The Negative Side of Social Media: How to Prevent It From Affecting You
Updated: Sep 21
Social media is used by many all over the world as a way to connect with friends and family, post pictures and videos, get news updates, and overall share our lives. We all know what it's like to hop on Instagram for five minutes and before you know it, hours have passed. Now more than ever, social media is a positive tool for businesses and individuals who want to make a career online, but just like anything else, there is a downside. With the increasing usage of social media throughout the last decade, research has shown the many negatives that can come out of heavy usage of these social platforms. Now that we are in quarantine due to COVID-19, we’ve all been on our phones a bit more than usual and many people don’t realize the negatives that can come out of it. Let's dive into the dark side of social media and what we can all do about it.
Not So Deleted
Social media posts can never be entirely deleted. There's honestly no point in trying to delete something because once you post, there will always be a way to find it. Why is that? Because anyone can hack your data. Whatever you THOUGHT you deleted from your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, is never really gone. Even apps like Snapchat, where pictures disappear after a certain amount of time, anyone can take a screenshot or even use a software to reload the photo. Bottom line is, whatever you post will always exist even beyond deletion.
“F” for Facebook or Fail?
For all of our students out there, this one's for you. There is a direct link between failing grades and heavy social media use. That can’t be much of a shock since it's common for students to get easily distracted by social media instead of focusing in class, doing their homework, or studying for a test. “Children who regularly use online social networks, such as Facebook, tend to obtain lower scores in math, reading, and science than students who never or hardly ever use these sites,” the study found conducted by Albert Posso, an associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Hate to break it to you, but school comes first, not social media!
Get a Grip on Time
Like we mentioned earlier, it's easy to get lost on your phone and end up on social platforms for hours. Time will slip away and before you know it, you've been on Twitter for four hours. Social media is meant to be used whenever you need to pass time, not to waste your day away. Remember, every hour you spend on social media is an hour you will never get back.
Invasion of Privacy
Have you ever noticed that when you search for something on the internet one day, you see ads for it on your socials the next day? That’s because companies have access to your data and can post advertisement pops up on your timeline - kind of scary if you ask us. Director of internet and technology research at Pew Research Center, Lee Raine, and former research associate, Maeve Duggan, did a study about companies using data through social media. “Today a wide range of online services offer their product free of charge in return for tracking users’ activities in order to profile them for the purposes of serving them advertisements. This bargain anchors a wide range of commercial services on the web, from social media platforms to search engines to web-based email clients,” according to them. These advertising practices are definitely an invasion of privacy and it's not okay.
What is probably the most prevalent downside of social media also happens to be the most devastating. The use of social media has led to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and even suicide. A big factor in this issue is the comparison to others. Many of us have compared our own lives to what we see on social media, which can immediately cause a depressive state. Cyberbullying is also prevalent in social media, which often coincides with hate speech. Whether it’s racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., it’s all over the place on social platforms. Social media should never be used to harm others or to compare lives.
What Can Be Done?
With all this being said, what can we do to lessen the negative effects social media has on society? Well for one, we can take a break. We should all limit our exposure to the world of social media every now and then! Social media is meant to be enjoyed, not taken so seriously. We need to take what we see with a grain of salt and carry on with our days. Most importantly, if we see any form of hate speech or cyberbullying, we must do our part to eliminate that problem by reporting the user, deleting the comments, and getting the user banned from that site.
There are many negatives to social media, but that’s not to say there aren’t any positives. Users are able to connect with their friends and family, businesses are able to advertise their services or products, it can be used to spread positivity and important news, and it is a great source of creativity and entertainment. But the next time you log on to your favorite social platform, be sure to not spend your whole day on it and do your best not to compare yourself to others.
Take a few minutes to check out our account on Instagram @thisisuproar, but then put your phone away and enjoy the day!