Helpful and Harmful Impact of Social Media on Society

Social media has made many impacts on society. Social media is something most kids, teens, and even adults are using all the time. Having people use their social media all day long is not beneficial and can be damaging. Instead of talking to someone face to face or hanging out, most people prefer to communicate through social networks. Studies have shown that social media use has a direct correlation to negative mental health. Using social media has some adverse effects such as: it can negatively affect mental health, cause cyberbullying, can create a skewed self-image, can spread unreliable and false information, lead to addiction, facilitates sexting, and it’s a big distraction. Although social media can be a very helpful tool to spread information, it can be dangerous.

Many people are negatively impacted by what they see online. It can cause them to isolate themselves from their families or friends. Social media can put someone at high risk for depression, personality, and brain disorders. A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that social media use was ‘significantly associated with increased depression’ amongst adults aged between 19 and 32 (Lin 243).

Social media can cause an increase in narcissistic personality traits, inability to hold attention, and hyperactivity due to constant phone notifications and interruptions. Children are also negatively influence. Research shows that “41% of children who spend over three hours on social media on a normal school day reportedly suffer from mental health difficulties compared with 21% who spend no time on the sites” (Ofns 245). Their immersion in a virtual world delays their emotional and social development.

Anxiety and mood swings are common symptoms as it constantly causes teenagers to compare themselves to other people, even though they may know that their representation is idealized. While some teenagers get affected by the pressure of having to react to the post of theirs friends or respond to messages, and some fear not being in the social loop. It is called FOMO (fear of missing out) which can lead to depression and anxiety while being a major contributor to teenagers’ heavy use of social media. Making teens obsessively checking their media feeds for updates by friends as they don’t want to miss out on the gossip, parties, and jokes. It can cause teenagers to have sleeping problems as well.

Cyberbullying is one of the negative influences that present itself in social media especially for teenagers. It gives a platform for cyberbullies to bully and tease others. It is easier to bully others through social media. Cyberbullying can make you feel exposed and humiliated. Research says “52% of students have reported being the victim of cyberbullying with 84.2% naming Facebook as the site through which they have been bullied, followed by Instagram (23.4%), Twitter (21.4%), and Snapchat (13.5%)” (Brain 259).

When cyberbullying occurs, the negative posts and messages or texts can be shared with a large number of people. The amount of people that will know about the bullying can lead to intense feelings or humiliation. It can sometimes cause teens to be excluded and ostracized at school. When kids don’t have friends, this can lead them to get bullied more. When this occurs, most people isolate themselves from using their phones and computers. Young children who are victims of cyberbullying are most likely to attempt suicide. Adults can also be victims of cyberbullying, with social or workplace aggression being displayed on social media.

Social media can create a skewed self-image. A lot of teenagers use famous people as role models, when their life isn’t always similar to what they have posted online. Many “flex” or show an artificial lifestyle but in reality their life’s not like how its portrayed online. A lot of younger woman are influenced by an artificial image that use Photoshop and heavy editing. A very popular instagramer that uses editing is Kim Kardashian. She uploads pictures of herself that are edit to make her face and body look perfect. “the Kardashian family is not immune to the occasional Photoshop fiasco.

Kim just got caught ‘shopping one of her KKW Beauty promo photos, and the difference is actually kind of crazy” (Baty 1). When younger woman see those types of pictures they are more likely to gain insecurities about themselves. Social media allows people to flaunt wealth that they don’t even have. Many people post pictures about themselves with expensive cars or jewelry trying show off lavish lifestyles that some are real or fake. Some like to imitate that they have a lavish lifestyle, trying to copy a famous influencer. For example, The Kardashians family, many fans imitate their pictures trying to look like them and showing off fake material.

Social media enables the spread of unreliable and false information. Social media has the ability to spread misinformation faster than ever before. According to “the University of Michigan study found that even when false information is corrected, the number of people who see or share the correction via social media is lower than number who saw or shared the false information in the first place” (Gray 272). Fake news always spreads either false or biased facts to sway the public’s opinion a certain way.

Rumors start spreading around, and can harm the people that are being attacked. Social media has a way of making teens disclose a lot of information that they wouldn’t disclose face to face. By giving out too much information out about another person. Like where they live, the places they hang out, where they go to school, and personal details. Social media posts can not be deleted and information can have unintended consequences.

The disadvantages of spending time on social media, it can affect the face to face communication and social skills of teenagers and adults. Research say that “instead of talking with family and friends. 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex (Barb 100). Many users still text or check their social media while having sexual activity. Teenagers even adults use their phone while eating as well.

According to the statistics “32% reported using social media or texting during meals 47% of 18-34 year olds” (Pan 99). Social media is a huge distraction for students, it keeps them away from interacting with others because they always on their phone. This can cause them to start neglect their schoolwork, extra curricular activities, and even their friends and family so that they can navigate on things that are not related to schoolwork. Students who are heavy social media users tends to have lower grades. Research say “Students who used social media while studying scored 20% lower on tests” (Kirshner 84). It can also bring down their GPA.

Social media can entice people to waste time, and can be a huge distraction to people who manage time poorly. According to a survey of internet users aged 16 to 64 found that “ the average daily time spent on social media is 1.72 hours, which accounts for 28% of total time spent online” (Mander 239). When get a new social media alert such as a post or a message it take the user a while to return to the original task that they were doing. It might take some users hours to fully return to their original task and some might not even.

Social media can facilitates sexting which can to lead to revenge porn, criminal charges can occur and a proliferation of personal images. Statistics say that “almost 40% of teens report ‘sexting’ – posting or sending sexually suggestive messages – with 22% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys posting nude or semi-nude photos” (DoS 261). Many teens and adults are being charged with possessing and distributing child pornography and adults are being charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, even if the user took and distributed a photo of themselves.

Sending sexually explicit messages, images, or without a person’s consent that can be counted as sexual harassment. Many users use social media to take revenge on someone that they had previous problems with or are still. They attend to post messages or pictures of them that they know will harm the victim. There are smartphone apps that convince users of security and privacy when using their app for sexting. Programs like Snapchat allow users to send temporary self destructive photographs to other users, which seemingly disappear forever after being viewed for a few seconds. The problem with thinking that sexting through Snapchat is ok, but is really not ok.

Why, because many can use other device to capture the messages or photos and save them. These images could end up being shared right away or they may end up being used for blackmail and end up being shared later on when the victim does not succumb to demands. Research say that “88% of private self-produced sexual images posted to social media are stolen by pornography websites and disseminated to the public, often without the subject’s knowledge” (Weitsenkorn 114). Sexting can come back to haunt teenagers or anyone later in life.

A brief lapse in judgement could easily end up being shared with limitless viewers. It is a difficult task and an a long process to get photographs removed from a single website or app. The process is more involved once there are several sites. There are also countless other sites which have not been created yet which could end up with the image later on. These could end up being viewed by co-workers, friends or family. The worst part is not knowing who all has seen the photographs, it could be anyone that have seen them already. It becomes a total invasion of privacy.

Social media can be very harmful if it use improperly but it can be helpful tool to spread information around the world. But if you think about it, if bad information is being spread around it can harm others and cause serious problems. These are the reasons why I strongly think that social media can negatively affect someone’s life. The longevity of social media is not enough to see the long term negative effects. I believe in the long run that social media will be detrimental to our society as a whole. More research and attention should be focused on social media and the negative effects that it causes.