Social media consists of different websites and applications that can be used to interact and share information with other users. Despite the fact that it has widely progressed over the years, some may say that these apps create and spread negativity to those in society. Cyberbullying, body shaming, and unrealistic standards have become an issue for teens and adults. 43% of kids have admitted to being cyberbullied, with 1 in 4 students stating that it has happened more than once, according to the website Do Something.
With more than 50% of teens using social media today, statistics have shown that almost 1 in 10 students will not share this information with anyone else. Although many celebrities such as Katy Perry and Celine Dion have joined the Stomp Out Bullying campaign, it is difficult to stop online bullying in a short amount of time. Most of these celebrities have a large follower count, so it is useful in spreading the word about a cause or issue that they care about.
Body shaming has also increased over the years. The website Health Line discusses body shaming, along with a quote from Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer regarding this topic.
“It mocks and stigmatizes its victims, tearing down self-respect and perpetuating the harmful idea that our unique physical appearances should be compared to air-brushed notions of ‘perfect.’” Influencers such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez could be examples of having the “perfect” body, yet this creates an image that teens may be attempting to reach in an unhealthy way.
In today’s society, the focus is geared more towards what is negative on social media, yet there is still positivity and gratitude present. Social media has the power to raise money for those who are in need, advertise about a small business, or promote an event that is looking for sponsors. Different websites such as GoFundMe have become more popular over the years through the sharing of posts and photos to spread awareness. This website helps to raise money for those who are in need, and through social media, it is more likely for others to donate.
Teens in marginalized groups can also use social media to connect with others. Aaron Fobian, a clinical psychologist and professor, stated that social media could possibly be linked to mental health issues, yet teens may be using these apps to find a support system. “For example, teens could have depressive or anxious symptoms and therefore spend more time on social media outlets to look for a way to connect.”
Social media also gives us the opportunity to connect with those we love from around the world. It gives us the chance to stay updated on what other family members or celebrities are doing. Although it does have negative aspects, the general use of social media is helpful when staying in contact with people in your life.
Although it is difficult to eliminate cyberbullying, social media has many positive advantages. The future of social media is in the hands of the people.Amy Jo Martin, an American author, stated, “Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and platform to anyone willing to engage.”