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The Age Of Information Or Manipulation?

Everyone knows when they’ve spent a little too much time online for the day, whether it’s the pounding headache or the passionate anger after coming out of a political rabbit hole on Reddit. Social media especially is harmful to our mental heath, yet you can find most people on at least one platform. Social media […]

Everyone knows when they’ve spent a little too much time online for the day, whether it’s the pounding headache or the passionate anger after coming out of a political rabbit hole on Reddit. Social media especially is harmful to our mental heath, yet you can find most people on at least one platform. Social media usage has skyrocketed in the last decade. However, what effects has it had on our society? What has it stolen from younger generations growing up in an time that values outside rather than inside beauty. What has it done to humanity’s ability to have conversations and disagree?

Being a teen is hard enough without feeling a constant pressure to look or act a certain way. Social media has drastically manipulated the way in which teens view themselves and their lives. The detrimental effects of social media have increased exponentially, especially within the last decade. Not only have apps like Instagram and Facebook set an unrealistic expectation of beauty into the minds of young adults, but it has also created a false narrative that some peoples’ lives are free from challenges and set-backs.

“Being a teenager is hard enough and I feel like social media adds a whole other layer of things to worry about and deal with,” Kylie Scarbrough (‘21) says.

Social media has poisoned the minds of young adults by forcing them to believe that their worth is measured in the amount of red hearts next to their photo. It has subtly altered our abilities to connect and have meaningful conversations.

“Self confidence is hard because you see all these models and stuff, and once you see them, you start comparing yourself to them,” Emma Frink (’21) says.

Social media is not just for sharing pictures and videos. It has also expanded into an easily accessible news outlet. Although not always reliable, it has become a common resource for adults and adolescents alike.

“I think social media plays a big role in influencing the younger generations when it comes to politics. I think social media has created more separation between both political sides,” Kylie claims.

In many ways, social media has desensitized us in a way that makes us incapable of having differing opinions. Not only is the differentiating opinions an issue, but the false news spread through social media has created an inability to agree on truth. Too much information leaves room for interpretation and lies. Without the ability to agree on the truth, everyone has their own version of it and there is no need for human conversations at all.

“It creates more of a divide because sometimes you see one side to a political story,” Emma says. “I think a lot of kids our age see something on social media and don’t go any further.”

The circulation of misinformation causes a loss of understanding between people with differing opinions. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how somebody thinks a certain way because you’ve never been exposed to the same “truth” or information that formulated that opinion for them.

Social media in general is not an evil place that should be avoided at all costs. However, just like most things in life, it should be used in moderation. A word of advice to all young adults entering the social media world: set boundaries for yourself regarding the amount of time you are online. Social media is a tool and a pastime, but it is not your whole life nor should it take up as much time as we find ourselves giving it.

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