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Jordan Melton

Jordan Melton

English 1010

2 December 2020

Is Social Media Actually Harmful?

Social media has played a huge role in the daily lives of billions. In fact, in the article

“126 Amazing Social Media Statistics And Facts'' written by Kit Smith on brandwatch.com, he

states that there are 3.725 billion active social media users. Kit Smith also states in his article that

the average daily time spent on social media is 142 minutes a day. Social media is known as

many things, especially overused, but does that necessarily make it harmful? Depends who you

ask I suppose. Manasa Rao, an author from India said, “​“Recently thought of deleting my

Facebook account and start using Twitter, but realized it’s not easy. Facebook has become like

the boyfriend I no longer like but scared to dump because I’ve invested so much time in the

relationship.”

Social media is known as addictive and harmful as well as overused. It can be talked

about negatively by many. It is portrayed as destructive when really there are just as many

benefits as there are negatives. It continues to shape the way we live our lives, and will continue

to do so as social media platforms continue to grow.

Is social media actually harmful? ​Another question that can be associated with that is,

are there more negatives or positives pertaining to social media? With social media becoming a

controversial issue, many studies have been reported to show evidence of the effects of social

media. There are three views of social media that I want to focus on. There are those people who
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support social media. They think social media is beneficial for business, communication and

mental health. Then, there are those who strongly disapprove of social media. They find social

media harmful for mental health, physical health and development of youth. Also, there is a view

of social media from people who are basically in the middle of the pack. They think social media

is okay as long as it is limited and put to good use. With these views, it is interesting to see how

the three views have formed their opinions.

Social Media Is Beneficial

When it comes to the benefits of social media, communication is often the first thing that

typically comes up. In Matthew Valentine’s blog “5 Reasons Why Social Media: Why Social

Media Is Good For Us”, the first reason he states is “​Social media helps people strengthen their

relationships, create new connections, and find social support in tough times”. In “It ain’t all bad:

10 reasons why social media is GREAT” by Lucy Sanderson, she says ​“It’s undeniable that

social media increases the ease of communication in a world where people are more mobile than

ever before. Facebook Messenger and Skype are the glue bonding long-distance friendships and

families. It also offers a type of freedom to people who found traditional forms of

communicating difficult; many marginalised groups, such as the ​elderly​ and ​disabled​, have

created online communities that connect them to people all over the world, or even just down the

road. Suddenly, even if you are physically isolated, you can still feel connected and sociable.”

Communication is just one primary example of a positive for social media. It keeps us engaged,

connected and attentive.


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Social Media Is Negative

Just as communication is a main idea for the positive effects of social media, self-esteem

and addiction headline as negative effects for social media. Sophia Auld wrote an article called

“Social Media and Low Self-Esteem”. In the article, Sophia talks about the correlation between

mental health and the use of smartphones referring to apps and social media. In the sixth

paragraph she states, “​Rising rates of depression have coincided with the ​rise in smartphone use​.

A study published in 2017 in the journal ​Clinical Psychological Science​ looked at social

media/smartphone usage, depression and suicide death rates in more than 500,000 US students in

years 8 to 12. Between 2010 and 2015, they found a 33 percent increase in the number of

adolescents with high levels of depressive symptoms and 31 percent more died by suicide. The

increase was driven almost exclusively by females.” In the article “Social Media Addiciton”

written by Jena Hilliard, she writes, “​An estimated 27% of children who spend 3 or more hours a

day on social media exhibit symptoms of poor mental health. Overuse of social networking sites

is much more problematic in children and young adults because their brains and social skills are

still developing. Research has shown that adolescents who habitually use social media from a

young age have severely stunted social interaction skills. Despite the fact that users are

interacting with each other on these platforms, many of them don’t necessarily translate to the

real world. Studies have found that these individuals have worsened social anxiety in groups,

higher rates of depression, negative body-image, and lowered levels of empathy and compassion

towards others when surveyed.” Social media is known as potentially damaging when it comes

to mental health and even physical health and as more studies come through with evidence, we

will see more statistics and information providing more insight on this issue.
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Social Media Is Neutral

Social media has both its positives and negatives. Some people strongly oppose the use of

social media, some people feel social media is a necessity, and then there are people who use it

sometimes and don’t have a strong opinion towards it. When it comes to the neutral point of

view, it is important to stay open minded as efforts for research continue. Many studies continue

to be done in an attempt to find out the true science of how social media and technology affect

the human mind and body.

There are numerous articles that provide insight on both perspectives. By explaining both

the positives and negatives, it provides the opportunity for one to sway their opinion of the

matter. One article I found especially intriguing was “Teen and social media use: What’s the

impact?” by Mayo Clinic Staff. In this article, they explain the benefits and negatives of social

media use, as well as a means for protection in a section titled “Protecting your teen”. They keep

it simple, precautionary, and informational.

My Take On Social Media

Social media obviously causes concerns to parents who want to protect their children.

Social media can cause an increase in mental health issues, loneliness, addiction, procrastination

and other things similar to that. Social media also includes positives such as communication,

awareness, success, belongingness, self-esteem and other things such as those. The way I like to

think of social media is like driving a car. Everyday, you get into your car knowing the risks of

driving. You still decide to drive it because you feel you need to use it to get places and love the

freedom of it. When using social media, the positives and negatives can affect each individual
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differently. Some may feel self-conscious when comparing themselves to others, but not

everyone compares themselves to others. I feel like the use of social media should depend on the

person rather than society as a whole. If you feel any negative feelings at all when using social

media, then why use it? When it comes to overusing social media, find ways to limit yourself.

You should still find yourself being able to manage time by staying productive and not focusing

on social media when you should be prioritizing your time. It should be a fun thing to look at

when you have freetime. I find myself having the neutral mindset and think each and every

individual who wants the freedom to use it should strongly consider how they’ll behave when

using it. There is a quote I want to close with that is by Davewillis.org that says, “ Don’t use

social media to impress people, use it to impact people”.


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Works Cited

Smith, Kit. ​126 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts​. 2019,
www.brandwatch.com/blog/amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts/.

​A Quote by Manasa Rao​.


www.goodreads.com/quotes/7295140-recently-thought-of-deleting-my-facebook-account-and-st
art-using.

Valentine, Matthew. “5 Positives of Social Media: Why Social Media Is Good for Us.” 2020,
technologyformindfulness.com/positives-of-social-media/.

Sanderson, Lucy. “It Ain't All Bad: 10 Reasons Why Social Media Is Great.” ​Terra Ferma Media,​
19 June 2018, www.terrafermamedia.com/social-media-is-great/.

A Quote by Davewillis.org.
https://images.app.goo.gl/68xTWQZTrvPHUPBm6

Auld, Sophia. “Social Media and Low Self-Esteem.” ​ACC Blog​, 4 Nov. 2019,
www.acc.edu.au/blog/social-media-low-self-esteem/.

Hilliard, Jena. “Social Media Addiction.” ​Addiction Center​, 20 Nov. 2020,


www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/social-media-addiction/.

“Teens and Social Media Use: What's the Impact?” ​Mayo Clinic​, Mayo Foundation for Medical
Education and Research, 21 Dec. 2019,
www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/tween-and-teen-health/in-depth/teens-and-social-media-us
e/art-20474437.