Social media: harmful or beneficial?

Wyatt Ko

More stories from Wyatt Ko

My quarantine journal
April 21, 2020

What do you consider to be an addiction? Maybe drugs? Alcohol? All of these can be a form of addiction but there is an addiction that you probably didn’t think about, and nearly everybody has this addiction. Technology, technology is one of the biggest addictions that people do not realize that they have. Technology is one of the most important categories of advancement in the world but with the advancement of technology, the world is now seeing exactly how technology although helpful, can cause more harm than good. Ever since the introduction of the first smartphone in 2007 the number of people in the world with a smartphone has increased to over 35% of the entire population! This means that over 2.5 billion people in the world have a smartphone and this number continues to rise every day. In 2010 Instagram was born and gained 1 million users in the time span of 2 months. With this widespread expansion of social media, apps like Snapchat and Instagram are downloaded onto almost every smartphone. What effect does this have on teenagers? “Many teenagers that use it very often have a higher risk of having depression compared to a teenager that does not use social media often.”-The Child’s Mind Institute. There are many reasons as to where this depression and sadness can originate from and the Pew Research Center has found four reasons as to why.

  • Seeing people posting about events that the user was not invited to
    • When people are not invited to an event it causes them to feel left out and to feel more like someone that is not accepted by others in a group.
  • Feeling pressure to post positive and attractive content about the user
    • Many teenagers feel the need to post things that will show a happy life and an image that portrays a “perfect life”
  • Feeling pressure to get comments and likes on the posts about the user
    • Studies have been done to show scientific evidence that when someone receives a like or a comment on a post, a small amount of serotonin is released in the brain causing a feeling of happiness. This makes teenagers feel the need to post likeable content, just to get this small shot of happiness.
  • Having someone post things about you that you cannot change or control
    • Cyber-bullying is one of the biggest issues of social media and many teenagers are victims to said bullying and it causes depression among teens.

These reasons cause mass anxiety and depression among teenagers and all it does is make their life harder. It is true that social media can be a good thing for adults because it provides a way to stay in touch over a long distance, but a teenager has no real reason to have social media and they have no inherent reason to spend so much time on social media. Social media can be a good thing and a bad thing but the effects that it has on the minds of a teenager are so detrimental that social media should have a age restriction.