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The image that social media has on students

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The image that social media has on students

A student scrolls through her social media on her tablet signifying the time spent online by students

A student scrolls through her social media on her tablet signifying the time spent online by students

A student scrolls through her social media on her tablet signifying the time spent online by students

A student scrolls through her social media on her tablet signifying the time spent online by students

Paige Smith, Reporter

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Social Media is part of every student’s life, whether they have an account or not. In a survey of 130 randomly selected students, 94% voted that society is addicted to social media. Yet only 38% felt they personally are addicted to social media. 83% of these students voted that they have more than one social media account. Out of 54 interviews, all had Instagram, 28 had Snapchat, 25 had Facebook, and 27 had other social media accounts including Twitter, Pinterest, Discord, and YouTube.

Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can be very outspoken against social media and the internet, but is it really all that bad?

Instead of face to face communication, students turn to texting and social media. Senior Jessie Marchant said, “[Social media] is kind of like a firsthand and secondhand communication. Some of it is direct messages that is instant so it’s like texting but in a different way. But it’s also secondhand when you post something that can be directed towards certain people. Like ‘look what I’m doing, look how great I look’, it’s a different kind of communication.”

The Huffington Post described that social media is linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and decreased social skills.

English and AVID teacher  Rachel Borrowman can confirm, at least part of this statement. “As a teacher, I think of how harmful I see [social media] being. I see students be consumed mentally by their social media personality. I see them say and do things on social media that they wouldn’t say or do in real life. I see good, wonderful kids say and do very cruel things that isn’t in their nature,” explains Borrowman, “I know what it’s like to be distracted by my phone. But, my brain is fully developed so it’s difficult for me to empathize and help my students. I know that it’s difficult for students, and I don’t fully understand it.”

Many people will argue whether or not social media is addictive. The Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic explains that though the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has not listed Social Media Disorder or Internet Gaming Disorder as an official disorder, it is most definitely a subject “worthy of investigation”.

Walking down Taylorsville High School’s hallways, phones are in plain sight. Kids walk looking down at their phones. Students take pictures of each other to put on Snapchat. Students text each other the latest tea. Officials disclose that teenagers and young adults are particularly susceptible to negative effects from social media because they have been raised with it and the technology is an indispensable part of their lives.

“Trends and fads all start on social media. Someone sees something and they think, ‘oh I want to do that’ and they do,” explains senior Natalie Pitts, “We’re all being influenced by social media.”

Social media isn’t all bad, the internet can be used to connect people from all over the world, find help anonymously, and it’s 24/7 so it never shuts down. Students and teenagers, in particular, tend to abuse social media and it has overall negative effects on them.

“Negative overall. There’s a lot of positive things that can happen with social media, but there’s a lot of dark stuff out there that gets posted, and it can get rough. It’s better to be social than be on social media,” says Marchant.

“[Social media] will continue to cause problems in the future. I think it already has,” says Borrowman

“I think it could go either way. There is definitely some positive in it, but it really depends on how people use it. We could all turn in to lazy couch potatoes because of how much we use it, or we could learn how to manage it better,” says Pitts.

Ultimately it is up to each individual person how they manage their social media use. For the most part, it is clear, we aren’t doing a very good job.

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