Kat Tracks: Social media is bad for everyone

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With the steady rise of various social media platforms over the past 20 years, many changes have taken place leading to controversial views on how social media has changed our world. Of the more than seven billion people on the planet, more than 3.5 billion people are online, and about two-thirds of those people are on social media sites.

Social media has adapted society in both positive and negative ways. The platforms have increased the speed and range of communications in the United States and the rest of the world.

Through social media, people have been able to communicate with people from different countries, which increases understanding and appreciation of travel and different cultures and lifestyles. Being connected to different parts of the world has also generated interest and donations to charities. Most of these organizations have social media platforms where they can engage, teach, and gain support from their audience.

Social media has also had a huge effect on business and professional networking. With social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Etsy, businesses can connect with employees, customers, and job candidates. People also find it easier to find job opportunities through social media.

Although there are some positive aspects of social media, there are more negative aspects. In a study by the Pew Research Center, 64% of Americans believe that social media has a negative effect on the way things happen in the United States today. In the study, most people believe that social media is creating a huge divide in the world when it comes to politics. Specifically, misinformation, online harassment and the amount of political advertising.

Social media also has a negative effect on communication skills and interpersonal relationships. Communication on social media platforms has become more fast-paced communication leading to abbreviated versions of words and phrases that have a negative effect on teen literacy skills. Additionally, 74% of millennials say they prefer online communication to face-to-face interactions. As social media changes the way we communicate, it tests our ability to make meaningful connections.

The increased use of social media is also leading to mental health issues. People often say things to other people online that they would never say in a face-to-face interaction. This leads to a cyberbullying problem, where 43% of teens report being bullied online, leading to anxiety, depression, and suicide.

Social media also portrays unrealistic body images that can be detrimental to young women and young men. Photo editing and people trying to post only the best version of themselves can lead to mental health issues. A 2018 study on social media and body image shows a correlation between social media use and eating disorders.

Social media also raises issues of inequality. Income, race and ethnicity are all factors in which access to social media decreases. With social media and internet access being an important factor in both business and education, people who do not have this access are at a disadvantage.

When it comes to students, social media can pose many different problems. Apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok where students often see friends and classmates partying, drinking, and using drugs can cause peer pressure issues. In these cases, many students have coined the term “FOMO”, which means “fear of missing out” when they see their peers participating in these activities. Students also feel that social media influences their academic well-being, as mental health, lack of sleep, and neglect of schoolwork can all influence social media use.

Social media harms us in ways we may not even realize. It is important for adults, children and students to learn how and when to get away from social media. Try to limit social media use to 30 minutes a day, as it can improve your mental health and well-being. If you’re feeling down, instead of scrolling endlessly on social media, it’s important to try activities outside or with friends, which can help improve mental health. Turn off social media notifications to avoid getting sucked in and start prioritizing yourself.

Katie Trott is a junior creative writing student at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Katie by emailing her at kt008918@ohio.edu.



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