Graphic by Sophia Weis
Social media’s presence in our world has expanded to the point where it can be both a positive source of entertainment and communication and a tool used for harassment and bullying.
The toxicity that can be found on social media can make a number of students’ lives far more difficult and/or far better depending how they use it.
“I do love social media and I think I like it more than I hate it so I want to say the pros outweigh the cons but then again my addiction to it is a con, no matter how much I love it and could just sit there all day and watch Tiktoks,” freshman Elena Hayden said.
There are good things and bad things about social media, but oftentimes the bad outweighs the good. The bullying portrayed on these platforms has serious effects on people’s mental and physical health.
“A lot of people online contributed to my bad mental health,” Hayden said.
Good mental health is essential in today’s world with all the stress of school, jobs, politics, and the pandemic — it’s something many schools and parents all around the world hope for their students and children to acquire. Social media can tear down efforts at good mental health by destroying self-esteem and confidence. Many people recognize the lack of respect in the social media community.
“I’ve mostly [encountered] body shaming and getting a lot of politics involved and stuff like that,” freshman Allison Gonser said about her experiences online. “[People can be] really toxic, and it’s not as much fun anymore, it’s just annoying.”
As time goes on, people become accustomed to harmful behavior on social media. This behavior is not healthy.
“I know people get used to the bullying and trolling but they shouldn’t have to,” Hayden said.
There are only so many ways to rise above situations like cyber-bullying and harmful encounters. The Medical Express provided a list of ways you can minimize the negative impacts of social media and how to use it in a positive way. If introduced at a young age, social media can play an unnecessarily large role in life that can end up more damaging than beneficial.
“I highly recommend not introducing your kid or future kids to social media for as long as possible,” Hayden said.
Social media can be dangerous because of how addicting it is to stay hooked on the screen. Recent documentaries shed light on this fact.
“I’m always just tricking myself into thinking that I would rather stay in front of a screen than actually do something with my life,” Hayden said.