Social Media is a positive communication tool and yet the negative effects it has on my peers can create problems that are difficult to remedy. An individual’s self and societal worth will at times be measured according to popular opinion and trends. Social media is like an addiction, driving the way we think, how we interact with others, and it affects our perceptions of both ourselves and of the outside world. The Internet is the reason behind prosperity in many areas but like most things, it is also one that has its drawbacks. The Internet can be addictive and is known as a culprit in an actual illness, one that goes by the name of Internet Addiction Disorder.
Internet Addiction Disorder refers to excessive computer use, which interferes with everyday life. Among other drawbacks of the use of the Internet, IAD should seem like the biggest consequence of time-killing online, but it isn’t. Although the Internet and modern cellular devices such as the iPhone are useful tools abuse of them has lead to many a cause of distress.
Distress such as the one many parents have felt since the last decade or so when online social networking services like Facebook garnered the public’s interest and led to an Internet boom. Facebook is the king of global social networking. It has been known to be the cause of many divorces, failed relationships, lost friendships, and among the worst possible scenarios, it has been known to be of assistance to kidnappers and stalkers. Facebook uses your personal information to help others find you. Facebook is all about finding and sharing your day-to-day experiences and thoughts with “friends.” In fact, most Facebook users have distant or unknown friends who have access to seeing their profiles at any time, keeping track of one through posts, tags and location updates unless cautionary measures are taken.
Anxiety is a shared disorder in many teenagers today and how could it not be? Through the use and with the help of popular social networking sites, one can find that our safety is becoming less guaranteed. While teenagers see Facebook and Instagram as a nice way to keep up with friends and boost their status online, others may see it as an advantageous way to reap profit out of the naiveté of children.
Teenagers and adults alike often tend to throw caution to the wind when it comes to online use, no harm is seen in the scantily clad pictures uploaded online or in the offensive comments posted. The real harm done — most times — cannot be seen. The harm done is not visible to the cyber bully or to the individual who uploaded and shared an exposing photo with friends; the harm is done to their self-esteem and reputation.
The pressure to be perfect is high; the goal in mind is acceptance. The “likes” we strive for in pictures are just another way we unconsciously send a message to each other of what’s “in” and what’s “out,” who’s cool and who is not.
Leslie Pacheco is a 12th-grader at CUHS who enjoys singing, acting, writing poetry and loves cats. She’s hoping to be accepted to IVUP and be a student in the program next year.