Part 2: The Bad Side of Social Media
Welcome back to part two of our discussion on social media. So, we have spoken about the good bits of social media. However, media coverage on social media tends to take a more negative tone about it. So now it's time to talk about the not so great aspects of this global phenomenon.
Excessive Use. Social media has actually been described to be more addictive then cigarettes and alcohol. There is not actually a huge amount of people that are addicted to using social media. But social media use can easily become a habit and a daily need in our lives. This can cause problems when in certain situations, such as driving, you feel that you need to check your social
media. Sadly, people will be hanging out with their friends and instead of talking to them, are constantly checking for any new posts or messages. If you are currently finding yourself using social media all the time, you can take action. You could set timers on your phone to alert you when you've used your phone over a certain period of time. Even leaving it on the side when you are eating so you can have physical conversations with friends and family will help this.
Body image. Here's a shocking fact. Eighty percent of women and sixty percent of men compare themselves to males and females they see online. The majority of these comparisons have a negative effect on people. Social networks such as Instagram show an endless amount of images, a lot promoting unrealistic body standards. In the 80's and 90's lots of magazines were criticized for promoting models very low in weight and making women feel that in order to be beautiful they had to be skinny. However now a lot of young people seem to look to as a guide on what is beautiful or attractive. For girls, they have been exposed to the objectification of some women on social media and unrealistic body images that can make girls feel like they need to look like this person in order to be considered pretty. And for boys, there is a huge pressure to have perfect abs and work out at the gym in order to be attractive. It's easy to forget that these seemingly perfect pictures can be easily altered and filtered. Therefore, it is pointless for us to be compare ourselves to this as half the time, it's not authentic anyway.
Sleep deprivation. Social media could be affecting our sleeping patterns. Around two out of three 11-20 year olds are getting less sleep than the recommended hours, and one of the main factors contributing to this is social media use. The lights coming off our screens when we use our phones before going to sleep can actually interfere and make it difficult for us to actually fall asleep. This isn't healthy for us in the long-term as getting the right amount of sleep is an important aspect of our development, mentally and physically. Therefore, let's set limits on how long we use our phone before bed so we are getting healthy amounts of sleep!
Lack of exposure to reality. Since it is so easy to access social media now, the majority of people use it, connecting with people all around the world. However, if we are not careful we could be relying on social media to communicate instead of physically gaining communication skills in real life. This could cause us to be more withdrawn from society and therefore live life more online then literally. We can even use social media as a mask, and create versions of ourselves that do not match up to who we really are. We could be swapping real life interaction for social media which can seem an easier way of doing things.
To conclude, since social media is a global phenomenon, there was always going to be positive sides and negative sides to it. Overall, we believe social media is very accessible, is a great way of communicating and a good tool that if used with awareness and self-control, can really help people and create many positive opportunities. We'll leave you to decide if it's a good or bad thing!