Social Media plays a significant part in people’s daily lives today. It’s an excellent tool for marketing or fundraising, staying connected with people far away, online learning, content discovery, and a platform for social awareness, providing access to an audience of millions. Despite how amazing it sounds, social media is not wholly beneficial.
An article from lifespan.org uses data from 2019 to explain that the average teen ( aged 13 to 18 years old ) spent around 9 hours a day on social media platforms, while the average tween ( aged 8-12 ) spent 6 hours A cause of this constant need to be on social media creates FOMO: Fear OF Missing Out. People continuously check social media sites, not wanting to miss out on anything while offline. Social media is also used instead of in-person communication, increasing the time spent on social media. Spending more time on social media is where the problem begins. This extra time on social media leads to social anxiety, depression, and access and exposure to content that may not be age-appropriate.
Not spending enough time with other people can cause social anxiety. It can make a person feel uncomfortable spending time with others ( after becoming unaccustomed to talking to others in person ). Social media gives people tools that let them post their photos to a large audience. The positive/negative feedback causes people to associate their worth with their looks. When a person feels that they don’t look as good as others, in some cases, it leads to depression. While social media doesn’t explicitly cause these feelings, social media is a medium for them and doesn’t try to stop these self-image issues, either. Censorship is also a big problem in social media. While this varies from platform to platform, nudity is usually not enough to get content censored. While this non-censorship of nudity for nudity alone is per federal law in the United States, it can be dangerous for many children. Even children without any of the platforms notorious for having 18+ content; children are still not safe from 18+ content. However hard Youtube may try to censor or make content age-restricted, some will always be available.
One of social media's most common and well-known problems is cyberbullying, bullying done with or via technology or any kind of electronic communication. Bullying is any expression, act, or gesture that mentally or physically inflicts any damage or abuse. 25 percent of all teens are bullied, and 43 percent have been bullied online, according to StopBullying.com. Most teens who are being bullied do not tell their parents about their situation. Even worse, intervention in cyberbullying is even rarer.
All of the negative effects of social media do stack up and have devastating effects. Suicide is the leading cause of death for children under 14. The American Association of Suicidology states that suicide rates of children from 10 to 14 years of age have risen by 50 percent in the last 3 decades.
The best way to take care of yourself with social media is to not spend too much time on it. Try to keep your phone in a different room than the place you sleep. The best thing to help with social anxiety is to try to have more conversations face to face with others. And always know privacy concerns and cybersecurity issues. Be sure to change your passwords every 2 to 3 months. Keep strong and unique passwords. And only share them with people you trust. These guidelines can change your life on social media, bringing online safety and self-confidence with them.