The effects of social media

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The effects of social media

 A phone user is about to head on social media. New studies have people wondering if social media is still worth it.

A phone user is about to head on social media. New studies have people wondering if social media is still worth it.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

A phone user is about to head on social media. New studies have people wondering if social media is still worth it.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

Photo Courtesy of Flickr

A phone user is about to head on social media. New studies have people wondering if social media is still worth it.

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New social media has continuously debuted over the past decade fueling the minds of twenty-firstst century children and adults.  After Facebook debuted in 2004, YouTube came just over a year later, then Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitch over the next seven years. Once you get sucked into the world of social media and the highlights of other people’s lives, it can be hard to focus on reality, thus making some people feel inferior, judged or even unworthy.

For businesses, using social media can be a godsend. One click of a button and millions of people can see your product, company, or message. However, for teens, social media can have a much more negative effect. As teens we are spammed with posts of people living their best life, and rarely see others’ true and unadulterated selves.

Social media sites like Instagram can allow users to edit photos, and post photos that have been altered. For teenagers, this allows for photos that have been altered to make the person appear in a different way and creates a world where teenagers are constantly comparing themselves to images they see of social media influencers, celebrities or even their friends.

In an RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) study, four out of five applications that they studied had a net negative impact on the users.

Cyberbullying comes primarily from social media and experts worry that these applications can lead to heightened amounts of depression, anxiety, poor body image and loneliness in teens.

As we all know, sleep is essential, but is even more vital for teenagers. Social media is one of the leading reasons why teens stay up at night, and has been found to be very addicting. In addition, children who become addicted to social media miss out on vital communication skills that carry throughout adulthood.

In another RSPH study, the group points out how social media can affect teens and lead to anxiety, depression, lack of sleep, body image issues, cyberbullying and “FOMO”, the fear of missing out.

Some of the positives of social media are that it allows us to make and maintain new relationships as well as find people with similar interests. It encourages self-expression and allows for community building around similar experiences. In addition, social media is one of fastest ways to share information, hitting the most people as quickly as possible.

The question for each individual is whether the emotional stressors that users might face while on social media are enough to outweigh the positives of staying in the global loop.

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