Is social media the problem?

Is social media the problem?

Ignore limit for the rest of the day, you press. You set a time limit on your social media apps, but every time you’re out of time, you keep ignoring it. Your screen time averages 5 hours. You think you’re addicted to social media. You talk to people about your addiction, and they say social media is terrible, and you should delete all of your accounts. What they don’t tell you is that it’s all about how you’re using it. It’s not all negative. If you use social media in a good way and limit yourself then you’ll see all of the positive effects shine through. Through a 2018 Pew Research Center survey of 13-17 year olds, researchers found that 45 percent are almost always online and 97 percent use at least one social media app. There are so many different social media apps and websites with millions of users. Through social media, users can connect with others, earn random information, express themselves, grow platforms and get support. Social media can be a good thing and many teens can’t imagine their lives without it. 

But there are downsides that include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and jealousy. But how users are using their social media apps is what causes those things. Social media is a good thing overall, but people need to learn how to limit it and protect themselves.

According to a 2019 survey with 12-15 year olds in the U.S., researchers found that teens that  spend more than three hours a day using social media might be at risk for more mental health issues. Using social media too much and depending on it can have negative side effects, but using social media moderately can help people depend on it less. It’s so important to figure out a way to balance social media usage so users can get the best out of social media. Balancing social media can be difficult, but I’ve found that finding other fun and productive things to do can take your mind off social media.

Even though social media possibly could cause mental health problems, it can also help predict or diagnose people if they’re struggling. Researchers from Microsoft looked at people’s Twitter accounts for depressive language, emotion and engagement. Through the research, they found that through social media, it’s easier to predict depression seven out of ten times before it causes symptoms. There’s so much information on social media about mental health that people may not have access to otherwise. People who are struggling can have support, information and maybe even get the help they need through social media.

Some may say that people need to cut social media out of their life completely, but social media can be an amazing thing in moderation. Without social media, many people wouldn’t be able to connect with others as much. Lots of people have family members that live all over the world, and phone calls and text messages aren’t always the best way. Social media is an easy way for people to communicate and connect with people no matter the distance.

People have to keep in mind that it’s not just social media that’s making teens anxious, it’s a mix of a lot of other factors. Teens are constantly comparing themselves to others in many different ways, and social media is just one of them. But a lot of people are able to understand that social media isn’t everything and most of the time isn’t real, and aren’t as affected by social media. 

 But since teens get to see so many different types of people on social media, they learn about different things and by hearing about different people’s problems across the world, they’ll empathize with others more. Like many things, there are positive and negative effects and it’s all about how users choose to use social media.

If your social media is having a bad effect on you, taking short breaks is always good. Reading a book, watching a movie, going on walks, exercising, doing homework and hanging out with friends and family are all good things you can do instead of being on social media all the time. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others on social media, block or unfollow. You don’t have to see their content and if you stop looking at the things that make you jealous or insecure, you might feel better about yourself and stop worrying about others. Struggling with body image can be a hard thing with social media- but figuring out what triggers you and what you don’t want to see will help. Likes, comments and views can stress people out and cause jealousy and comparison but many social media apps like Instagram have made a feature where you can hide the number of likes, views and comments. Engage with the things you like. If some of the things you’re seeing aren’t what you want to see, you have the power to change that. Don’t like, comment, share or re watch the content you don’t like and your feed will change. Social media used to be a toxic thing for me, I got social media in elementary school, and seeing my friend’s posts would make me really jealous. But I figured out how to just forget about it and let it go. If something on social media is really bothering me, I take breaks and talk to people about it. Find a way to make social media a positive thing in your life, and don’t purposely try to make it a bad thing for someone else.  Even if you delete all of your social media apps and websites, it’ll still have an impact on you, so it’s better to just learn how to manage it. You can choose if you want social media to be a good thing or a bad thing in your life.