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The rise of social media has led itself to
become the primary way individuals communicate in today’s modern world. It is a
worldwide phenomenon and a way to connect with friends, family, and even
strangers all around the world. It is the ubiquitous way people communicate.

Social Media usage by youth is alarming and seems to be almost addictive,
“According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social
media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on
to a social media site more than once a day.” (O’Keefe & Pearson) The
extended use of social media has a significant impact on a young individual’s
mental health as evidenced by effects on our communication, friendships,
self-expression, bullying, sense of humanity and isolation.

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Social Media is used by many young people across
the globe. The purpose of social media is to enhance communication between
others. However, this technology is doing more harm than good. It is not only
changing how today’s youth communicates, but how people interact with their
friends, family, and loved ones. There is a strong concern in the media that
the rise of social media platforms is abolishing personal interactions for the
younger generations. It is ironic that these websites and applications were
created to help individuals communicate, but in reality is negatively impacting
young adults’ social skills. In general, people use these websites to talk and
share insight into their lives with their friends that live in other cities,
states, and countries. These platforms also allow users to connect with
strangers. Similar interests and mutual friends or followers can create a sense
of a personal relationship. This can cause a person to feel as though they have
a stronger personal connection to others than they actually have. These
websites are becoming the new way to make friends. These new friends communicate
predominately through the website or application. Nevertheless, communication
is not the only way social media sites are used.

    When
creating a social media page, people normally post content that represents them
or their interests. They will post pictures of themselves and their friends and
their friends comment on these posts. While adults are known to be more
cautious about what they post and how they interact online. However, today’s
youth uses social media in a way that could be seen as alarming. They immensely
care about impressing others, they gain a sense popularity through the
interesting pictures they post and how their followers and friends react to it.

The comments left on their posts mean more to them than actual word of mouth.

In order to the sensation of popularity they want, they try to get a reaction
from controversial and contrived images of themselves. There is a need to be
popular among youth which leads to “young girls and boys attempting to impress
one another by showcasing themselves in mature situations or displaying their
physique. For instance, many pictures that teenagers post online reveal
underage drinking, smoking, and partying” (Zay). As a young person, sharing
photos that show illicit behavior and activity can be damaging to one’s
reputation and also one’s future. Self-expression of a young individual
depicted by themselves on these platforms should be age appropriate. Young
users will not tarnish their reputation and future if they post friendly
content like pictures of their birthday or a vacation.

It is common practice for human resource
managers to try and access Facebook or Twitter profiles of potential job
applicants to get to know about a candidate’s true identity. This becomes a
horror for many of the explicit posts are visible to the human resource
managers as the job seeker does not set their profiles to private.

Inappropriate posts can lead to someone’s dream internship or full-time offer
being taken away or remove the chance to interview for the position. Research has
found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after
finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages. (The Telegraph) Some
employers have also checked the candidates’ online details on Facebook pages to
see if they are lying about their qualifications. Nowadays, younger generations
have a complete disregard for their own privacy, opening doors to unwelcome
predators or stalkers.

A young person’s habit of constant posting on
social media has also made it become easier to target one another.

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is only done online typically through
social media platforms. Bullying is strenuous on the individual when done
face-to-face, but is even harsher over the internet. When malicious comments
are posted on someone’s posts, anyone who follows both users can see them.

However, since the attack is online sometimes there is no witness. This can
make it harder for a victim to tell an adult or get help. The bully has an
easier time insulting the other person because there is no face-to-face
interaction. These kinds of attacks are harmful. While bullying, in general, is
wrong, cyberbullying is questionably the worst form. The victims are more
vulnerable and the insults made towards them are more malicious because
“computers mask faces and the majority of insults, threats, and taunting go on
without repercussion. There often is no make-up or apologies, because no one
witnesses the harmful effect the words may carry” (Zay). Young people need to
realize that bullying is always wrong. There is no excuse for the lack of
empathy bullies have because they are not seeing the person in front of them.

Social media should be used to communicate with each other and not to belittle
others.

With young people’s habit of constant use of
these social media, fewer people are conversing in person. Many people are
experiencing feelings of isolation due to the lack of personal interaction they
receive on a day-to-day basis. It is becoming normal to go have less human
interactions with people on a daily basis. Young people are becoming more
comfortable with conversing through their devices and less with their mouths.

The lack of human interaction is a direct result of social media platforms.

Without person-to-person interaction, we will lose our conversational skills
and experience discomfort with public speaking. Normal conversation and
confrontation will be made more difficult for young individuals in the future
because of their lack of experience with personal interaction, which can result
in the inability to read one another’s body language. This development is not
healthy step for society because humans are supposed to experience interactions
with others or else it can lead to poor health. This kind of isolation is
damaging to society because it is necessary to be personable. These new
communication sites were made to improve communication, not destroy it.

    These
social networks allow an individual to have thousands of friends or followers.

However, these supposed “friends” are sometimes nothing more than strangers or
acquaintances. We allow strangers to view our pages and profiles for
insignificant reasons, such as seeing they have the same interest or go to the
same college. We spend more time online virtually interacting with others when
we should be spending time with our friends in person. This lack of time spent
with friends you see in real life can lead to shallower friendships. Many
people care for their Facebook friends, but they don’t even know what is
actually going on in their life behind the posts. While you might know what a
few people had for breakfast from their posts online, you don’t know whether
any of them are struggling with a major life crisis. This is a ubiquitous
practice in online friendships now, as the relationships are only based on
knowledge users chose to share with their followers or friends.

    It is
common that people now don’t realize that they have a crumbling or ruined
friendship. It all stems from an underlying fear of being alone. Social media
platforms help form meaningless friendships as noted prior. The connection
makes you feel as if you closer than in actuality. Friendship is about being
there for each other and being able to tell each other about important issues.

It is not about who comments on Facebook quicker or who likes your Instagram
posts the most. For some reason, we are now valuing our friendships on the
frequency of interactions. People will get angry if a good friend does not like
their post or be jealous if a significant other likes another woman or man’s
photo. Social media can start negative feelings towards people because of they
interact with others online.

    The
constant use of social media is harmful to society and our view of humanity.

When we contact our friends and family through these sites we are limiting
ourselves to impersonal interactions. Your Facebook profile is how others can
define you. You share your interests, your relationship status, your job, and
appearance. This representation of an individual lowers how we perceive people
and humanity. We are known only as what we write on our pages. Our humanity is
what lets individuals be their true selves. We have the right to control what
we say and do, but should we have the right to give a false perception of who
we, individuals, are because of the posts we share. Everyone is unique because
of who we truly are. If we stop connecting with people at a personal level,
then we have lost the relationships between another that gives us meaning to
live and be a human being. We should be able to talk to one another at an
intimate level about ourselves in person and make real friends. These social
networks have damaged many things, but we must change our ways so that it does
affect the way we are as human beings.

Many people around the world use social media
websites and applications. These platforms are now being the main source of
communication for individuals and it is harmful to society and today’s youth.

Social media needs to be kept as a tool to connect with others, but not be the
primary source of how we communicate with one another. Social media is a great
resource to allow long distance communication between your friends and loved
ones, but there must be an endpoint. We cannot have social media become our
main form of communication and interaction. While there are many positives to
social media platforms, these positives outweigh the negatives that greatly
impact many people. If we continue overusing the ideal of social media websites
and applications, then it will further affect our communication, friendships,
self-expression, bullying, sense of humanity and isolation in only fatalistic
ways. There will never be is a substitute for personal interaction or a kind
conversation. Social media is a problem and we must reduce our usage of the
platforms for the good of humanity.

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