Social media is the most used resource by people in different age groups, no matter how old or young. It is used so often in a day that sometimes we mix up our priorities. The average screen time of teens between the ages of 13-18 is 9 hours per day through various social networking sites like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. This proceeds from the time we get up to start a new day to late nights staying up scrolling and swiftly switching between various apps. During this period, the use has increased dramatically. People are getting more engaged in activities through a screen than making conversation with their loved ones. The number of people using social media is around 3.5 billion. Due to The advancement of technology and the changing times, people lean towards these apps very frequently.
There are main questions surrounding this topic: How much can it influence us? Does it influence our health positively or negatively? The trends on various apps are started by millions of people and followed religiously by being the only source of entertainment during the lockdown. From celebrities to social media influencers, everyone spends a large chunk of time on these apps. It is used for various purposes such as educational, professional, individual and many more. The dependency of people on these apps has increased exponentially. Connecting through social media often means we disconnect from our real lives.
It can change the way we think, alter the way we see ourselves.Through setting up unrealistic expectations, it somehow has a control over our life. From the milk we buy to the clothes we wear, all of these things can change within minutes. This can happen due to the power of social media. There are negative and positive effects. It can be a boon or a bane depending on how we utilize it for our benefit. Having several positive aspects, a platform is generated to express our creative side and to showcase our talents. Thus, It helps us keep in touch with family and friends, and allows us to spread awareness about important issues that need to be addressed.
It also harms the mental health of people. Studies have shown that social media disrupts and delays sleep. Several surveys conducted reveal that social media produces low self-esteem, anxiety, increased stress levels, and even depression. The minds of teenagers are very young and impressionable. Hence, misinformation can lead to problems and unrealistic expectations which negatively affects a person as the individual may start comparing oneself to others. This continuous comparison will eventually lead to low self-esteem because people may believe that everything posted is true. Arguments will ensue due to people getting influenced by rumours and falsity.
Furthermore, Cyberbullying is a form of virtual degradation of a person by other people. This can happen through threats, rumours any many more. These people can be their peers at school, colleagues at work, or random strangers.This causes a person to self-evaluate themselves through the numerous insults they receive. This self-evaluation leads to self-doubt and later mental health problems.
How do we make sure that our health is the main priority? Firstly we have to understand that not everything posted is true. People may choose to conceal flaws and talk only about the positive things. We must understand that every person has their problems to deal with which may not be seen through a screen. By creating a persona online about how we want our lives to look like, we are setting up unrealistic expectations for others and also harming ourselves in the process. Sometimes we do have to deal with hate. Trying our best should be of great significance since our mental health and of others can be severely impacted.
People will always have something to say so we should do what makes us happy. We as Woodstock students should normalise talking about issues while being sensitive and respectful. This is because the platform we are provided with not only represents us as individuals but also what Woodstock advocates. We should not discontinue it due to the effects. Instead, making sure it becomes a safe space for everyone to voice their opinion for good, to spread awareness, and use it for our benefit is essential. We should be the ones who choose how much it can influence our lives – for the better or worse.
Ria Keshkamat is a staff reporter.
Edited by Bishalakshmi Bagchi.