What is the actual point of social media, and how do teens use it at Rachel Carson Middle School?
Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram, says the main purpose for this app was to create a friendly platform where people can share pictures and videos with friends, families and the world. The main motive of this app quickly changed throughout the years, and took a surprising turn.
“I feel like some people can feel obligated to show others what they do on Instagram, other than just sharing pictures for the fun of it,” says Aaya Abugabal, 13-year-old, Instagram user, on the RCMS Dream Team.
She explains how she believes that some people may be trying to prove their significance over others online by their content. She also talks about how easily you can find people you know, because many people around the age of a teenager have social media.
According to psycom.net, a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh showed that the more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they were to have sleeping problems and show symptoms of depression.
“Sometimes, I do feel like people only focus on the down side of social media. I know that social media can be used for so much good, but it is hindered by all the negativity use which is definitely existent, ” says Mrs. Allen, an RCMS English teacher who uses social media.
She explains some of the benefits from using social media are contacting friends easier or showcasing your work.
Childmind.org says that kids would text all sorts of things that they would never say to anybody’s face. The danger of communicating indirectly is that it has gotten easier to be cruel, which would lead to cyber-bullying and low self-esteem.
Mrs. Ross, RCMS teacher, is currently planning a very creative way to take a break from social media, and to interact with the world through a non-electronic way. Her idea is for her class to completely black out any forms of interactions through the internet for a whole day.
“I would like the end goal to be to have people [the] age [of a teenager] come out with a more intentional interaction with these different ways we have of communicating with each other,” she says, “The reason why I came up with this plan was because I feel like social media affects people’s minds and their way of thinking, and I think we all need a break from that.”
Forbes.com explains that social media changes the way people think about everyday scenarios, Like how people judge others based upon how many likes they get on a post and how many followers they have. It also says people who use social media gain self-consciousness, and start to compare themselves to others. This is when people start to body shame themselves, think more superior of others and think lower of themselves. This is when people start to develop anxiety and depression. Social media is one of the leading causes of mental disorders.
On the other hand, social media has many pros as well. ProCon.org tells us that social media spreads information faster than other media, which is helpful when trying to come across a point. Also, law enforcement uses social media to catch and prosecute criminals, which can come in handy when finding background information for a job application.
Talia Natour, 13-year-old, who goes to Franklin Middle School, thinks social media has both negative and positive views when you look at it.
“It can help you, but can also tear you down. I do feel sometimes that it is used as a distraction from the real world.”