The Bad Of Social Media

Claire Hathaway, editor in chief, sophmore

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It is the 21st century, and technology is developing like never before. Most high school students have a phone or other method of virtual communication. These devices allow them to be constantly connected to the world around them.

Approximately 91% of teenagers in the United States have access to a cell phone, tablet or other portable devices. This gives them to access social networking platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and communicate with others via these sites. However, this could have a direct effect on the student and their education. Although it increases the means of communication, it also increases the amount of cyber bullying that occurs, as well as a loss of privacy.

Social media can have a negative effect on the education and success at school. Researchers from The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine at Brown University tracked female first-year college students use of media platforms and then had them report their GPA at the end of the semester. They found a correlation between lower GPA’s and a higher use of social networking sites. San Diego High sophomore Shelby Lawrence said she spends about 10-12 hours a week on social media platforms. High schoolers are using media platforms more often, and it is leading to less time being spent on academic work and studies.

In a survey conducted in California, Texas, Washington, and Arizona, researcher Alana Nunez-Garcia reported that “43.2% of the students said about two or more hours, 29.5% said between one and two hours, and 27.3% stated that they are on these sites for 30 minutes to an hour.” She also added that about half of those surveyed have more than three profiles on networking accounts.

Most also reported that they get distracted when on social media and lose track of time. Serra High School freshman Claire Gottfredson said she spends about 15-16 hours a week on media platforms. This was found to be the main issue.

Abhishek Karadkar, a journalist at the Technician, the North Carolina State University student newspaper reported: “Students neglect their studies by spending time on social networking websites rather than studying or interacting with people in person. Actively and frequently participating in social networking can negatively affect their grades or hamper their journeys to their future careers.”

Social media can have an effect on the brain of students and their mental wellness. A study done by the University of Alberta, Canada  Dr. Michele Hamn reported that 23% of teenagers aged 12 to 18 were victims of cyberbullying. It is proven to double the risk of depression as an adult and is much more dangerous than face-to-face bullying. It can occur through posting negative comments, posting abusive posts, making fun of another user, as well as hacking an account. According to media communication expert Dave Harte from Birmingham City University: “Discussions in these groups would have followed a similar pattern. People with shared interests come together but often they would disintegrate because the Internet gives people the opportunity to say things that you wouldn’t say face to face.”

Face-to-face bullying, done in public areas, allows witnesses to report the harassment. However, victims of cyberbullying usually do not tell anyone what is going on since they are too afraid, and since it is occurring online there are typically no witnesses to report it. “Kids really are hesitant to tell anyone when cyberbullying occurs,” Hamm explained. “There seems to be a common fear that if they tell their parents, for example, they’ll lose their Internet access.”

Social media platforms can have an effect on the daily schedule and lifestyle of students.  The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine reported that freshmen women in college spend nearly 12 hours, or half of their day, on social networking sites. “We found women who spend more time using some forms of media report fewer academic behaviors, such as completing homework and attending class, lower academic confidence and more problems affecting their school work, like lack of sleep and substance use,” explained Jennifer L. Walsh, PhD, of The Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine.

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, can cause serious problems in the daily lives of high school students, such as issues with online bullying, a change of lifestyle, as well as an impact on the brain. Greenfield Middle school 8th grader Jasmine Jones says she spends about 70 hours a week on social media platforms. All this time spent on networking sites can directly affect the daily life of a student and the time to devoted to the different aspects of the day.Despite all this negativity, mass communication sites can also positively influence the life of teens and allow them to improve methods of communication.

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The online edition of San Diego High School's newspaper
The Bad Of Social Media