Break is starting; think about how to use social media

Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok; social media has a hold on the world, and the reliance on these apps and platforms has created numerous problems as well as muddling the trueness of information shared on these platforms. Many students use at least one, if not multiple platforms, and don’t see the problem with social media. They view it as a great place to talk to their friends, post cool images and writing, and overall it’s a large part of their lives. But, how much social media intake is too much?

A series of polls by Common Sense Media and Kahoot have shown nearly 54% of students across the globe think it’s okay to share something on social media if it is funny and likeable – even if the information being shared is false. Anyone who uses a social media platform, has most likely stumbled across a post that is fake, fabricated, or even propaganda disguised as real news. From 2015-2021, social media usage has gone up 12%, showing that currently, 82% of the U.S. population has a social media account.

Social media, like anything, has pros and cons. Being responsible and self-aware is key when it comes to using these particular platforms.

Social media has become platforms have become spaces for misuse, bullying, fake information, addiction and numerous other problems that affect the well-being — mental health especially — of everyone who uses it. But, it is also helpful, entertaining, connecting, and a resource for information. Specifically, nearly 54% of students say social media is a good place to stay up-to-date on the world’s news, and while this isn’t completely false, it isn’t completely true either. As of 2020, social media is the least trusted news source worldwide. Only 35% of people say they trust social media, down 40% from 2019, and the lowest percentage historically. 67% of Americans have come across fake news, indicating that social media isn’t the best place to get information from.

Social media is not always a bad thing; in fact, it can be a great thing at times. It allows people to catch up with friends, stay up to date with mainstream things such as celebrities, current events, and whether today is a bones or no bones day. But, the intake students get is often far too much, and a lot of the information being received has a high likelihood of being false or fabricated.

Social media usage has gone up over school breaks. Looking at screen time in class with my peers, a lot of us were taken aback by how much time we really spend on these platforms. So, how do you limit the time spent and intake you get? How do you get off social media completely? There are many easy, non-damaging ways to limit intake and still stay up to date. The most obvious is texting and calling friends. If social media is the place to talk to friends, texting works just as well, but without the constant stream of information. If social media as just a fun thing to do when bored, why not try picking up a new hobby? The sky is the limit.

If the time spent on social media platforms is too much and getting out of control, screen time limits and monitoring is a great way to go.

Social media, like anything, has pros and cons. Being responsible and self-aware is key when it comes to using these particular platforms, and knowing how to identify the disadvantages will be helpful in staying safe and mentally healthy.