We all know that feeling of constantly having the need to check our phones every five seconds hoping we received a new notification. We live in a society where we compare ourselves to unrealistic ideals and rely on memes for instant gratification. In our modern technological world, a new slang is created almost every day to justify what we are saying as there just are insufficient words in a dictionary. We can now shop, talk, and work all from the comfort of our bed. Oh, isn’t technology simply amazing?! Social media is an ever-changing mean of communication. When we think about social media, the first thing that pops into our head are likes, hashtags, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Social media has evolved into something much greater than that “About 168 million people in the United States own a smartphone in 2014 and spend over 30 hours each month using an average of 27 applications” (comScore.com, 2014; Nielsen.com, 2014b) (Lee, 45). That’s a lot of time spent scrolling through your phone,
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contemplating at how others live, and if that isn’t troublesome than I don’t know what is. Like every good thing has a bad side, Social media too, has a dark side; it is responsible for the dumbing down of our society and the reason we’re becoming addicted.
Social media has facilitated how we communicate with loved ones all across the globe and has provided information needed with a touch of a button. “Mayo Clinic Center announced that they’ve created the formation of the Social Media Health Network, a group dedicated to using social media to promote health, improve health care and fight disease” (Mayo Clinic). This idea is supposed to be beneficial to both the clinic and those using their network. Although this might seem like it’s filled with good intentions, it seems as though there using one’s obsession of being glued to the phone, to supply an indolent way to diagnose what’s wrong with us. Ironic, isn’t it. Wouldn’t you much rather get treated by a doctor, who’s gone through college and has the experience, rather than searching your symptoms on the web, without a thorough analysis? That must not be a problem to those checking their symptoms from bed, not knowing that they might be suffering from Nomophobia, a problem in which people experience
anxiety from not being on their phones. But who knows maybe they can check on the Mayo Clinic website to see what’s going on with them, maybe it’s only a simple cold? Doctors similar to those at Mayo Clinic, aren’t seeing what’s best for the people, only what’s best for them. And just like them, there are folks who believe “there are hints of moral panic in the notion of a mental health epidemic in young people, and the supposed harmfulness of the internet. Reactions to transformative new technology are understandable but often exaggerated (McCrae). Many believe that the exaggeration that social media isn’t safe is because many don’t fully grasp what social media is, but many are just in denial on what social media actually isn’t. The same author of this article then realizes that there are negative phycological effects due to the use of social media. More in the ways that although it’s not mainly social media and the apps themselves that do harm, but more as in the content and how weak-minded people and those with addictive personalities are more likely to fall into the rabbit hole of what social media is.
According to Rosen’s article in America Now, “Scientist have documented that we experience dopamine rush when we receive a new email in our inbox. Dopamine is a chemical found in the brain, linked to a human sensation of pleasure (93). Eating your favorite meal, watching your favorite movie, or receiving multiple likes in your most recent photo, all release that ‘feel-good feeling”. The downside is that although it’s a great feeling, similar to a drug, the body will start asking for more, causing addiction. It hurts those who can’t differentiate reality from the fantasy that social media is. Society, into their phones so much find themselves scrolling through their social media while in the middle of something important. Have you found yourself doing that today? Well there are 7.7 billion people living in this earth, imagine how many of those people are scrolling through their phone at this instant. 57% of the world population is now connected through the internet and the average user spends
about 6 hours online daily, according to research by Hootsuite media. That’s time wasted, you can be doing more productive things with that time like reading a book, learning a new hobby, or finding ways to make more money. And if that still doesn’t seem like a big deal, then just think about all those people who can’t let go of their phones who now have eye sight problems. Studies have shown that the blue light that your screen transmits causes eye damage. No matter how beneficial people say technology is, some things aren’t meant to be overused and there should be a limit on how much time we spend on the internet.
