Social media has benefits, risks

Photo by Today testing, Via Wikimedia commons, under Creative Commons license.

Today Testing

Photo by Today testing, Via Wikimedia commons, under Creative Commons license.

Social media has become increasingly popular amongst people, especially kids, over the past couple of years. While social media has effected kids and adults in a very positive way, there are negatives as well.

Social Media apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Tik Tok have become popular with all different ages and life styles. But the online communication, involvement in peers’ lives, and a platform you can use to speak your mind, also comes with security issues and potential mental health issues that can be detrimental to kids’ lives.

Social media has allowed people, especially teens, to meet new friends, and made it easier to communicate with friends you already have made. About 90 percent of teens actively use or have used a social media account according to American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Almost 70 percent of teen social media users say that social media has helped them make new friends and use their platform to stay in touch according to Pew Research Center. But finding new people is not the only benefits of social media.

Social media provides a platform for all people to express what they think and speak on major issues in our world today. For example, popular Youtube and TikTok influencer Amelie Zilber uses social media to share things about herself, but also uses it to bring attention to major political and world issues. For example, on her TikTok, she recently posted about the importance of voting, the torturing of Muslims and China, the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, and other similar issues.

Just as influencers are able to speak their mind, so, too, politicians  use social medias to convey their message. U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, otherwise known as AOC, has been trying to spread her thoughts to the younger generation and has been aided by apps like Twitch and Instagram. For example, Cortez has done multiple twitch streams playing different games with others to convey her political thoughts to everyone. But with the positives of social media, there are also negatives.

Despite the opportunities social media provides, it can have a heavy impact on one’s mental health. Young people age 15-24 spend an average of 3 hours and 5 minutes on social media per day according to JAMA Psychiatry. According to the same source, teens who actively use social media for more than 3 hours a day are at a “heightened risk of mental health problems.”

Additionally, social media can expose people, especially teens, to identity theft, hacking, and other security problems. According to the Pew Trust, 13 percent of Americans have had their social media accounts taken over by an unauthorized user, which in hindsight might not seem like much, but that is a huge amount of people.



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