A win-lose situation for the younger generations.
With 2023 finally upon us, like many, I have been thinking about my resolutions and how I would like to better myself. Something I’ve constantly battled with is my love-hate relationship with social media. Social media has become one of the most influential parts of the lives of the younger generations. While access to the internet can be helpful in connecting people and spreading valuable information (looking at you TikTok), it has had damaging effects too. From cyberbullying to the spread of harmful misinformation, there is much to consider regarding the internet. All of this has made me want to change how I use social media and how often.
Students from middle school to college are becoming increasingly consumed by social media and its many features. Since the start of MySpace in 2004, social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram have become more and more popular. This sparked not only a rise in the connection between people but also an endless loop of issues many can’t escape from since the internet is so accessible and always there. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, and body image issues leading to eating disorders have been shown to be connected to many students’ social media use. The Canadian Medical Association Journal stated that “In Ontario, the proportion of teenagers reporting moderate to serious mental distress increased from 24% in 2013, to 34% in 2015 and to 39% in 2017, with parallel increases in health service utilization.”
I myself have struggled with the growing use of social media and the status it holds in society currently. In high school, I felt like I could never escape social media and its harmful effects. While there were times I enjoyed social media (who doesn’t love a good meme?), I found myself not enjoying the time I spent endlessly scrolling on my phone. While I might have felt alone in these feelings, an article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal made it clear that many students feel this way or have negative experiences connected to social media. What does this mean though?
Social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. This being the case, it’s important to be mindful of not only how often we use social media but what we share too. The idea of “once it’s on the internet it’s there forever” and a digital footprint is reason enough to think about what you do when you’re on the internet. This doesn’t mean that social media is inherently bad or something to avoid, it just means that like many of the things in our lives we have to enjoy it in moderation.
This year, let’s try to unplug and step away from being connected to the entire world. Let’s take a chance to better ourselves and grow. Happy New Year, Huskies!