Peer Review by Teaston (United States of America)()

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Opting Out of Social Media

By: FizzyBaguette


     As I downloaded Instagram, hesitancy lurked in the back of my mind. Although I knew how easily it could become an addiction, my friends convinced me that it would allow me to keep in touch with them easier. With a few clicks, I opted it, and it became an obsession that sucked away my time. I am not the only one struggling with social media addiction. According to Mediakix, it is estimated that 210 million people suffer from internet and social media addiction as of 2018. #Relatable, am I right? Using social media comes with a baggage of problems that are not worth its benefits, and I believe that society is better off without it.
    Social media contributes to anxiety and depression. The poster curates an image of his or her best self and anxiously waits for approval in the form of comments and likes, and the audience is subjected to the comparison of themselves and the poster, who is left wondering why they are not as good as others. Many students at my school, including myself, already feel like this way without social media, and social media worsens it. The "Monitoring the Future" survey, started in 1975, found that teens who spend 6 to 9 hours a week on social media are 47 percent more likely to say they are unhappy and increase their risk of depression by 27 percent compared to those who devote less time to social media. While it is possible that unhappy teens spend more time online, one study found out that the more they would use Facebook, the unhappier they felt, but their unhappiness did not lead to more Facebook use. This worries me, as millions of people around the world are using platforms destined to make them unhappy. Although social media delivers instant gratification, it is detrimental to one’s happiness in the long run.
    Social media usage has damaged sleeping patterns. Social media is often the last app teens check before sleeping, and they often sleep with their phones, where the temptation to check is the strongest when it is within their reach. Even if teens like myself do not sleep next to their phones, the urge to stay up late and spend time on the platform is irresistible. According to the San Diego State University, 57 percent more teens were sleep deprived in 2015 than in 1991, which happened around when most teenagers got a smartphone. Sleep deprivation is linked to compromised thinking and reasoning, susceptibility to illness, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety, proving that one of the most important functions of the body is being damaged by the use of social media before bed.
   The main argument for social media use is that it connects people and gives them a sense of belonging. A study which tested teens from 1978-2009 found that American teens have fewer friends than before, but they are less lonely now because of an increase in technology use. While it is true in some cases, it contributes to the isolation of others. According to Bradley University, nearly 43 percent of adolescents have been bullied online, and the rates are increasing due to the introducation of sociamedia. It is easier than ever to get away with bullying because there is no one to regulate the bullying. FOMO, the fear of missing out, has become more prevalent in today’s society. Teens document their hangouts through these platforms, and those not invited are aware of it. Social media usage also reduces the quality of real-world interactions, as it is much easier to scroll through one’s feed than striking up a conversation with another being. Clearly, social media platforms contribute to a user’s isolation rather than reducing it.
    It is evident that social media's downfalls outweigh the few benefits it provides. Unfortunately, Ii is always easier to say you are going to stop using social media than doing it. It took me countless tries to delete Instagram on my phone, only to redownload the app again to catch up on all I missed. While it is impossible to remove social media after it has become so integrated into society, humans should work on other ways to combat its problems, whether it is through therapy for those who suffer from anxiety and depression due to social media use or education and awareness for the public, especially teens like myself who struggle with its drawbacks. A mental health assembly at my school covered many topics, but social media was left out. The perils of social media deserve more attention, and counselors should help students find a way to live a healthy life with social media. The process will be worth it in the end. Until I figure out a way to have a balanced life involving social media, I am opting out.

 

“The 8 Social Media Addiction Statistics Everyone Needs To See.” Mediakix, 9 Apr. 2018, mediakix.com/2018/04/social-media-addiction-statistics/#gs.cffd9c.
Twenge, Jean M. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 Mar. 2018, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/09/has-the-smartphone-destroyed-a-generation/534198/.
Knorr, Caroline. “Five Ways Social Media Can Be Good for Teens.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Mar. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/03/19/5-ways-social-media-can-be-good-for-teens/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7610a7ea8c6f.
11 Facts About Cyber Bullying.” DoSomething.org, www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying.
“Cyberbullying Is Increasing in Frequency, and Counselors Know How to Address It.” Bradley University Online, 19 Dec. 2018, onlinedegrees.bradley.edu/blog/counseling-clients-who-experience-cyberbullying/.
 

Message to Readers

Comments and reviews are appreciated. Thanks for reading!


Peer Review

It drew me in with the point of view and memory.


Social media is a problem, and though it can't be taken out of society, society can learn to use it better.


I liked this person's writing style, and the way the information was introduced worked well.


I don't think so. I enjoy the personal bits of information that was littered about but used correctly and appropriately in the correct places.


You've got this, this is a good piece of work.


Reviewer Comments

I like that you didn't tell others that they had to opt out as you have done but just suggested it. I did a writing piece also on this topic, but unlike yours, I didn't do an argumentative essay on it, I did a test. No social media for one week. In the end, I ended up being more in the moment and chose to not delete it, but use it more wisely. (Self-promo, skip if you want) I recommend checking out my essay, to see the entirety of the week and the other lessons that I learned.