We all love our phones and there’s no doubt about it. Im sure as soon as school ends one of the first things you will do is check your phones, send streaks and text people back. What if I told you that your instagram and snapchat has caused many of the mental health issues in teens that we see today. Many teens have become less social and would rather stay on their phones, watch youtube or binge netflix in their rooms by themselves than be downstairs talking with their family. Even if you are talking with your family the phone is still on you at all times right? Social media having a priority over things in our lives is one of the biggest issues of our generation. Social media has a negative impact on our generation.
Many sources have mentioned mental illness as becoming more popular in teens and young adults on social media. Social media has been causing more mental health issues than ever before. Social media causes many people to compare themselves to others and think negatively of themselves. These thoughts can lead to many body image disorders and other mental illnesses. One study out of the University of Pittsburgh found a connection between time spent on social media apps and negative body image feedback. Those who spend more time on social media have 2 times the risk of developing eating and body concerns. Results from a separate study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine showed that the more time adolescence spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and show symptoms of depression. Many could argue the mental health issues were already there in your genes they have just become more recognized. I would disagree because Social media, for example, has been proven to have a correlation to mental health. It can make people think negatively about their bodies and degrade themselves for not looking a certain way. Those factors can lead to body or eating disorders and poor mental health.
In correlation with mental disorders, we have become less social. With our phones being at our fingertips it’s easier for people to call or text someone rather than to talk face-to-face with them. Then, when it comes time for someone to have a face-to-face conversation or meet someone new, people get anxious and don’t know what they are going to say. A lot of teens use their phones even when they are with their friends. Sometimes we just sit on our phones in silence in the same room as our friends, sending them funny videos and texts. According to a study organized by Flashgap, a photo sharing application, found that 87% of adolescents have admitted to missing out on a conversation due to the distraction of their cell phone. Some might argue that people can be more social with social media because you can reach out to others. To some extent that is true but, face-to-face interaction is crucial to the developmental stages of an adolescent and many are receiving less and less of that interaction on a daily basis
Many people in today's world are very impatient and that’s because our attention spans have become shorter. We are so used to instant gratification with all he answers being right at our fingertips. In a recent study of 2",112 people Microsoft found that our attentions are progressively becoming shorter. This study found that the average attention span is 8 seconds, compared to 12 seconds in the year 2",000. In the U.S. economy, slow website browsers cost more than $5 billion annually because people leave the site before it can even load. An average website will take 7 seconds to load but most people will end up clicking out of the website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This article from Engadget.com says “A similar study by Jampp found that our attention span decreases by 88 percent every year. If this persists, it won't take long before the human race is barely able to focus.” Some could say attention spans have become longer because we have to sit and read things on social media. It’s not spoken to us so we have to read it ourselves. These studies have proven that our attention span has become shorter. When people wait for things to load, after 3-10 seconds people get frustrated and lose patients & those habits are bleeding into our daily lives.
Another negative effect that social media has on our generation is people are becoming more narcissistic than ever before. People have started to feel empowered by their likes, comments and followers. People of all ages have become more comfortable with posting everything they are doing on social media. This has caused a competition of who can show off their life hand make it look the best. W. Keith Campbell explains: "In data from 37",000 college students, narcissistic personality traits rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to the present." The comparison to obesity suggests that narcissism is another epidemic in America.” Other studies are finding that people who score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire tend to have more followers on facebook, more tagged pictures and update their profile statuses more frequently. Critics might say that people are only using the app as its intended to be used and to reach out to their friends and family. People are using the app the way it is intended but they are also putting the wrong thought in their heads while using it. For example, with Facebook the intention is to share things with your friends but while some people are using social media correctly they are thinking about how they can make their life seem better than others. People think of ways to make it look like their kids and family are more accomplished than other families while still using the app correctly but with the wrong thoughts.
Lastly, my final factor that ties into some of the negative effects social media has is people can get cyber bullied or become a cyber bully. Even with privacy settings in place, teens can collect thousands of followers on social media. The more people on the friend list, the more people have access to screenshot photos, Snapchats and stories and then proceed use them for other purposes. There is no privacy on social media. In 2016 a study was done to show the percentages of people who have experienced cyberbullying in the last 9 years. The amount of people who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetime nearly doubled. In 2007, 18% of people said they had experienced cyberbullying. In 2016 the study found that the number had shot up to 34%. Some might say it’s no worse than it has been, it just has moved online instead of in person bullying. While that is true, Social media allows for the bullying to get around faster and to more people, affecting the person getting bullied even more.
In conclusion, Social media does have a negative affect on our generation. Social media is always going to be apart of our generation and isn’t going away anytime soon. Therefore if social media stays, so do all of these issues that come with it. I’m not telling you to stop using social media all together, but rather to watch what it is doing to you and your habits and mental health. These mental health issues not only come about in your but, but your friends as well. We need to be advocates for each other and watch our friends and family. We want to always check up on them even if you think nothing is wrong because you might never know what your best friend or family member is going through at the moment.