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The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas

iHoot

The student news site of iUniversity Prep in Grapevine, Texas

iHoot

BE SAFE OR BE SORRY

The Pros and Cons of Social Media
BE+SAFE+OR+BE+SORRY
Anika Goswami

We’ve all heard of social media. I’m betting you’ve used it at least once, whether it was watching a video on TikTok or messaging a friend on Instagram. Social media is one of the many modern technologies that helps us stay connected with friends and family, build relationships, and keep ourselves entertained. But apart from all of these wonderful benefits, there is a hidden dark side that lies within the shadows. Let’s take a closer look.

 

Stay connected, enjoy entertainment, and explore!

Social media is a great way to stay connected with others and keep up with current trends. You can watch videos posted by a variety of creators, share your thoughts and opinions, and explore topics related to your interests.

 

One can find much enjoyment in scrolling through social media platforms and watching content from many different genres. Whether it’s a collection of hilarious memes or a post promoting new music, there is something for everyone. Emma Thomas shares that social media has given her  “a safe space to return to.” These things make social media a good way to relax and relieve stress.

 

Additionally, social media is a convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family. Eve Bamber says that social media “has made connecting with others so much easier, and even allowed [her] to connect with others with like minded interests!” Many social media platforms contain a chat feature, allowing users to message each other and hold conversations. This proves to be a handy way to communicate with people you otherwise may not be able to talk to, and this makes social media a great way to keep contact.

 

Apart from staying connected and enjoying entertainment, social media can be very useful for learning more about topics you’re interested in, as it offers a platform for creators to share many types of interesting and engaging content.

 

Social media platforms offer a variety of different kinds of content under many diverse genres, which leaves room for all kinds of amazing posts. Creators have the opportunity to post creations, tutorials, etc., and expand their outreach to millions of people, while viewers can dive deeper into what catches their eye and learn more about their areas of interest.

 

Social media also has an educational value. Many students struggle with certain topics in school and need resources to improve their skill level in these subjects. Video sharing platforms can help with just that.

 

For example, if a student is having trouble understanding how to format an essay, they can simply search for a tutorial, which can offer an in-depth explanation that can assist them in understanding the curriculum that has been taught in school.

 

Social media is very useful for a variety of different purposes. From keeping in touch with friends and family, to enjoying diverse entertainment genres and watching tutorials to better understand curriculum, social media platforms have it all, making it a great way to build connections, relax and refresh your mind, and study academic material.

 

The Dark Side

Despite all the benefits, there is more to social media than meets the eye. An unknown dark side. Though it can be useful for staying connected with friends and family, there are a lot of dangerous aspects as well.

 

Although social media can connect you with many people who share common interests, it can also open the door for online predators. “Social media is also the easiest way for predators and other dangerous people to stalk or harass people, and again, it is not talked about enough,” says Emma Thomas.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation found that 500,000+ people pose a threat to young children on social media, and although they mainly target 12-15 year olds, children of all ages are targeted by online predators. Approximately 90-97% of children and teens have said they used social media at least once (Pew Research Center), and therefore they comprise a large portion of social media users.

 

Besides online predators, there are also cyberbullies. When you can’t see someone’s face, it’s easy to forget they’re a human being with thoughts and feelings, and for this reason, cyberbullying has become more and more common over the years. It has in fact become so serious that it has caused severe trauma for many individuals, leaving people with harmful encounters and experiences that will impact them for the rest of their lives.

 

Apart from cyberbullies, there are also scammers. Throughout the years, online scams and illegitimate businesses on the internet have cost children and teens millions of dollars (Federal Trade Commission). You should always be especially careful when buying a product online, and try to stick to large, well-known companies that are not likely to advertise fake products, but many people are either unaware of the dangers that lurk in these waters or simply choose to ignore them.

 

Social media has often had a negative effect on a person’s physical, mental, and social health, along with their overall well being.

 

In addition to the health consequences, social media can have a negative impact on kids’ and teens’ self esteem. Many children these days measure their self worth in how many likes they get on a post or how many followers they have. As Eve Bamber states, “When you’re getting exposed to so many different images of people’s ‘amazing lives’ you don’t necessarily comprehend how everyone is just showing a highlight reel, and you begin to compare your life to theirs.” This is unhealthy because it leads to a low sense of self worth and self esteem, especially if one is comparing themselves with a friend or other social media users, which can further lead to depression and other mental disorders.

 

Social media is also another platform where peer pressure is prevalent. On the basis of toxic friendships with other social media users, many people will attempt to persuade children and teens to take part in dangerous activities, such as smoking, doing drugs, and breaking the law. All of these and more will result in serious consequences, but it is often difficult for people to realize and understand the danger at a young age.

 

One of the main reasons people use social media, other than staying connected, is entertainment. Watching a few comedic shorts after a long day won’t hurt, right? That is, until 10 minutes turns into 30, 30 turns into an hour, and 1 hour becomes 3. Popular social media sites such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube entice kids into watching more with funny videos depicting hilarious content from influencers, and although it is perfectly fine to relax by watching a few videos, people often lose track of time. As Avika Taneja states, “…it’s easier to procrastinate with this source of entertainment.” Spending an excessive amount of time on social media can lead to poor time management skills and procrastination. This results in people spending more time than what is healthy, and leads to a lack of exercise and real life social interaction.

 

And these are just some aspects of the dark side of social media. Though it is a very useful tool for staying in touch with friends and family, entertainment, and building new relationships, it can be dangerous, which is why it is important to be cautious when using it. 

 

The Good and Bad

If one is careful and alert on social media, it can be a fun and entertaining tool for one’s enjoyment and a great way to stay connected. However, if proper precautions are not taken, social media can be a dangerous platform filled with online predators, cyberbullies, and scammers. So when using social media, always remember to keep your guard up, because if you do, it can be a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends and family, connect with those who share common interests, and a convenient source of communication and entertainment.

 

Works Cited:

“Effects of Cyberbullying.” American SPCC, 5 Mar. 2021, https://americanspcc.org/impact-of-cyberbullying/.

Hashem, Hawra. “13 Positive Effects of Social Media on Our Society Today.” Kubbco, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.kubbco.com/13-positive-effects-of-social-media-on-our-society-today/.

“New Data Shows FTC Received 2.8 Million Fraud Reports from Consumers in 2021.” Federal Trade Commission, 22 Feb. 2022, https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2022/02/new-data-shows-ftc-received-28-million-fraud-reports-consumers-2021-0.

Nikolovska, Hristina. “Online Predator Statistics [2023 Update].” Screen and Reveal, 12 May 2023, https://screenandreveal.com/online-predators-statistics/.

Robinson, Lawrence, and M. A. Melinda Smith. Social Media and Mental Health – Helpguide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm.  Accessed 12 Oct. 2023.

Vogels, Emily A. “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, 10 Aug. 2022, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2022/08/10/teens-social-media-and-technology-2022/.

Fbi.gov, https://www.fbi.gov/. Accessed 12 Oct. 2023.

*quotes adjusted for grammar and spelling

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About the Contributor
Anika Goswami, News Staff Assistant
Hi, my name is Anika! I'm in 8th grade, and this is my third year at iUniversity Prep. Some of my hobbies are listening to music, playing tennis, reading, playing video games, traveling, playing piano, and spending time with my family and friends! I'm excited to be a part of iHoot this year as a Staff Assistant!

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