that allows you to see where your friends are at any point in time.
Social media can also have a huge impact on our mental health. It has become a highlight reel; we post our best moments on social media. It can be hard not to compare our lives to those of our peers. Seeing that our friends are traveling, eating amazing food, posting selfies that look flawless can be hard to cope with. We don’t often broadcast our worst moments, but everyone has them. This can be hard to remember being surrounded by only the positives. A like on our post can greatly impact our self-worth.
Is social media worth it?
Whether social media has a positive or negative impact on our lives can not be determined. Like everything in life, I believe social media has a time and a place. It must also be used in moderation, and one must remember that it again is a highlight reel. Everything you see on social media should be taken with a grain of salt.