Does Social Media Control You?

Does Social Media Control You?

By: Korina Horvat (she/her)
October 30, 2020

AN INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL MEDIA:

Most Students at Glasgow have phones and use Social Media. There are many interesting platforms to choose from! For example, we have Snapchat and WhatsApp, which you can use for messaging and socializing with friends and family. There is also Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram, which you can use to post videos and pictures for the world to see. Of course, there’s no shame in having social media, right? There are so many pros to using all of these platforms. But what about the cons?

DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA:

There are many dangers online when it comes to Social Media. Most problems mainly pop up if you aren’t careful with where you share your personal information. There are also cyberbullies, predators, and many dangerous challenges which if played, result in hurting yourself and the people around you. Lastly, we have an addiction. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION?

Social Media addiction is one of the most dangerous problems when it comes to being a social media user. Although it is dangerous, it can be so much more preventable than other dangers because you are the one in charge.

According to a study by Harvard University, social networking sites light up the same part of the brain that also ignites when using an addictive substance. When an individual gets a positive notification, the brain receives a rush of dopamine causing him or her to feel good. Overtime getting more and more notifications causes an individual to become addicted due to the constant rush of dopamine connected with each notification. Therefore, the brain rewires itself through this good feeling from the dopamine rush, making people desire likes, retweets, mentions, and more. Since your brain connects the positive notifications to feeling more fulfilled, the negative notifications can also have the same impact, but opposite, causing you to feel worse. After using Social Media for an extended amount of time, do you feel drained or inspired, and refreshed? Of course, you may be saying both, based on what you do for a certain period of time. One form of addiction is called Nomophobia, where the individual is scared to detach from their phone, in fear of missing out.

SYSTEMS:

According to a documentary called the Social Dilemma, Social Media platform creators develop apps to create addiction among users like you and me. They want you to spend as much time on social media as possible to advertise and make money. By spending a lot of time scrolling through social media, the platform developers can see what you searched for, what you liked, who you follow, and mainly what you enjoy seeing. The problem is, they will have a lot of your information, making it harder for you to resist, and easier for the developers to make money.

Now that you know what Social Media addiction is, you may be wondering if you are addicted. Here are some signs of addiction you may want to be aware of;

Having an urge to constantly check notifications

Checking Social Media every chance you get

Struggling to detach from your phone

Feeling moody or drained when spending a lot of time on social media, rather than inspired and motivated

 

WHAT ABOUT STUDENTS AT GLASGOW?

213 students at our school filled out a survey form about social media addiction. The average amount of time the students THINK they spend on social media daily was estimated at three hours. After filling out that question, I asked them to check their actual screen time. From the responses on the form, the average time spent on social media is 4.84 hours daily, with 1 hour the shortest amount of time and 17 hours the longest.

Here are some of the pros and cons participants wrote about social media:

“Social media is a place to connect, but it’s also a place to disconnect you from reality; the outside world. It absorbs you slowly.” – Amel B.

“I like staying connected and socializing with friends but Social Media makes me feel insecure when looking at the beauty standards I feel I have to compete with.” – Anonymous

“I really don’t like how negative it can be. I see videos that tear people down. I do like how it gives you tips and tricks. “ – Rewan F.

I interviewed three students, Linnea Chapman (7th Grader, social media addict) Dorian Horvat (6th grader), and Amner B. Gonzales (7th grader). I asked them many questions, including how they feel about Social Media. Here are some main points:

“It’s better to be yourself and have no friends than to have a ton of friends and nothing of yourself,” said Linnea Chapman. Amner also pointed out that everyone should feel confident in their own skin and decisions. Their tips are to stay socially interactive with friends and to go outside for at least 2 hours a day. Linnea said, “Whenever I’m on social media for a long period of time, I’m really moody and drained. My day worsens when I use Tik Tok or Insta.” Amner and Dorian pointed out they only go for around 5 mins to check notifications but they don’t spend as many hours as Linnea. In conclusion, Linnea had a harder time sleeping and staying motivated than the others because she was on her phone all the time.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR READING, HAVE AN AMAZING DAY, AND STAY SAFE!