Nowadays just about anyone and everyone has some form of social media that they use. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more they are becoming more present in our every day lives. I wonder as we incorporate these into our daily lives what effect they have on us, and does the good out weigh the bad. Here is a list of pros and cons of using social media.
Pros: Why is social media good?
Social media and technology offer us greater convenience and connectivity:
- staying connected with family and friends worldwide via email, text, FaceTime, etc.
- quick access to information and research
- banking and bill pay at our fingertips
- online learning, job skills, content discovery (YouTube)
- involvement in civic engagement (fundraising, social awareness, provides a voice)
- great marketing tools
- opportunities for remote employment
See social media can be a good thing, but what about the cons?
Cons: Why is social media bad?
Along with the good comes the bad. With all of its benefits, the nature of social media presents a range of potential issues.
- Online vs Reality. Social media itself is not the problem. It is the way people use it in place of actual communication and in-person socializing. “Friends” on social media may not actually be friends, and may even be strangers.
- Increased usage. The more time spent on social media can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that is not age appropriate.
- Social Media is addicting. When you’re playing a game or accomplishing a task, you seek to do it as well as you can. Once you succeed, your brain will give you a dose of dopamine and other happiness hormones, making you happy. The same mechanism functions when you post a picture to Instagram or Facebook. Once you see all the notifications for likes and positive comments popping up on your screen, you’ll subconsciously register it as a reward. But that’s not all, social media is full of mood-modifying experiences.
- Fear of Missing Out. FOMO has become a common theme, and often leads to continual checking of social media sites. The idea that you might miss out on something if you’re not online can affect your mental health.
- Self-image issues. Social media sites provide tools that allow people to earn others’ approval for their appearance and the possibility to compare themselves to others. It can be associated with body image issues. The “selfieholics” and people who spend most of their time posting and scrolling are the ones most vulnerable to this. In fact, most college girls who use Facebook at least five times a day are likely to link their self-worth to their looks. That doesn’t mean that the main problem is social media; it only provides a medium for it, which further elevates the problem. It also promotes the same sort of behavior to others.
Being aware of the pros and cons will help make balancing real life and social media life easier. Also, setting a time limit on access to the apps you use is always helpful.