Con: Social Media Does More Harm

Annabel Edwards Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter: these are only a few of the many social media platforms that are used everyday by people around the world. In the recent years, social media has taken off. From memes to Snapchat stories, almost every person’s life has been affected by it. Although some people, especially teenagers, argue that it has a positive effect on their lives, it’s important to emphasize all of the negative things that happen on these apps. Social media can connect you to other people much easier than before, but the problem is that “connecting” to people on social media usually means nothing more than sending selfies or maybe some messaging. People lose face-to-face interaction, and thus important skills in interacting and cooperating with each other; and, a lot of the times, social media is also anonymous, which makes interaction over it ten times worse. Cyberbullying has become a widespread and even deadly problem, all due to social media. It is much easier to bully someone anonymously and not have to put your face and identity behind it: an ability social media gives to people. For example, when Yik Yak came to Latin, kids had no problem saying bad things about one another because it was anonymous and there were no immediate consequences. There was no holding back because there was no attachment to each mean comment made. This same phenomenon happens everyday to young people. There are so many dangers that come through social media. Bullies are everywhere, and apps make it easier for them to find a person to bully. Everyday kids are bullied or hurt through social media by people that might not even know them directly or do not intentionally mean to hurt those people. There are two types of bullying that can occur over social media; there is direct bullying targeting one person or group that can either be anonymous, and then there is indirect bullying that can happen through posts, Snapchat stories, and more. This type of bullying is usually unintentional but can easily make someone feel left out. If you think about a time back to when you were using social media and felt excluded, hurt, or forgotten about, these moments are constantly happening to kids. Social media has also encouraged exclusiveness. It’s easy to post something without thinking about it or the people it might hurt. You might post something from a party without knowing it is making your close friend feel excluded that they were not invited. Constantly seeing photos and videos from a place you are not at causes what has now become known as FOMO (fear of missing out). FOMO is a feeling of anxiety that is constantly experienced because of social media. Although these same feelings could certainly happen without social media, the apps encourage and emphasize it. Constantly watching and looking on your phone at other people’s lives not only can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, but can also cause addiction. Always checking your phone for what you may be missing out on or what your friends are doing can be considered addiction. Although most young people do not like to admit it, many are addicted to their phones, specifically the apps on them. Whether it is looking at other people’s photos or simply scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for memes and funny comments, both can be considered distractions and addictions. It is not smart phones that distract us; it is every app that you click on to pass time or “take a break” from homework but end up spending hours on. In the recent years, it has become harder and harder not to get distracted or check social media at least once a day. Not to mention that studies show kids have been getting less sleep in recent years because they stay up at night on their apps. Not only has it caused addiction, but it can also be brainwashing. What we see in social media can determine our opinions and thoughts. Mindless photos or tweets without any evidence can give us some of our strongest opinions. Our current president uses social media to his advantage by tweeting his thoughts without evidence. People see him as an authoritative figure and believe his tweets without ever fact-checking any of it. Tweets like Trump’s can be found all over social media; a post that you see might influence a decision even if there is no evidence to back it up simply because you saw it when you were scrolling through. Another problem with social media is the lack of privacy. Before the 21st century, there was no way to post a photo and show the world. Now one post could ruin a life. No matter if you delete it or not, there is always one person who will have screenshotted or shown another person your photo; it never goes away. There is a reason why seniors change their Facebook names when applying to college. Although this method usually does not work, there is still a reason behind it. They know somewhere on social media, there is a picture of them that they do not want colleges seeing. Social media has ruined privacy, for both celebrities and ordinary people. It has encouraged public humiliation and blackmail. There are hardly any times nowadays when you can go out and do something that you might regret later without a photo, video, or tweet getting taken and posted. So after reading all the reasons why there are so many problems and bad effects of social media, we are faced with a question. Why do we still use them? Why do we still constantly check our apps knowing we face a variety of dangers? I do not know why we use social media as much as we do. We post photos of our lives for what reason? So we can make others jealous? So we can show the world who we are, when in reality much of what we post on social media is fake?  We use it because the whole world does. We use it because of FOMO. Instilled in our 21st century minds is the idea that social media will bring us closer to people, allow us to express ourselves, and see what is going on, when in reality it does the exact opposite. It deemphasizes human interaction, forces people to give up their privacy, allows individuals to anonymously hurt and bully someone else, and encourages often-incorrect information to be accepted as fact.  Although there are some positives to social media, the bad effects outweigh the good.]]>