Limit use to benefit from social media | Select
As of 2019, there are over 247 million social media users in America alone, which is about 80% of the population according to Statistica. This number is even higher in young people. Due to this astounding number of active social media participants, there are bound to be some effects on frequent users. Personally, I believe that social media is neither inherently good nor bad. It can produce both positive and negative consequences on users.
The key to reaping the benefits of social media without suffering drawbacks is to limit the amount of time spent on these apps. A Pew Research Center study states that teenagers spent an average of nine hours a day online. This number is excessive. There are many negative consequences to staring at a screen for this amount of time. Constant social media use hurts the self-confidence and body image of teenagers, especially in girls. Pictures posted online are unrealistic ideals, as many photos are retouched or photoshopped. Teenagers today struggle and inevitably fail to attain these expectations.
Also, most people only post the fun or exciting moments of their lives. This leads to the fear of missing out, or FOMO. Continuously scrolling through all the fun experiences of others can make students feel left out or unsatisfied with their own lives. Adolescents fail to live in the moment when they are ceaselessly checking their phones.
Social media has been known to increase depression and anxiety in youth, and this issue cannot be taken lightly. Spending more than two hours a day on social media has been known to hurt mental health. Also, this is compounded by the strain social media can put on students’ sleep patterns. Many teenagers will stay up checking social media and neglect getting a full night’s rest.
However, social media can have many positive effects as well. It is great for staying in touch with long-distance friends. Through social media, teenagers can begin to build their social network, which can be instrumental in the professional environment. Social media can also feature a wide variety of useful information, such as recipes, fitness advice and DIY projects. Social media is a powerful vehicle of self expression for youth, which is vital as they try to navigate the difficulties of finding themselves.
While there are many pros and cons to social media use, the bottom line is to limit screen time. By accomplishing this, youth will be able to enjoy the many benefits of social media without suffering from the detriments of popular platforms.