It is safe to say that social media is affecting us in a way that no one thought it would by giving us unrealistic standards. Everyone is still fairly excited and curious, more now than ever because of the benefits that come along with having a big following. From just having ten-thousand followers and a good social media page you’re capable of working with brands to collaborate together and promote their products, in exchange for free merchandise. On the other hand, if you have even more followers than that, it is possible for you to get paid from posting a photo and get invited to exclusive events. Someone mentioned the other day that our Instagram influencers are our modern-day Gods; They have the followers and believers who trust everything they say. Instagram is one of those platforms that are filled with beautiful people living the perfect life, but what people forget is that there’s this magical website called photoshop, and oh does that thing do wonders. Many don’t realize that it’s one thing to flex (show off) on Instagram and the other to actually live up to that lifestyle. I have friends who are influencers with thousands of followers, who started out just wanting to show people a little about themselves. Now that it has become a job and their followers are demanding new content, they sort of lost themselves and forget why they started in the first place. When society see’s that people get a lot of love by acting and looking a certain way, it triggers people to follow
into those footsteps. Hurting themselves for having a mindset that likes and followers are what define them. All things considered, Social media is meant to bring people together but more people should learn to be themselves and not give into what the people want because at the end of the day, it’s your life and you need to choose to live it as stress free and blissful as possible.
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Social media has come a long way, who would of thought in a world technology a couple years ago, that this is where we’d be now? You might not look at it this way, but it is affecting the way we critically think and interfering with kids’ education. Kids are taught to use phones at such a young age, that a way to keep kids from crying is to give them a tablet with cartoons playing. Kids in school are more likely to cheat by quickly and discreetly navigating the web to find the answers to an exam. No deep thinking is required when researching a topic because there are already many articles talking about the topic being searched. Technology is just making our lives so much easier that we don’t even have to think as long as we know how to type and read, we can quickly find answers to our problems. That might not be a beneficial thing to our health, as our brains like to soak in new knowledge to help ourselves grow. It seems that as the days go by, we keep getting sucked into our phones that maybe at one point they really are going to be the literal definition of smart phones and take over us.
Nonetheless, it is safe to say that although there are many contradictions as to what’s best for us, at the end of the day social media is an amazing tool in our lives. If it weren’t for social media, we wouldn’t know what was going on around the world or communicate with loved ones across the globe. But it is also undeniable that social media is ruining many people’s lives. Things have to be done in moderation because too much of something good can only cause harm. Scientific evidence proves the harm behind the use of social media and unless you want to make it an addiction or rely on it for knowledge, then I’d suggest limiting your time on your phone. Doing something productive that’ll stimulate growth like learning a new hobby is a way to start.
- “What Social Media?” How the World Changed Social Media, by Daniel Miller et al., 1st ed., vol. 1, UCL Press, London, 2016, pp. 1–8. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1g69z35.8.
- Thompson, Robin. “Radicalization and the Use of Social Media.” Journal of Strategic Security, vol. 4, no. 4, 2011, pp. 167–190. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26463917. (Political terrosism whats social media rabbit hole)
- “Conclusion: Why Do They Love Social Media?” Social Media in Emergent Brazil: How the Internet Affects Social Mobility, by Juliano Spyer, vol. 10, UCL Press, London, 2017, pp. 185–198. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1wc7rdn.12. ( low income families brazil)
- “Travel, the New Currency of Brand Making and Influencer Marketing.” PR Newswire, Jun 12 2017, ProQuest. Web. 27 Apr. 2019 . (INFLUENCERS)
- Lee, E. Bun. “Too Much Information: Heavy Smartphone and Facebook Utilization by African American Young Adults.” Journal of Black Studies, vol. 46, no. 1, 2015, pp. 44–61., www.jstor.org/stable/24572928.
- Kaul, Vineet. “The Changing World of Media & Communication.” OMICS International, OMICS International, 22 Apr. 2012, www.omicsonline.org/open-access/the-changing-world-of-media-and-communication-2165-7912.1000116.php?aid=6473. (no but save incase)
- “Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Launches Global Social Media Health Network.” Business Wire, Sep 28 2010, ProQuest. Web. 28 Apr. 2019 . (nayo clinic)
- McCrae, Niall. “Social Media Is Not to Blame for Depression in Young People.” The Conversation, 24 Sept. 2018, theconversation.com/social-media-is-not-to-blame-for-depression-in-young-people-73635.
- Hootsuite Media Inc. “Digital in 2019 – Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard.” Hootsuite, 2019, hootsuite.com/pages/digital-in-2019.
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