Does Social Media Cause More Harm than Good
The contemporary world is characterized by knowledge explosion, digital revolutions, and changes in many life aspects, including social interactions. The digital world of social media has made the world increasingly connected. There are many forms of social media in the current state ranging from websites, forums, blogs, wikis, and social networking sites such as Tiktok, Whatsapp, Twitter, and Facebook (Goodyear 5). These social media channels have transformed how they interact, particularly the youthful generation. The rise of these platforms has improved information access, communication, connectedness, and self-identification. Nonetheless, social media has had major negative consequences. Social media platforms are no longer an extra source of information rather the primary communication media, particularly for the youth. A recent study indicates that approximately 70% of individuals believe social media companies are causing more harm than good (Akram 354). Although it has improved connectedness and information access, social media had major negative consequences such as cyberbullying, mental health, and false information spread
Health professionals are concerned about the impact social media has on mental health. Research indicates that individuals who regularly use social media have a high level of stress that can lead to multiple physical and mental ailments, consequentially affecting their work and productivity (Goodyear et al. et al. 40). Currently, almost 95% of teenagers can access smartphones. Approximately 50% of these teens constantly engage with social media. According to National Alliance on Mental Health, 20% of adolescents are likely to form severe mental illness from medical social interactions (Goodyear et al. 7). The intensity of the online world develops a constant sense of self-awareness that can trigger depression. A recent study indicates social media tools such as Facebook is correlated with low self-esteem, depression, and loneliness Goodyear et al. 6). Such depression increases the risk of social isolation, and individuals often turn to risky sites seeking help that can promote abuse, unsafe sex practices, aggression, and misappropriate behaviours.
Additionally, these platforms promote the constant attempt to achieve the unrealistic perception of perfection. Such cases increase the constant attempts to project an image of perfection, which leads to stress hormone cortisol release, increasing anxiety. With most youth using social media during adolescence, which is a critical brain development stage, most are exposed to the danger of anxiety and depression (Akram 354). It is imperative to comprehend social media outcomes and identify appropriate intervention techniques.
Cyberbullying has become an unfortunate consequence of increased social media. Multiple studies suggest that cyberbullying poses a threat to youth’s education, health, and overall wellbeing. With more than 95% of youths being connected to the internet and spending an estimated 8 hours on social media platforms, most are likely exposed to bullying (Akram 352). Cyberbullying involves any activity that involves abuse, name-calling, rumours, and leaking another individuals’ information. The increasing deaths, suicides, and emotional problems continue to raise debates on the consequences of cyberbullying. Bullying victimization is highly associated with increased mental health problems. While social media gives a communication platform to socially anxious people, it inadvertently leads to individuals sharing more personal and emotional information, opening them to further bullying. Notably, the fear of exclusion many anxious people face in social settings is inescapable within social media platforms. The structure of these platforms eases the ability to ostracize, intimate, and exclude individuals. The emergence and evolution of cyberbullying through social media create a new challenge to find appropriate solutions, preventative cyberbullying, to counter-attack its damaging effect.
The concern for ‘fake news’ had become a common theme and consumers’ confidence even in traditional media outlets. Social media has changed how individuals perceive and handle information. Currently, anyone can create and share information regardless of its validity. With advanced technology, programs, not humans, may even control the spread of information. Notably, targeted information, which often is malicious, is designed to shape people’s thoughts and decisions to influence their behaviours. While traditional journalism adhered to norms of objectivity and balance, increasing trust and credibility, social media users are likely to share information without fact-checking particularly controversial content. The impact of fake news in social media can reduce or increase the effectiveness of a program, campaign, and initiates designed for the population’s wellbeing. While social media offers a platform where journalists, PR professionals, political, issue advocates, and others can educate and inform, such endeavours’ success massively depends on the credibility of their respective institutions. Malicious applications must be identified and blocked, and social media users are educated on fact-checking. Finally, social media platforms should make it more challenging to create pseudo accounts and spread fake information
To summarize, despite the positive effects of information sharing and increased connectedness, social media causes more harm than good. Social media enables the spread of fake information, cyberbullying, and mental health-related challenges. Given that social media is a relatively new phenomenon, the advantages are overemphasized instead of comprehending the negative aspects. While change is good, necessary, and inevitable, it is critical to constantly evaluate and regulate these social media platforms.
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Akram, Waseem, and Rakesh Kumar. “A study on positive and negative effects of social media on society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering 5.10 (2018): 351-354.
Goodyear et al., Victoria A., and Kathleen M. Armour. Young people, social media, and health. Taylor & Francis, 2019.