Is social media bad or good? Cambridge students respond to this month’s Speakout question.
A tool to spread high school drama
I am in high school right now. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. I rarely use social media to spread useful information. It is usually scrolling through drama and girls posting about how they want a prom date.
I think social media is harmful to younger people especially because they don’t always know how to appropriately present their thoughts, which creates drama. I think social media has more pros for adults, and cons for young people.
Trading convenience for a long list of dangers
Research by MacWorld in January indicated that 98 percent of 18-24 year olds use social media as part of their everyday lives. Is it the convenience of it all? Does their boredom drive them to it? Or is it merely because it is the “in” thing to do?
A lot of people forget the negative effects it has on society today. What happened to writing letters and face-to-face communication? Social media introduces a whole new danger to the world; which includes: cyberbullying, online stalking, predators seeking teens by using fake profiles, and so much more.
Social media is easy to use and allows a person to communicate and explore without leaving the luxury of their home, car, or bed, but does the simplicity of it all really make up for the potential danger that social media can cause? The answer is no.
We’re no longer social, just addicted to media
Setting your translucent white bag next to you, you sit on the brown stained bench outside your favorite department store, your fingers frantically searching for the words to let your best friend know about the great deals from within the red brick building that you just exited. In your excitement, oblivious to you, an old man dressed in dirty tattered clothes stops at the dark gray garbage can at the end of your bench, reaching in he produces one lone empty, sticky Pepsi can, carefully placing it next to its brothers inside a bag similar to yours; life.
Deaf to the world around you, you sit upon the plush green grass of the park. Uncontrollably your fingers search for the music to be transmitted into the blue earplugs bonded to the side of your head. Unaware, behind you a young child flails her arms, screaming out for a rescuer to free her from the dark blue almost black waters of the small lake; death.
You’re standing in front of a friend’s coffin, her hands folded across her chest, you notice the small red rectangular box under her ice cold fingers. Maybe she’ll text you?
When social media becomes the master and humanity becomes the slave, it is no longer social—just media.
‘Likes,’ positive posts help build self-esteem
A study shows that over half of the comments left on someone’s picture tend to be uplifting and encouraging. This easily can build up a teen’s confidence level. Social media can also make teens feel more confident about not only themselves, but the relationships they are in, by constantly being able to stay updated with a friend’s life they never have to feel left out, or out of the loop.
There is also the ability to constantly “retweet”, or “repost” educational topics.
Although in contrast to all the positives there are, you can’t forget the cyberbullying that can take place. There are people out there that almost make it a goal to bring someone down by leaving a nasty comment.
If kids can come to the realization that a lot of the reasoning behind these hate comments are a result in lack of confidence with themselves, then social media can be more positive than negative.
Together in public, but busy staring at screens
Parents distracted by cell phones while their children run rampant doing whatever they please; families and groups of friends typing away vigorously on their cell phones at a sit-down restaurant. The relationships that have been built on social networking sites are becoming just as important as our close relationships and I don’t see it to be beneficial. The close relationships in our lives should always come first because social media has allowed people to push them aside.
Capturing and sharing a child’s first steps
The first time my daughter, Nevaeh, rolled over I caught the moment on camera just in time. I can relive this moment over and over, because of technology.
Using Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, I can connect with my friends who live right down the road, and ones that live thousands of miles away. I can send them videos and pictures of my daughter at the touch of a finger. They can feel like they are more involved in her growing up, by me sending them daily pictures and videos.
The downside to this technology is I know that I get distracted by my phone a lot in situations I probably shouldn’t have it out.
For instance, if I’m in a lecture that I’m just not feeling connected with, the first thing I do is pull up Twitter or Instagram. This takes away from my learning, and if the person next to me gets distracted easily, probably theirs too.
I know that the issue exists, but I feel it is being dramatized and is just a point to focus on the negatives. We must focus on how far our society has come, and stop poking at the little issues.
Thoughtless posts can come back to haunt you
People have stopped thinking twice about social media. They just put tons of information about themselves out there, without even considering the consequences. This has proven to be catastrophic time and time again. They don’t think about the fact that places such as their work or school, all have access to this information.
People are losing their jobs over a questionable photo being posted. Children are being bullied by people who feel powerful from behind a keyboard. These feelings are what lead to the thoughtless posts or bullying. For those reasons, I believe social media has had a negative impact.
Complaining about kids online has consequences
Social media is a unique animal.
When tame, social media is a great tool. It can be used for business uses such as marketing and media, polling customers, and advertising sales and events. When used casually by the general public, it can be a fun feature for updating friends on kids activities, silly things babies do, and great pictures from family vacations.
The concern is when someone lets the animal grow out of control. I have seen friends use social media to complain relentlessly about their husbands, friends, and sometimes even their children.
The frightening aspect of social media is when the user does not know when to stop and how to choose their words carefully.
It seems as though once these people have a taste of the freedom of spouting these words in this environment, they cannot get enough. This is when the animal of social media becomes scary and out of control.