Social Media: is it all positive?

Sunday 12 February

Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have at least one account on social media platforms. Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. New ones like BeReal and TikTok. Once a great tool for communication and sharing ideas, opinions and memories, social media now is quickly becoming the most damaging part of the internet.

Facebook was created in Massachusetts nearly 20 years ago. Since then, a dozen other platforms have popped up. Some have been taken down, like the short-lived Kik, (which has become TikTok), Vine and many more.

Nowadays, it seems like we live our lives through social media. We post when we look and feel our best, when we’re on exciting and exotic holidays, out with our friends. We seek social validation and approval in this way, even if we’re doing so subconsciously. The “doom scroll” is a newly coined term describing the addictive, time-wasting activity of scrolling through TikTok and Instagram. We are all guilty of it, especially in Gen Z. Our parents, too, are becoming addicted to sites like Facebook (we all know Facebook mums are the worst…).

I can’t deny that social media has some brilliant uses. It allows us to connect with people from all over the world, breaking down barriers of distance and time zones. We can use platforms like Facebook to reconnect with old school friends and stay up to date with family members. I’m pretty sure we all have a family group chat on WhatsApp – yet another positive of the world of social media.

Unfortunately, even as a user of it myself, I have to say that the benefits of social media are slowly being overpowered by the negatives. We face cyberbullying, cancel-culture, FOMO, and endless mental health maladies like depression and anxiety. As someone who struggles with anxiety, I cannot say that social media has helped in anyway with it. Looking through Instagram often gives me a huge wave of anxiety, along with comparison and FOMO. Where does it end?

The Lanier Law Firm reached out to me about writing a post directed to the harmful effects of social media. I couldn’t reject this idea for a blog post. Their page highlights many issues about the ever-growing networks.

An outstanding fact for me is that 4.8 billion people are estimated to use social media every single day. That’s over half of the world’s population! Lanier predict that in four years’ time, that number will augment to 6 billion. This saddens me, as I have seen first-hand the problems that arise through using these platforms daily, as I’m sure we all have.

Our generation in particular is obsessed with social media. Take a look at your screen time now – how much of that screen time is consumed by social media platforms? It’s hard to say that we are “addicted” to social media, as it has kind of become our lives. We use it to text our friends before lectures asking to meet them to go in together, to meet old friends for coffee, to plan group socials etc. In a way, in order to stay in the loop, we have to be “addicted” to social media.

How often do you check your phone, waiting for messages off people, and get saddened when you haven’t heard from people all day? This is a harmful effect that social media gives us. We get a rush of dopamine when we text with a certain person, but that quickly goes away when that conversation runs out and we desperately try to spark another with someone else.

Through this, arises the problem of social anxiety. I strongly believe that since the rise of social media, and the ease of constructively writing messages back to people with lots of thought, has made in real life conversations so much harder. Lockdown has not helped with the increase in cases of social anxiety across all ages. Together with the overuse of social media, our generation and the ones below, are in danger of having severe levels of social anxiety. To evident this, Lanier claims that 42% of teens admit that social media platforms keep them from connecting with their friends in person, because we are all consumed with each other online.

We choose to spend days at home, on TikTok or what not, instead of hanging out with our friends in person. When did it get to this? My parents used to have to plan a date or a meetup with friends either in person, saying be at X for Y time on Z day, or through the landline. Now we spend ages in group chats trying to find a suitable day and time for everyone. Where’s the spontaneity of our generation gone?

Instagram, without doubt, is the most dangerous platform for teens’ mental health. We scroll, we compare. We scroll and find more things about our lives that we dislike. Because we’re not out on a Friday night, or not travelling the world, or we don’t have over 1,000 followers. Problems like FOMO, anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia and bullying have risen an incredible amount due to platforms like Insta. At night, we don’t sleep, due to the blue light – which is not a myth, in fact. Our lives are literally consumed by social media.

The most damaging part of sites like Instagram, in my opinion, is the effect on body dysmorphia through comparison. I have experienced this first-hand, as it has been shown that the problem is worse with girls. However, I know that guys struggle with this just as bad, and with the society we’re living in, still guys don’t know how to voice their feelings on topics like this, as they fear ridicule from their peers and don’t feel comfortable sharing. Body dysmorphia is a huge issue that we must battle, and my first feeling toward this is to radically control our screen time. Unfollow those accounts that no longer serve us and follow only positive accounts that make us feel good about ourselves.

I don’t want this post to scare you from using social media, as I know that it’s incredibly hard to avoid using it. Instead, I hope this educates you on perhaps some well-known facts about the harmful effects of the networks, which we must keep in mind and keep reiterating in order to get the word out especially to the younger people in the world.

If you want to take a closer look at some of the statistics and facts behind social media, check out Lanier Law Firm’s site on Social Media Addiction Stats:

One response to “Social Media: is it all positive?”

  1. […] becoming more essential to do so, with the harmful effects of social media (see my last post here: Social Media: Is it all positive? .) and the damage of blue light to our eyes and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: