Social Media Social media is only used for entertainment and connecting with others, or at least that's what kids make their parents believe. Social media may not always be filled with good and happy things, and may not always be used for connecting with other people. Many parents don't realize that social media can do more than amuse their kids, and don't usually check their kid's social media sites. Once the parents take a look at what they're exposed to, they might rethink their decision of allowing their kids to access these apps. There are times when social media is a big factor in things like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even suicide. When these things occur, many people don't think it's related to social media, or that social media couldn't have caused these things. Even if the problem started outside of social media, it can lead to others being hurt because of the influence it has. Dangers Of Social Media There are many dangers on social media, like fake ads, losing private information, and scams. Social media allows users to hide behind a screen, and do whatever they want, like make fake accounts. Those fake accounts can be used to scam or find personal information about someone by saying things like, "send me your address for this free phone" or "send us $15 for a new iPhone 11+". These ads are most likely fake, and if social media users don't know this, they may lose very important private or confidential information like; addresses, credit card numbers, phone numbers, etc. Cyberbullying is also very common on social media and has a large impact. It can cause certain individuals to lose their self-esteem and have negative thoughts. Most of the time, people prefer to say things online, rather than in person. Cyberbullying doesn't always mean texting something mean to someone, it could also mean commenting rude things on someone's post like "what's wrong with your hair" or "I don't' think that bathing suit looks good on you". When people point out those hurtful things, it makes the targeted individual begin to lose their confidence. Other common ways of cyberbullying include picture/video shaming, harassing someone through text/messages, and spreading rumours online. All of these methods can be done by anyone with an account, and it will cause the targeted individual to feel worthless, and not appreciate the way they are. Benefits Of Social Media Although social media can cause a lot of harm, it also has its benefits. The benefits of social media include connecting with others no matter where they are, entertainment, branding, staying updated, following trends, feeling involved, and meeting new people. People can stay updated with topics and people across the world, without having to go through things like writing a letter and sending it in the mail, being unable to talk to people that live far away, and being able to talk/contact someone instantly. Many people choose to use social media because of how easy it is to access with a smartphone. All it takes is for someone to make an account for it, and after that, it can be used wherever they go.
The Harm Of Social Media Social media can greatly affect someone's mental and physical health. It is one of the biggest causes of lowering a persons' self-esteem, due to the world's competitive society. Many individuals compare themselves to the pictures they see online, thinking that they are not good enough for the world. They can also get cyberbullied, attacked in some way, receive mean texts, or even someone posting something that wasn't specifically targeted at anyone. Social media is filled with horrible content saying racist things, things that were never meant to be hurtful, and much more. This causes mental health problems that could potentially have a serious effect on someone's life and could even scar them for a long period of time. Social interactions decrease due to social media. When someone's eyes are glued to their screens, they become unaware of the people and environment around them, and most teens spend more time on their devices than talking to the people around them. This can also reduce physical exercise and cause the person to not get the movement they need to stay in optimal condition. It also decreases the amount of sleep some people get. Many people use their phones before they go to bed, and once they're on their devices, it's hard for them to look away, preventing them from falling asleep. Those who spend more time on social media than their peers have 2.2 times the risk of having body image concerns, and those who spend almost all their time on social media have 2.6 times the risk. The more time people spend on social media, the more likely they are to have problems sleeping and having symptoms of depression. Another big issue is feeling the need for likes and follows. The need to gain "likes" on social media can cause a person to change the way they look, act, and engage in activities so they look cool, such as vaping. Where Social Media Can Be Accessed The main types of social media include SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, and much more. People can easily access social media off their digital devices. All it takes is for them to download the app and sign up for it. The benefit of a smartphone is taking it wherever you go, and many times people update their social media status with whatever they're doing, so wherever they go, social media follows. Preventing The Influence Of Social Media The things being done to prevent some youth from using social media is the age restriction. Many of the social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old. This prevents younger kids from being exposed to inappropriate and hurtful content, messages and people. Some ways of taking a break from social media once and a while could be setting a screen time limit, setting reminders, turning off your phone, putting it on silent, and even removing the app/deleting it. However, the idea of social media can't be stopped because around 2019, there were 7.7 billion people in the world, and of those people, 3.397 billion were active social media users. In addition, there are almost one million new users to some form of social media each day.