[Opinion] Is Social Media Harmful?



Social media can be isolating and addictive, but is that our fault or social media’s? Are we able to be in complete control or is it out of our hands?

In sophomore year English class we watched a TedTalk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, about single stories. Single stories create false and overly simple versions of things, as well as form prejudices. Being an African author, she explained what a single story is by using Africa as an example. Because most media outlets and books describe Africa as being impoverished and starving, that is what Africa becomes, a barren untamed land. When you look at the full picture, instead of the single-story we are fed, you will see that Africa is a diverse continent with big cities and rural areas. 

As of right now, social media is becoming a single story. With documentaries and articles coming out every month about the “dangers of social media” it is hard to look at the bigger picture or see social media in any other light. Documentaries about social media are meant to cause fear and cause more people to watch the documentary instead of educating themselves on the topic. To prevent social media from becoming a single story we need to focus on the positive, as well as negative aspects of social media.

Most parents only focus on the negative aspects of social media, like how it is distracting during school or it causes girls to become insecure about themselves, but parents don’t educate themselves on the positive aspects of social media. What many people seem to overlook with social media, is that it is used as a platform to express our creativity and our interests. As I have gotten older I have used social media to help others by focusing on activism and spreading awareness on global issues. I try to help as many people as I possibly could and I use social media to help me. By using social media, I can express myself and what I stand and care for. 

As a teenager, it is easy for me to be defensive of social media when my mom tells me that it is bad for me. It is hard for me to see social media in that way because I use it so often. It is with great strength that I say that there are some major flaws with social media. After using social media consistently since I was 13, it still hurts seeing my friends hang out without me or see girl after girl that is skinnier and prettier than me. It is easy for me to get in the habit of watching TikTok after TikTok just for the convenience of being able to do so. Although it makes sense to blame social media for these issues, the problems stem from the user. Its not Tiktok’s fault that I overuse it, it is my fault for lacking the self control to not be on it for hours at a time. It is easy to blame social media for every problem, just like it is easy to blindly defend social media.

It is important to do everything in moderation. The reason why it is so hard to stick to a strict diet and keep weight off is that the diet is too drastic and it is not a lifestyle change. It is hard to quit something cold turkey, and sometimes it is not feasible at all. Everyone is different and can handle different things. It is ignorant to tell people that they should delete all social media on an impulse as well as it is ignorant to tell people that social media is amazing and everyone should use it 10 hours a day. Everyone is different and should make the decision themselves: Is social media really to blame or is it how we use social media that’s the problem?