What's wrong with social media?
Imagine this: a world full of swiping, tapping and scrolling instead of talking, socialising and exercising. Well, if we’re not careful that’s going to turn into a reality.
I can’t lie; I am an avid user of social media. However, as the years go by and technology gets even more complicated, our obsession with liking, posting and following is becoming so extreme that people are forgetting how to communicate with real-life human beings.
As I said, I can’t lie, I use social media and I think there are many wonderful things you can do on the likes of Instagram and Facebook. For example, you can find long lost friends or post a hilarious video for all your followers to enjoy. However, there are millions of pages of total garbage that haunts the chain of social media apps, such as my first point: food.
I swipe down my Instagram feed and I come across pictures of my friend’s food. I have one question: why? What do I learn from that picture except you like your Mum's homemade lasagne or the milkshakes at McDonalds? Did you know that food is the top category on platforms like Pinterest- making up 54% of discussions? Personally, I find this total nonsense and it’s one of the things on social media that annoys me.
“A lot of people use social media to share mundane things or for self-glorification. I try to use it to share interesting things with people.” Ashton Kutcher
Unfortunately, I believe social media has started to turn into a popularity contest. Every day on Snapchat, I get someone telling me to like their post on Instagram. As well as this, people let total strangers follow them even when they have no idea who they are! The number that sits beside ‘followers’ and ‘likes’ has gradually turned into a popularity number and the satisfaction of a ‘double tap’ is becoming increasingly worrying. Why do people get so much satisfaction over how many followers or likes they get? Surely the life outside your phone is more valuable?
Sadly, a lot of people use social media in the wrong way. It should be a platform to communicate and connect to other people. However, some people are using it as a weapon for bullying. Personally, I believe it’s cowardly and unacceptable. Bullying comes in a number of forms, but because social media has become a lot easier to use as a tool to attack people, cyber-bullying has become the number one choice of the gutless and cruel.
Bullies use their phone and laptop screens as a shield to hide behind to attack people for fun. Surely there is a way to prevent this? As well as bullying, insecurity is becoming worse because of social media. Hundreds of pictures of the “ideal woman” pop up on girls’ social media feeds making them feel like they’re not ‘perfect’ because of a photo-shopped image of a Kardashian. This makes them feel insecure about the way they look which could potentially lead to other dangerous after effects.
However, while social media is a weapon for some, it has been a tool for freedom for others. It has helped people embrace and accept diversity, welcoming people of every ethnicity and sexuality. I think this has happened because social media has become a way of connecting and meeting other people who have similar interests as you which makes people more accepting because you realise that not everyone is or can be the same.
Hopefully, in the future, all the negative things that live on social media will disappear and social media will just be a way of expressing yourself, connecting with other people and communicating with friends and family.
“When it comes to social media, there are just times I turn off the world, you know. There are just some times you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you've got to set those phones down.” –Michelle Obama
To make sure social media doesn’t take over our lives, I believe it’s important to take a step back from your phone to ensure you don’t get too sucked in with swiping, tapping and scrolling. If not, I believe that our world will start to turn into robots. In the words of Liam Payne, “kids should be out, living their lives, getting out and enjoying themselves”- sadly, this is something I believe most kids are not doing at the moment.
Hannah Haffenden, Y10