By: Hannah Dinnen
Docs instead of notebooks, video games instead of tag, Google instead of the library. With teenagers spending more than six hours every day (according to the BBC), our modern society has access to technology like never before. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, VSCO, there is no shortage of platforms for those to voice their opinions. Defined as “a place where users can create and share content, or participate in social networking,” social media provides a great deal of opportunity. However, we are left to debate whether the benefits of society outweigh the negatives in this digital age.
Not only does social media provide easy access to current events, but it also opens an increase in social opportunities. Social media to stay connected to and to share experiences. Teens especially have the ability to stay in contact with old friends or relatives who live far away. Another reason the constant access to information is proven useful is in the task of updating the public during crisis situations. Social media also encourages supporting causes or issues they feel passionate about. According to the Harris Poll, 68% of Americans claim that social media promotes creativity. Additionally, social media aids in increasing voter participation and empowers people to make changes.
On the other hand,, social media can be taken to an extreme and be detrimental for health. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children have 2 or fewer hours of screen time daily, but most teenagers are spending 9-11 hours online. Jonathan Fascetii ‘21 hints at the negatives of social media, saying that “a lot of people use social media in ways it isn’t intended for…more destructively.” For those who are constantly online, there is proven rises in depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, more than 2.2 times the risk of peers who are online less. Spending too long on electronic devices can also alter sleeping patterns, the blue light affecting melatonin levels. Studies even show that photos with a higher number of likes, make viewers feel the need to like them as well, aligning their interests with the majority of the public, and instilling a more “follow the herd” mindset.
An opportunity to share your voice, or something possibly detrimental, social media has made a home somewhere in between. With a lack of research and constantly changing the internet, it makes the debate hard to settle. “Social media is a great platform for the use of expressing yourself and your creativity, but it also creates stigmas and high standards which can negatively affect people’s image of themselves,” said Camille Cirgucio’ 21.
It can be certain that making small changes to how you use social media is key. For example, checking how long you’re spending on your phone, and remembering to take a break everyone once in a while. Strive for the balance of social media and real life, and remember to take advantage of the technology at our fingertips.