Social media: a dangerous tool?

Feature story by Ga Yoon Lee

Is social media helping or hindering our communication?

Trying to snap the perfect picture and getting a few “likes” may add joy to make your day. Like this, many people enjoy sharing their ideas, experiences and perspectives online. One of the biggest advantages of social media is that it could let anyone share all kinds of information and let interact with people.

These days, nearly everyone uses social media. “In 2016, it is estimated that there will be around 2.13 billion social network users around the globe.”-Statista. It is true that social media could bring enjoyment to our lives by sharing ideas and stories with family and friends. It can be entertaining but affect negatively.

Several people don’t even want to look at the negatives because they perceive that they can’t live without it. In fact, anyone can be addicted to social media. “The internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway,” said Esther Dyson, a technology commentator. People waste more time on social media than they think. It forces us to spend time with interactions and advertisements.

Social comparison is a serious problem. Wasting hours and hours on social media has been shown to decrease self-esteem and cultivate undesirable feelings. Posts on social media mostly display idealized or exaggerated versions of diverse kinds of facts and information. Hence, this could influence users to compare themselves to others regularly. People who use social networking sites are apt to social isolation. It can exacerbate feelings of disconnect, and put users at high risk for depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders.

With hundreds of millions of users online, social media not only draw friends and family but also attract people who want to access your information in a wrong way. Social networking tools have confusing privacy settings, and most people are not quite sure who can see the content they are posting. Hackers love social networking; social media is a direct source to interject malicious code. The systems hackers’ use can steal your identity, inject viruses to your computer, and obstruct bank account information.

Social media can be the ideal equalizer since it gives a chance for anyone to say and share their opinions. Also, we can easily interact with people. However, the more time we spend on social media, and the more we think we’re connecting with each other, we are actually disconnecting.

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