Social media poses risks for youth

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It’s important to unplug from social media once in a while. In fact, I think it’s a necessity, as it’s good for mental health and for personal and creative development. Every time I’m at a restaurant, coffee shop, etc., I look around and see people sitting together with their eyes glued to their phones. In today’s world, we are so completely surrounded by technology and various social media platforms that it’s nearly impossible to escape from our technology. I’ve read numerous articles and statistics about the negative effects of social media, such as how one in three people feel worse after checking their Facebook feed.

As a college student, not only am I voluntarily surrounded by technology, but I am also surrounded by technology because of regular and online classes as well as work obligations. The technological advances that have occurred in the past 20 years are amazing and innovative, but there is a balance that we as a society are struggling to find. It seems that we “connect” so much through various social medias that we forget how to connect face to face.

Social media applications like Instagram are where people show off their best pictures during their best times. It’s not an accurate portrayal of our stressful, boring and uneventful day-to-day lives. Applications like this can make us feel like our lives aren’t as fun, cool or glamorous because of this constant comparison. As you scroll through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter, you constantly see society’s influence on how you should look, dress, eat or act. I think this affects us college students as well as people younger than us very heavily. For most of us, we don’t know what it’s like to survive without information literally in the palm of our hand. We rely on our GPS to navigate us through unknown cities. We Google any question or problem that comes to mind, and we spend hours staring at our phones instead of focusing on what is going on around us.

If I do not know the answer to a problem, I rely on my phone or computer to help me. It makes me wonder how people lived before the nearly instantaneous knowledge that is available at almost every given moment. Yet they did. Thousands of years of powerful civilizations operated without the internet, cell phones or social media. Instead, they used their knowledge of traditions and creativity. In some ways, I think that technology today actually stifles creativity. When I look around at people around me, I see so many young children with their eyes glued to their tablets or parent’s phone. I understand it can be a useful way to keep a child occupied.

I also think it doesn’t really allow them to be curious about their surroundings and doesn’t encourage them to use their imagination and entertain themselves, which eventually limits their individuality and resourcefulness.

For me personally, I make myself unplug from all technology and enjoy a book, coffee or a conversation with one of my friends without the constant interference of technology. Technology today is truly a double-edged sword, for I do not think we could really live without it at this point in society. I know I need my computer to complete schoolwork, I need my phone to stay connected with family and friends that do not live within the state and I know everyone needs access to a phone in case of an emergency. Nevertheless, it is important to implement a balance of using technology.

The saying “too much of a good thing” rings true in this case. As with anything else, our society should take or use technology in moderation.

Overall, I think we should make a point to discipline ourselves in our consumption of technology instead of letting it rule us.

Go take a walk or enjoy dinner with a friend without feeling the need to document every moment, which therefore makes you not actually live in that moment.

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