Rant of The Week: Social Media Reliance – Hold on, Let Me Update My Status

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Technology today does have its perks; it allows us to reach people across the world or help lost students on their way to university with the handy Satnav. However, it also has its drawbacks; it allows us to be easily sucked into the vortex that is social media. With the rise of the internet, it is no surprise that social media exploded… but since when was it ok to let it dictate our lives?

Remember those days when you weren’t obsessed with updating your status every five minutes? Or posting tweets? Or taking a ‘banging’ selfie to upload? No? Well, that says a lot.

It is suggested in the Guardian article ‘Stress and social media fuel mental health crisis among girls’ (published: 23rd September 2017) that ‘…the number of times a girl aged 17 or under has been admitted to hospital in England because of self-harm has jumped from 10,500 to more than 17,500 a year over the past decade – a rise of 68%. [… Likewise,] increasing numbers of academic studies are finding that mental health problems have been soaring among girls over the past 10 – and in particular, five – years, coinciding with the period in which young people’s use of social media has exploded.’ This is a worrying statistic as image-conscious teens cannot cope with the rising pressure to look a certain way. However, this issue is nothing new; it backdates to similar problems caused by print media and TV.

Social media is supposed to help connect us, not divide us. This unhealthy obsession with it seems to suggest a dystopic future for us. Many have felt the negative effect of this plague on society, yet we hardly do anything useful to stop it. We let our younger siblings suffer the same thing we did growing up in a tech-obsessed world, yet do nothing to stop them going through it too. Is it not time that we (as the next generation) promote more positive uses of social media?

The influence of social media is a dangerous thing. Instead of using it to tear one another down, maybe it is time that we use it to build each other up. We are the internet generation, and must use this resource wisely. Defy the typical ‘teen’ stereotype and use our social media as weapons to promote social change.

Since when did our lives start to revolve around how many likes we receive? Since when did we accept cyberbullying as part of our society? And last but certainly not least, since when did we let our social media accounts define us?

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From: Essex Studying: English Year of study: 1 Wish I could be travelling, but I'm here!

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