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Social Media & Its Effects Through COVID-19
October 18, 2021
During COVID-19, social media came to a higher power, connecting people who were separated due to quarantining and state-lockdowns. It was a way to interact with the outside world while remaining inside, a way to find social interaction from within social confines. It was a solution to isolation – for the time being. But was social media a positive solution? Yes, it allowed interaction, but what was the mental impact of that interaction?
Most know that social media is a way for people to essentially brag about how perfect their lives are, even if they are not. Nevertheless, everybody else only sees their perfect lifestyles and their perfect decisions, rather than some of the struggles they likely face. This evokes a very deep seated fear in people that they are not perfect, and that they are doing something wrong. It can bring depression and anxiety. In a study by the University of Michigan, it was found that people who spend more time doing things on the internet instead of participating in non screen activities had lower psychological well-being than people who spent less time on screens. This only further suggests that social media has a negative effect on its users, and the increase of use during COVID-19 would have likely increased that negative effect.
Furthermore, during COVID-19 issues with teen suicides spiked when they became isolated and alone. As addressed earlier, social media became a solution to this isolation, but studies show that the more you’re on the internet, the less happy you are. Does social media and internet usage play a part in this increase in suicides? At one point last year some schools were forced to open because the risk of suicide had raised past the risk of COVID-19. It was a huge issue with no right answer. Watching teachers and students getting sick was horrible, but watching them slowly fall apart to the point of not wanting to live anymore? It was like picking how to die. For administration it was like choosing which lives to give up and which ones to keep. It was an awful situation to be in, but they couldn’t do anything to fix it.
Around 94% of students at EMS use some form of social media. The most used social media is Youtube, followed by Tik Tok. Already this year, social media has impacted students at EMS, and all of TCAPS, through another ‘trend’ called the “Devious Lick”. This trend influenced students to commit criminal acts by stealing items or vandalising bathrooms and other public areas. As a result of these acts, students have been suspended, given referrals, and even arrested by the police. This trend worries staff, what if students get criminal records that limit them or stop them from reaching their goals in the future? Of course, one could say that most people haven’t seen the “Devious Lick” trend on social media, but chances are they probably have, considering that over half of the students who responded to a survey reported to have seen the “Devious Lick” trend somewhere on the internet.
So, the question is: Is social media really worth it? After all of this, is social media still, or even so, was it ever a good thing? Social media might just be a negative factor weighing down on society.
However, some students disagree with the statement that social media is mostly negative. Many believe that social media has a more positive impact. In an interview, 8th grader Henry Sullivan said that social media is “like an escape from responsibilities from school”, and that “on social media you can find people that have the exact same interests as you from all over the world”. A lot of students say that social media is an outlet to find people like themselves, a way to explore ideas, and see how other lives are lived. They also see it as a form of entertainment, and way to socialize.
In the end, social media is here to stay, whether or not we’re better off with or without it.
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