Is social media a bad thing?

Peyton Finnegan, Courier Staff

Kids under the age of 15 have never lived in a world without social media. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok are a few of the most popular social media websites and apps that kids today utilize every day.

Social media has become such a necessity in most people’s day-to-day lives, but the scary part is that there is a generation that will grow up entirely dependent on the Internet and social media.

This will undoubtedly affect them, but the question is how? Around seven out of 10 Americans use social networking sites. On social media sites, users may develop profiles, communicate with friends and strangers and share thoughts, photos, music, links and more. Those in full support of social networking sites claim that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family, teachers and students value access to educational support and materials, social and political change and spreads useful information rapidly. These are all extremely positive ways to utilize social media, however there are some negatives to note.

The population that is opposed to social networking says that the sites prevent face-to-face communication, waste time on a frivolous activity, alter children’s brains and behavior making them more prone to ADHD, expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars, and spread false and potentially dangerous information. As much as I use social media and have grown dependent on social networking sites, I think that it has done more harm than good. Social media distracts people from their jobs, from school and from day-to-day conversations.

Personally, I can’t count the numerous times I have had to ask someone to repeat information they said to me because I was on my phone. Social media is good for keeping in contact with friends and family we do not see as often, but when someone is snapchatting a person across the table from them, the concept of social media seems to be ridiculous.

When I was in high school, we used iPads as a way to incorporate technology into learning. It is good for saving trees I guess, but I feel like I did not get as much out of my high school education as I could have because of the iPads. Imagine trying to do homework on a giant cell phone. That’s what it was like. We were able to download apps, use social media and even text all from our classroom. The opportunity to be distracted was extremely high. Schooling is not the only place where technology has negatively impacted the environment. Even in social environments like parties, concerts or even just dinner; technology has invaded our lives. The next time you are at a party just look around the room, I can almost guarantee you that at least one out of four people there will be on their phone.

We use our phones as well as social media as a social crutch. When we don’t know someone at a function or the conversation has died out we just pull out our phones instead of just talking to someone else. It is ironic; social media is making our population increasingly less social.