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Social media is a topic that is up for debate all around the world. People should get to know better the effects it has on people’s lives.

While social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have undoubtedly transformed the way people communicate and interact with one another, it is also believed that the negative effects of social media far outweigh the positives. Social media is negatively affecting people all around the globe. 

First, research has shown that social media is bad for mental health. Social media is taking a toll on people’s mental health in the worst way possible. Long-term social media use has been linked to loneliness, anxiety, and depression, according to studies. These unfavorable emotions are mostly a result of the continual comparison to other people, the pressure to portray a perfect image, and the fear of missing out. 

Additionally, social media has been connected to cyberbullying, a serious issue that impacts millions of individuals. Cyberbullying, being linked to social media, is a topic that is often overlooked and forgotten about, however it is one of the most important negative effects. Cyberbullying may take many different forms, including threatening messages and abusive remarks.

The prevalence of cyberbullying has increased from 3.8% to 6.4% among female respondents to a study done in India. Cyberbullying increased from 1.9% to 5.6% among male respondents over three years. Cyberbullying victims frequently feel alone and powerless, and the long-term impact on their mental health can be quite detrimental. The reason that cyberbullying happens so often is because it is so much easier to say hurtful things to people, when you are behind a screen.

The spread of fake news on social media is becoming another very big issue. People may now distribute and disseminate false information more easily than ever before because of social media’s emergence as a major news source. Much of the information that we read on the internet is fake. When looking at websites, researchers can either reach the fake news site on their own or be referred by another website. Data shows that more than 50% of activity came organically. The fake news that is spread all over social media platforms could exert detrimental influence on election results, historical events, and public health emergencies.

Likewise, social media addiction is a genuine issue that impacts people of all ages. Daily activities, professional productivity, and interpersonal relationships may all be hampered by the incessant impulse to check notifications, read through feeds, and share updates. People in today’s world have grown to not be able to live without their phones attached to them at all times of the day. They are constantly posting on social media platforms for their followers to know what they are doing.

So even while social media offers certain advantages, including helping us stay in touch with friends and family, I think the drawbacks outweigh the benefits by a wide margin. Year by year more problems are branching off of old problems. It is only going to continue to get worse for us as people to be indulging in this daily.

We need to be more aware of how we use social media and understand the possible risks it poses. We must strive to have a more positive connection with social media that puts our mental and emotional wellness first. If there is not a change made soon, who knows where we will be as a country in the near future?

Social media should be better at providing information about mental health issues, cyberbullying, and fake news.

Emily White is a student at Sacred Heart University.