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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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The Rider Online | Legacy HS Student Media

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Rise of Social Media Increases Risks for Teens and Young Adults

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Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

On social media, anybody can post anything. Dating back to the launch of MySpace in 2003, becoming the first mainstream social media platform, people have expressed themselves to a much broader audience. In 2013 there were 1.15 billion active on social media, a large number but nowhere near the amount of active users ten years later. Through the years, social media’s growth skyrocketed, causing it to be used by 60.6% of people across the world in 2023. A rough calculation says that’s about 4.88 billion people. Social media does a lot of harm to its users though, especially to the younger generation, who have grown up with social media being so prominent in society. 

This reliance on validation from social media damages a kid’s mental health. Constant changes in trends in fashion, memes, and slang make keeping up with the trends hard and pointless.

A lot of social media today promotes ideologies that aren’t right or are unobtainable for many people. Apps such as Instagram and TikTok push the narrative that you have to look or act a certain way to be “cool” or popular. While this may not affect certain people, such as adults, it negatively affects many children who don’t know better than trying to be what they see on social media. This reliance on validation from social media damages a kid’s mental health. Constant changes in trends in fashion, memes, and slang make keeping up with the trends hard and pointless. These companies push the consumer and trend-riding mentality to keep you on their app and check in ever so often to fit in with what everyone else is doing. As humans, we have the desire to feel wanted or to fit in, and big apps like Instagram and TikTok have taken advantage of this desire and implemented this into their algorithms. These apps take your liked videos and feed similar content along with the popular trends into your “for you page”. This inherently isn’t a bad idea, but taking into account that TikTok is run by a foreign country leaves uncertainty in what they could be using this information for.  

The average teen spends a little over eight hours a day on their phone, with social media being approximately 3.5 of those hours being social media. The time that is being spent on social media and phones takes away from school work and homework time. To combat these distractions, MISD introduced a new no-tolerance cell phone policy, helping the distraction of social media to be diminished at school. Another way to contradict social media usage is to set guidelines or a time limit on certain apps you may visit too much. Another option would be disabling notifications, and limiting the amount of times you feel the urge to open a social media app. 

While social media has a lot of negatives, the positives of helping family and friends stay connected is a huge appeal. Apps with direct message features help users talk to people who they may not get to see every day. With that, you can become closer with people who may live a long distance away, or just check on family members. Social media has also made the spread of news more prominent with many sources posting dozens of times a day. With this propaganda there is some false news spread, but it gets the new events going on in the world around fast compared to social media’s infancy. Social media is helpful for making news readily available and keeping people in touch when they may be spread apart.

Social media has positive effects on society in certain ways, but overall the harm that it does to us and especially to the younger generation outweighs the positives. There are other ways of staying in touch, such as messages and phone calls that don’t have algorithms that will suck you into their schemes. Remember that anyone can post anything.

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