Negative and Positive Effects of Social Media

Negative and Positive Effects of Social Media

Emma Norenberg (9th), Reporter

In this article I will be explaining all of the effects of social media on teens and/or young adults, human beings mental health, and how social media affects the society.

First, a positive effect of social media is that social media allows people to create bonds, friendships, and relationships. It helps improve communication and it helps strengthen relationships no matter where you live. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and countless other social networking sites help people build on existing relationships, make new friends, and reinvigorate relationships that have lapsed over time. Regardless of where a person lives, it’s possible to find others who share the same interests and concerns. 

Social media also helps people with negative mental health issues. Being able to talk to someone over the internet may be easier for people to talk about their problems instead of talking to somebody in person. Research shows that people who get support from peers struggling with the same problems  have better health outcomes; whether they have a physical condition like diabetes, or a psychological issue like depression. Blogs, discussion groups, internet support groups, and other social media platforms have helped teens and adults deal with mental health, behavioral, and/or addiction issues.

One big positive of social media is that it helps small businesses boost their company. I think Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are big platforms to boost companies and businesses. In personal experience, I have seen so many small businesses when scrolling through social media. Most of them become very well known.

Yes, social media has positives to it, but there is definitely a bad side to it as well. One big problem with social media is cyberbullying. This has been a very big problem in society for many years. Many people around the world have tried to help stop this horrible issue because it really takes a toll on the person getting bullied. Yes, cyberbullying can happen to adults or young adults, but this is especially problematic for teens, as bullies can target and prey on vulnerable high school peers without taking personal responsibility. This can progress to another problem with social media which is stalking. Social media users sometimes post their whereabouts, and their habits can be easily monitored.

Just as social media can bring out positive attitudes and happiness, it can also bring dissatisfied, disgruntled, and misguided people together, further fueling negative attitudes and beliefs. We see this in terrible things like coordinated terrorist attacks, as the wrong people can easily find other ill-motivated people. With politics, different points of views, and differences in the world, it can cause arguments and disagreements between people, and one or both parties will end up getting discouraged, or heavily angered. 

Teens and young adults are considered particularly at risk of these negative effects. There is a generation raised on the internet, social media, and digital technology, so these things are basic, essential parts of their lives. Young people also are vulnerable and eager for acceptance, and relatively inexperienced, which can cloud judgment. Most adults today remember what life was like before the internet, social media, and mobile devices, so it’s easier to step away from them; but it has still proved problematic, especially for adults who are prone to addictive behavior or have pre-existing mental health issues.

Something super important to remember is that you are enough. Social media can sometimes make us think otherwise or, on some occasions, the people behind the screen can tell us that we aren’t enough. Social media invites us to compare ourselves with others. For people with self-esteem issues and insecurities, hearing about other people’s happiness and successes can deepen feelings of inferiority. It’s easy to forget that social media posts, like photos of airbrushed models in magazines, can present an idealized, heavily edited version of what’s actually going on. In addition, some determine their self-worth based on their number of Facebook friends, or how many likes, shares, or other interactions they receive.

I interviewed an 8th student at Hilmar Middle School. I asked her, “Do you have social media? If so, what apps do you have?”

Viviana responded with, “Yes I do, my mom is pretty strict on it but she still lets me have it. Some social apps I have are TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.”

The last question I asked her is, “How does social media affect you and your mental health?”

She responded with, “The effect it has on me is sometimes it gives me ideas, makes me happy to post and update people on my personal life, and I have family that live quite far away so it helps me keep in touch with them. But quite often it drags my mental health down. With all my friends on these apps they will get together without me sometimes and it makes me feel left out. Or all these social media stars and influencers having a great body, which sometimes makes me insecure and drags my confidence down. Besides those things, I think socializing  is a great thing to have to keep up on daily news.”

To conclude this article, social media really has two sides to it, a negative side and a positive side. It is just which side you choose to go on. Just remember that social media can sometimes be a scary place, and whatever you put onto social media, anybody can see.