Social Media is a huge part of our everyday lives. There is no doubt that it has enhanced and heavily influenced recent generations. However, the real question is: has it helped us, or harmed us?
Social Media sites have a large impact on us. Many people post pictures of themselves or others on their personal social media sites. On most social media outlets, said pictures can be commented on. This feature can be seen as both good and bad. People can comment on social media non-positive things on these pictures, with the intent to hurt or bully the user this is called cyberbullying. According to a recent study performed by the CDC, 15% of high school students have experienced cyberbullying in the 12 months prior to the survey. On the other hand, people could also comment good things that could help the poster to feel loved or accepted.
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Social Media has been a major outlet for people to express themselves. Many people have come out as LGBTQ+ on platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, and many more. Bella Kistner, an author for the Odyssey, states that, “These individuals confide in their social media, and from what most can see, there is a tremendous amount of love and support shown towards those individuals who share their story.” Our community depends heavily on these sites to interact with others in addition to sharing their stories and experiences.
People spend most of their day surrounded by artificial light. Research done by BBC has found that this lack of natural light hinders the body's production of the hormone melanin, which enables sleep. Smartphone and laptop screens emit something called blue light, which is said to be a major contributor in lack of sleep. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh performed a survey with 1,700 18 to 30-year-olds about their social media and sleeping habits. The results of this survey displayed an association between blue light and sleep disturbances. However, researchers say that this could be caused by physiological arousal before sleep, and the bright lights of our devices can delay day-to-day routines.
When a natural disaster strikes, you can be assured that it will be on all major social media sites. This can help spread awareness about the situation and allows individuals to raise funds to help those impacted. According to Vijdan Saleem, in an article for DownToEarth, In 2015, when Nepal experienced its worst earthquake in more than 80 years which killed more than 4,800 people. Facebook activated its special feature—Safety Check—which helped individuals locate their friends and families.
There is no doubt that social media itself is controversial. Social media has plenty of valuable purposes. There are many examples of situations where social media has greatly helped the situation at hand, nonetheless, social media can be a major contributor to numerous issues in daily life. Now it’s up to you to decide whether or not social media is safe.