Social Media: Friend or Foe?
Social media: it’s something most teenagers of this day and age, unfortunately, can’t live without. Many teens nowadays spend the majority of their days and evenings scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, trying to keep up with what so called ‘friends’ are up to and how many likes they can get on a ‘selfie’ compared to the other guys and girls around them. The thing is, social media has become a part of life for teenagers and many adults too – and this can be harmful. So many suicides are caused by bullying over social networking such as Facebook and Twitter and, as I know from experience, cyberbullying can be even more vulgar than verbal and physical bullying. You can be the happiest and most positive person ever one day, but just one horrible message can completely change your outlook on yourself and life in general.
Many case studies show that teenagers who are linked with Facebook do much worse in exams than students without any social networking accounts. This may come as a shocking statement to some, but I can see how this statement could be true. Since I have deleted all my social media accounts (including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter), I have been much more focused on my life and my schoolwork. I feel like a completely different person and, as an anxiety sufferer, my problem feels like it is being cured.
Sadly, many teenagers do commit suicide due to cyber bullying. Take Amanda Todd for example, aged fifteen from Canada. She was a beautiful girl and had everything going for her, but was viciously cyber-bullied online. The young girl was found dead in her home in British Columbia one day after killing herself due to the pressure of social media and cyber trolls. This was after posting a nine-minute video on YouTube about her story of bullying, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, many teenagers do not have anywhere to reveal their feelings and thoughts. Sometimes, it can be extremely patronising to go to your parents or other family members about mental health. However, it’s something that must be done if you ever want to get better.
As a young teenager, I was quite literally addicted to social media. Every spare moment I got, I would be scrolling through my news feeds, checking up on what my friends were doing, what photos and videos they were liking, and who they were with. Call it stalking if you wish, but I was a very paranoid, uptight girl as a young teen. The first social network I downloaded was Instagram, and looking back on my life when I was younger, I spent far too much time sharing what I was up to rather than enjoying the moments I was having – I was forgetting one thing, which was to live for myself.
Social media is not only a threat because of cyberbullying, but is also a home to hackers and some very strange people; privacy is a key issue to this. So many teenagers, especially females, add boys and men on social networks such as Facebook, and naively agree to meet up with them. The worst part is, most of the time, the child’s parents do not know about this. Also, how is there any proof to show your teenager is not arranging to meet a fifty-year-old pedophile? Nowadays, you must be so careful about what details you give away and who you add on social media.
This may seem like a barmy idea, but I think the best thing I ever did was delete all of my social media accounts – the whole lot of them. The reason I did this? Because it made me feel like I was finally free. I know that for one fact, people now have to come to my face if they have a problem, and I don’t have to constantly be checking my notifications to see if I’ve got any messages or ‘likes’ on my photos. After deleting these accounts, I now feel like a completely changed person. It feels marvelous that I can live without having the pressure of sharing what I am up to, and I don’t feel like I have to check up on people I’m not even close with.
So the next time you’re at a concert or living a happy moment, don’t be too wrapped up in what’s going on within social media. Try taking a break from social media, or even permanently deleting it! It’ll make you appreciate life more, I guarantee…