The Social Media Dark Side
Does social have any problems? Absolutely; and it can end up leaving its users stuck with problems too! When used the right way social media is a lovely place to log onto however one huge negative effect is its pull factor- it sucks people in from their everyday lives until social media starts to become their reality.
People are addicted to social media and it’s effecting their day to day lives. People are starting to become socially awkward because they spend so much of their time online they have forgotten how to speak to people face to face. Not only are people socially addicted but psychological. Some people suffer from Social Media Anxiety Disorder which makes people fidgety; people are always checking their phones and devices because they think they heard it vibrate or saw it light up when in fact it did not. People have become so on edge because nobody wants to lose one second of what’s going on.
The first thing some people do in the morning before they even brush their teeth is to check their social media. Everything is good to have in doses however people are not regulating themselves on how much they are involving themselves with social media which is another problem. When a new app comes out people flock to it; I know when Yik Yak first came out I became obsessed with it and used it all the time. New social media is like a new shiny toy and people can’t wait to try it out.
Loss of Identity
People use social media so much that they lose sight of who they really are. The problem with social media is that it’s social and people all want to fit in socially so people follow trends on social media even if they don’t believe in it because they want to fit in with everybody else. There are all these goals on social media such as relationship goals, best friend goals, life goals the list goes on and on. Although seeing pictures of these goals may seem harmless the fact that everybody is retweeting and reposting them is a problem because it’s showing that as a collective social media community we all want exactly the same things. Some of these goals we’re reposting may not even be what we truly want and yet we say it is to fit in with the crowd losing a little more of our individuality.
Logging on to social media can make people feel bad about their lives because they want to live up to the standards placed on them by various posts and pictures (such as the goals). Konnikova states, “No one joins Facebook to be sad and lonely. But a new study from the University of Michigan psychologist Ethan Kross argues that that’s exactly how it makes us feel.” Why is social media making us feel bad? People would have a fear of missing out and would feel like their peers were having more fun then they are. Facebook did a study and found out that “people who saw more positive posts responded by writing more positive posts. Similarly, seeing more negative content prompted the viewers to be more negative in their own posts” (Goel). This further proves that depending on what your followers and friends post it can have an effective on you (bad or good).
People are also cyber bullied. Although social media has options to report people who cyber bully others it still has a negative effect on the bullied. Social media is not going to be a fun place to log into if you’re constantly being made fun of.
Social media like the media has many beauty standards that the majority of people using social media can’t live up to. People want to start modifying their own features just to be what society deems as beautiful; tanning, changing hair color, getting colored contacts. I know every girl is striving to get the Kylie Jenner lips now (which I don’t understand; I’m not pursuing them because I already have big lips lol) so much so that on social media I saw companies and people advertising products that make your lips bigger which doesn’t look very safe to me but it’s become a business. People are also trying to get that beach body and so the new phenomenon of waist trainers have come about social media. It seems like all the girls want them to help them rich their goal weight. But really only a good diet and exercise is going to help with that but social media users become brainwashed and believe what anybody puts up on there.
Sex, Drugs, and Violence
Social media is also the gateway for a lot of young people finding out what types of drugs there are, different types of sexual positions, and how violent people can be. Fights are always retweeted or reposted; there are even pages that seem dedicated to just that (World Star). This might make people want to be more violent or expose people to more violent tendencies. Sex is discussed over social media as no big deal which is really weird. People post sexual pictures and talk about their sex lives like it’s nothing; for a person who’s never had sex before social media can be the gate to open them up to the wonders of sex. This can be a bad thing because people of all ages are on social media and you don’t want a ten year old exposed to that. Drugs is another thing that is shared across social media. Social media users may start thinking doing drugs is cool because of whatever post they saw of people enjoying themselves doing drugs. Plenty of people on social media actually post pictures of them smoking weed and of their weed which would be okay if weed was legal everywhere but it’s not so it may just give the cops a reason to go looking for them.
Don’t let social media lock you up in a prison (Fun Fact: There is such a thing as Twitter jail. You get put in Twitter jail by reaching the limit of tweeting 100 tweets per hour). If you feel insecure, bullied, or obsessed as a result of your use of social media take control of your life and leave Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram behind! It’s important to remember that social media is only a virtual reality- don’t let it take over your actual life. If you’re locked up just let yourself out!
Konnikova, Maria. How Facebook Makes Us Happy. TheNewYorker.com. September 10, 2013.
Goel, Vindu. Facebook Tinkers With Users’ Emotions in News Feed Experiment, Stirring Outcry. NewYorkTimes.com. June 29, 2014.