The evolving role of social media in student’s lives

Audrey Liang, Staff Writer

Today’s world is becoming increasingly dependent on technology, specifically social media. Wherever you go, you’ll most likely see a group of people busy on their phones, blocking out the surrounding world.

For some, social media is a platform that enables them to share their life stories and personal feelings, or express their emotions. For others it is a means of spreading messages and beliefs. Others use social media to earn a living or raise awareness for a brand or cause.

While we use social media in many different ways, we have one thing in common—our increased connection to others. Our world is becoming one large community, connected by the power of social media. Using apps like Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, we can spread news from China to the U.S. in a click of a mouse. Social media makes the lives of billions of people more convenient by spreading knowledge quickly, allowing us to become global citizens.

As a student, I use social media on a daily basis. I use it to stay updated on friends’ lives, express my emotions, and communicate with friends abroad. I also get a lot of my news from social media, and I obviously use it for the sake of entertainment. Although social media can be appropriate and helpful, an excess or misuse of social media can have serious consequences.

Today, one of the constant struggles we face is the balancing act between social media and the rest of life’s duties. While you can get useful information through social media, it may be distracting if you are constantly tempted to check it. According to Adweek, users between ages 15 and 19 spend an average of three hours a day on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. In addition to the stress of a high schooler’s work, media makes it even harder to succeed, because you have already lost three hours a day to checking that new Insta feed.

Another drawback is that  your actions on social media can often be used against you. While positivity and knowledge exist, these apps can also be full of negativity. Controversial news can generate aggressive reactions, and while social media can be a healthy outlet to express opinions, a polite dispute can easily lead to more brutal arguments. Recently, the controversial election of 2016 has divided the nation, and both sides have used social media as a tool to spread their political and ethical beliefs. Even the presidential candidates used these methods to promote themselves and attack each other, demonstrating the significant impact social media can have. Besides differing viewpoints, social media facilitates cyberbullying—malicious comments and careless jokes about sensitive topics like race and religion—which can make victims socially insecure and unsure of their own identity.

Social media makes our lives easier in many ways, but also has severe consequences if we misuse it. In the end, we as students just need to find the positivity in social media and avoid the negativity while balancing time between social media and our life.