Social media is used by millions of people every day. There is constant posting, tweeting, and snapping happening, much of it among teens. Social media is an easy and fun way to communicate and express one’s self, but it has also proved to be harmful based on the freedom people have to post anything they want with minor consequences for their actions. Studies have proved that social media is addictive and endangers one’s well being. Why do we put so little thought into what we post?
The truth of the matter is this; social media is fun and can provide us with endless options to communicate with people from all over the world. Some argue that social media lowers people’s confidence, but a study in The British Psychological Society found that students who are insecure and have low self esteem can take advantage of social media and use it to communicate with people who make them feel better (10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health).
Social media enthusiast and avid user, Haley Mastropoll, has roughly 30,500 followers on networking sites. Mastropoll stated that social media has affected her both negatively and positively. “[Her] photography got out there, [she’s] helped people emotionally, and [she’s] made amazing friends that [she] met in person and will continue to meet,” stated Mastropoll. She claims that people, knowing her story, see her as an inspiration, and she is happy to be viewed as such.
Although Mastropoll has had many positive experiences on the internet, she has also endured criticism. When she was younger, she “let the hate and ignorance tear [her] apart. [She has] met toxic and unsafe people, encountered drama and fights, and experienced cyberbullying.” Mastropoll mentioned that sometimes social media affects her mental health as it can be toxic if one interacts with the wrong people. But she feels that she interacts with the right people who have “good vibes.” Mastropoll added that it is incredibly important to take frequent breaks from the internet.
Research at the 119th annual American Psychological Association found that introverted adolescents can gain social skills through interacting with others on the internet (10 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health). Luna Kutcha, another popular internet user with over 12,000 followers on Facebook stated that she has met many new people on the internet who became her friends quickly. “They’re not afraid to tell me what’s up, unlike most people in real life,” Kutcha expressed about her friends. Kutcha also shares her negative experiences, claiming that when “[she] first started social media, [she] was a bit of an attention seeker, and got recognized in a bad way. [She] made very questionable decisions that [she] wishes [she] could take back sometimes.” Kutcha also agrees that social media has a major affect on mental health. She stated, “[She] always feel[s] like [she has] to keep up with everything, or maintain a good persona. It just takes a toll on [her] sometimes.”
So does social media only have negative effects on one’s well being? Social media’s impact depends on the extent of one’s usage how seriously one takes social media, and how one deals with criticism. It is best to take precautions when posting while also taking frequent breaks to avoid addiction and insecurity generated by social media use.