There are many benefits and drawbacks to using social media. For many, online platforms represent an area where they can share their opinions and activities with their friends and family; for others, it represents a toxic fake society that results in the mental degradation of those who use it.
To begin, the inherent purpose of social media is not harmful. If used for its intended purpose, social media allows people to connect with others over distances and allows for potential relationships with people who are far away. Furthermore, it permits you to express your ideas and opinions along with your personal updates. In this sense, online platforms can be extremely proficient in connecting individuals and communities. Additionally, social media also empowers the rapid spread of news, which if received from trusted sources, could be immensely helpful. Additionally, the great variety of posts on social media exposes people to new niches and perspectives. Thus, if used wisely, social media is an incredible tool.
And yet, social media has been labeled as dangerous and harmful to the younger generations and society in general. Why? To begin with, fake news from untrustworthy sources can trigger hysteria and disagreements over what is fact vs. fiction. Additionally, as most people only post about their highlights, social media can distort users’ sense of reality and lead them to believe that their life is less fun or valuable than others’. Many studies have found that heavy social media usage increases the risk for mental ailments such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness. To add on, social media apps will continuously barrage their users’ feeds with posts they predict that the user will enjoy. This leads to problems such as addiction and procrastination. Such usage results in people spending countless hours on their devices rather than spending that time on something more meaningful. Thus, when used incorrectly, social media could become a harmful object in our lives.
To conclude, social media is a great tool when used correctly and when you understand the potential toxicity and falsities that plague it. Furthermore, by practicing moderation and understanding your susceptibility, you can dramatically reduce the addictive aspects of social media, further mitigating its risks and downsides. Tools such as the screen time app and (for iPhone users, Downtime) offer simple ways to monitor and limit the usage of certain apps or your phone in general. Thus, although it is a difficult line to walk, when used with moderation and savvy social media can be an amazing tool, however, when abused or used without restriction, it can distort public and personal reality.