Social media can be damaging

By Jeff Smith

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Facebook and other tech companies have really become increasingly unpopular in recent months. Democrats don’t like Facebook because of the role it played in the 2016 election. Republicans don’t like it anymore because of the alleged censorship of conservative voices. 

Facebook has seen lukewarm user numbers after months of scandals. Fake Russian profiles have purchased propaganda ads on Facebook and they have said that they are reluctant to censor posts that are both untrue and offensive. A “Delete Facebook” campaign took place after concerns over privacy arose. 

I think the more serious issue is that people are feeling more isolated than ever before because of social media. Even when I talk to my friends on Facebook, they are there but they aren’t really there. It takes away from other friendships I could make or I could spend time doing other activities when I’m aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. 

The more time we spend on these social media platforms, the more likely we are to feel isolated, alone and cut off from society, research has discovered.

I don’t think I spend that much time on Facebook but maybe I just tell myself that. According to the University of Pittsburgh the magic number is less than two hours day. Beyond that we are doubling our chances of experiencing social isolation.

I realize that the majority of my audience that reads the paper doesn’t spend that much time online. But my goal is to get people to realize how much harder life is for young people. They not only get judged at school but they are also judged online for posts and photos on Instagram and Snapchat. 

We need to change how we use social media. Social media is used to harass people, unfortunately. It’s an issue that’s not going away. One way to bring awareness to it is to talk about it or bring in people to schools to talk about it. 

I think there has been an effort to decrease cyberbullying everywhere but it’s still an issue. A lot of schools have great cultures with sports and different activities that happen. But I think it’s important for schools to be inclusive to everybody and find ways to make those who are not as involved in the school to feel included.

As I know, sometimes the worst form of bullying is to be ignored.

Society is playing a large part in raising children’s lives now. What people post and say online does have an effect of how children act at school and with their friends. 

I’m not saying to decrease children’s time online but we have to be role models for those younger than us. Don’t post nasty comments online or taunt people online. 

It makes it tough for children to be nice to each other in real life when they can’t have a good conversation online. 

The issue is that anonymity plays a big part of the online world. People think that whatever they say is not going to get traced back to them. 

I know in the heat of the moment it can be tough to just let things go. I think some people think it is fun to make fun of things online are get involved in a relationship that only takes place online. Being able to go online and not be vile is a sign of maturity. 

In talking about his film “Eighth Grade,” director Bo Burnham said the danger is that we’re treating the real world like it’s the internet. The line has been blurred and private experiences are being recorded at an alarming rate. 

People want their online life to be seen as put together and it’s almost like the life online is seen as more important than our real lives. Burnham says that the Internet turns life into a performance and “Eighth Grade” is a movie about the struggle of who we are and how we want to be perceived.

An issue, primarily affecting women, is Snapchat dysmorphia. This is described as the growing phenomenon to want to have plastic surgery done so people look like they do through filters on Snapchat or Instagram. Plastic surgeon Matthew Schulman says that people that are using these filters want to make their skin look smoother or make their nose look a little smaller or make their eyes look wider. It’s not as foolish as it sounds but it is kind of sad because people should learn to love who they are. It’s bad enough that we compare ourselves to others, but now we comparing ourselves to unrealistic versions of ourselves that are only seen through filters. 

Trying to be like the perfect versions of ourselves in photos will harm us. I think it’s OK to take pride in perfect selfies, but they should stay on our devices and not be taken to plastic surgeons so they can be replicated in real life. 

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