It is not a secret that social media plays an important role in the lives of people living in contemporary society. Various platforms appear and advance every year, giving individuals a possibility to entertain themselves, communicate with their friends, follow the lives of celebrities and influencers, and enrich their knowledge on specific subjects. Despite all the unique and innovative features of social media, it is largely believed that it has a negative influence on young adults. Millions of people all around the world claim that such social networks as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter create an unhealthy environment that harms the overall perception of life and brings challenges to society as a whole. Therefore, the following paper will prove that social media has a detrimental impact on young adults because it destroys their understanding of time, ruins their emotional well-being, pushes them to follow a specific artificial image created online, and exposes them to bullying and gossip.
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How Social Media Works
Before discussing the negative effects of social media in detail, it is essential to understand how it works and how these harmful influences emerge. The basic function of social media and, at the same time, its biggest benefit is interaction. Individuals can reach anyone within a few seconds no matter where another person is or what time zone they live in. Additionally, it is not only about communicating, it is also about sharing something more than just words. People post pictures of their achievements, successes, presents, and other happy moments, therefore; creating a certain image of themselves and showing it to other individuals. Therefore, it can be stated that the mentioned features play a significant role in contributing to the appearance of negative influences on the mental health of young adults. The following paragraphs will discuss these influences in more detail.
Destroying the Understanding of Time
One of the most obvious negative impacts of social media that can come to mind is that it plays with people’s understating of time and, eventually, life schedules. Once individuals enter Instagram or Facebook, they are overwhelmed with information that they think they need to read right at this moment. Therefore, they develop an addiction which is a terrible impact of online networking that “can exasperate individual lives also” (Akram and Kumar 352). Young adults scroll their social media for hours, get lost in time, procrastinate, and fail to complete their responsibilities and daily tasks (Akram and Kumar 352). This also leads to them developing sleeping problems and problems with concentration, organization, and time management. Thus, it can be stated that people unconsciously lose their understanding of time while developing awful addictions to social media networks.
Ruining Young Adults’ Emotional Well-Being
It is also confirmed by numerous studies that social media negatively influences individuals’ self-esteem and encourages them to develop depressing thoughts. For instance, it has been shown that, “for college students, approximately one third express mild depressive symptom references on Facebook, and that Facebook use has a negative impact on their cognitive and emotional well-being” (Wood et al. 166). This is probably due to the fact that a large amount of information that is being presented on social media contains violence and depressing news and stories for the purpose of provoking emotion and making the audience interested. However, journalists who create these stories do not take into consideration that this type of information has a detrimental effect on young adults’ mental health and well-being.
Pushing to Follow an Artificial Image Created Online
As mentioned earlier in the paper, people use social media in order to show off their accomplishments and successes, share happy moments, and show expensive presents. At the same time, a very little percentage of individuals are brave enough to share both positive and negative things that happen in their life. As a result, young adults develop a specific image of an ideal life in their minds and feel that they have to follow it in order to keep up with their peers and friends. They compare themselves to others, get disappointed in themselves for not having the same ideal life, and, eventually, lose their self-esteem and become closed and anti-social (Burch). Such negative thoughts can even lead to individuals developing suicidal thoughts or losing interest in being themselves and pursuing their dreams while haunting the ideal life presented by others.
Exposing to Bullying and Gossips
Another significant negative influence of social media on young adults is the fact that it exposes them to large amounts of bullying and gossip. Due to the fact that on social media networks people do not have to interact with each other face-to-face, they feel braver to express their opinions when they do not like something or do not agree with something (Siddiqui and Singh 72). Consequently, they become more likely to humiliate each other, write angry comments, and engage in discussions that can be considered acts of bullying and gossip spreading (Siddiqui and Singh 72). This creates a harmful environment on social media networks where pope constantly feel attacked by others and are afraid to communicate with each other because of that which destroys the basic function of media – to interact.
Despite all the mentioned negative effects, there are still a number of positive influences of social media. One of the most obvious and valuable ones especially for the young generation is connectivity. No matter what people’s location is, they can connect with anyone from anywhere and, as a result, develop strong personal relationships (Akram and Kumar 351). This benefit can also be counted as an educational experience because while getting acquainted with people from other cultures, individuals can learn a lot about their history, traditions, and distinguishing features (Akram and Kumar 151). This advantage of social media networks seems to be very significant and valuable for the representatives of young generations; therefore, many people can claim that positivity is predominant. Nevertheless, there are definitely more negative influences that bring harm to the mental and emotional well-being of young adults.
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Unfortunately, there is nothing that could be able to eliminate the negative effects of social media forever. New platforms continue to develop and advance, giving people even more possibilities to be exposed to all the negative impacts. One of the helpful things that could be done is encouraging young adults to educate themselves concerning these negative impacts and understand that not everything that is presented on social media is real and should be followed. This strategy might help to educate them and teach them to look at things from different perspectives and be more critical and objective whenever they see something on Instagram or Facebook.
To summarize, social media is an amazing place that allows individuals to communicate with others, deepen their knowledge on specific topics, find new friends, and share their important life events and successes. Even though it seems like a great experience, social media has many negative effects on the mental well-being of young adults and can even cause them to develop suicidal thoughts. This happens mainly because a large percentage of information on social networks is negative and artificial, creating a wrong image of life in the minds of individuals. Therefore, the presented paper proved that social media has a negative influence on young adults by discussing some of the harmful effects in detail.
Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A Study on Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 10, 2017, pp. 347-354.
Burch, Kelly. “How Social Media Effects the Mental Health of Teenagers.” Insider, 2020, Web.
Wood, Megan A., William M. Bukowski, and Eric Lis. “The Digital Self: How Social Media Serves as a Setting that Shapes Youth’s Emotional Experiences.” Adolescent Research Review, vol. 1, no. 2, 2016, pp. 163-173.
Siddiqui, Shabnoor, and Tajinder Singh. “Social Media its Impact with Positive and Negative Aspects.” International Journal of Computer Applications Technology and Research, vol. 5, no. 2, 2016, pp. 71-75.