The Dark Side to Social Media

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The world has changed drastically due to the immense use of social media. With modern technology, we no longer live in a society where phones are a 24/7 issue. When it comes down to our day to day lives, not many people can picture theirs without technology or the use of various social media platforms. Everyday, the first thing we do is check our phones and see what’s new online. While social media can be great for entertainment, communication, or spreading awareness about various issues, there is a very clear dark side and you may be falling into it.

I am a pretty avid user of social media myself. I enjoy sharing my life online with my friends and being able to communicate with anyone in just a matter of seconds. As fun as it is for me, I also recognize the concept of illusion that comes along with a life online. In simple terms, everyone has the ability to be anyone. What’s better than that? You can fake a life that could be entirely not yours. To some, that idea may seem enticing and fun but it does present danger for many. The word “catfishing” is a modern day term, used when someone on social media pretends to be someone that they are not and “catfishes” or pretends to have an entirely different life. While you think you’re communicating with an internet friend your age that lives out of state, it could be a 60 year old man from your hometown.

In addition to internet safety, cyberbullying is also one of the most prevalent issues seen when using social media. If people are able to type hate comments from the comfort of their own home without having to say it to the person’s face, they’ll do it all day long. Popular influencers today with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers deal with this problem constantly. Random strangers take to comment sections and fill them with criticism about the way people look, talk, behave, and live. These hate comments are down to the last detail. If you scroll through comment sections of viral videos, you can always find somebody saying something negative, regardless of how much support that specific creator receives. That amount of pressure and judgment requires very thick skin and a carefree mindset.

As rough as it can be on social media, there are many great opportunities that can stem from its use. For example, it gives millennials a chance to let their voices be heard. Many issues that people believe need action are widespread on social media, creating armies of people to stand for what they believe in and create change. When social media is used the right way, it can be a beautiful thing. As a society, we just need to remember the importance of respect and that words can hurt.