The Scary Side of Social Media

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The Scary Side of Social Media

Taylor Mathews, Staff Writer

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Social media is a great tool, yet, it can cause problems–sleeplessness, negative body image, depression, anxiety, and in some cases eating disorders–with the 95% of teens that use it. Today’s teens are stressing out and are pressured to be perfect by addictive websites. Users base their view of themselves off of the Photoshopped photos posted by models and celebrities.

Over 300 million photos are uploaded every day. Some promote a healthy lifestyle while others are Photoshopped to be “perfect”. These images can lodge themselves into the brains of users to see themselves in a negative way or “imperfect”. This is shown to lead to eating disorders and stress. “Research found that women who used Facebook a lot more had body image concerns, which resulted in a higher tendency to engage in eating disorder behaviors” (“How Social Media…” 4).

Spending too much time plugged in could also cause anxiety and complications with face-to-face contact. “It’s difficult to build empathy and compassion when teens spend more time ‘engaging’ online than they do in person” (Hurley 3). Cyberbullying also is becoming a major dilemma. The screens hide the cowardly bullies, allowing them to say whatever they wish without consequences. “Teen girls, in particular, are at risk for cyberbullying through the use of social media, but teen boys are not immune. Cyberbullying is associated with depression, anxiety, and elevated risk of suicidal thoughts” (Hurley 3).

In recent years it seems many more people suffer from anxiety and anxiety disorders. “Social media users can experience ‘FOMO’–’Fear of Missing Out.’ This is where people feel that others are having fun without them. People may also experience anxiety because they don’t feel smart enough, as interesting, or as successful as others” (“How Social Media…” 3).

To get over this fear, users should limit their screen time to only a few hours a day. Instead of texting or SnapChatting friends make plans to go out and don’t post it. You may get the urge to take pictures and videos to post, but instead, put down the device and enjoy the quality time.

Unplug. Get out. Look up.