Social Media: The Art of Self-Control

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Social Media: The Art of Self-Control

Brittney Gano, Editor

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Cellphones are the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we see before we go to bed; they are constantly within 10 feet of ourselves, and never close to dead before we’ve got them plugged up to a charger. They’re one of the most important objects today in teenagers’ lives–the technological slab that is now the main object that connects us all through social media. 

There are several different platforms that allow everyone to connect via the internet: Snapchat, which broadcasts everyone’s day and filters them with dogs and makeup, Instagram, a site where everyone’s personal page displays only the best part of their lives, Twitter, brimming with drama and heated discussion, and Facebook, which is likely to soon fade into the past alongside MySpace. 

These apps all have one thing in common: the amount of time we let ourselves waste on them. The average person is expected to have spent 5 years of their life on social media. That’s an average of 2 hours each day used observing the lives of others and perfectly portraying our own. 

This isn’t to say that all the time we spend on social media is a complete waste. These platforms still provide an abundance of positive benefits.  

Many people today may not have the same safe outlets offline as they do online. Those with social anxiety can use these media apps to communicate with others without the stresses of speaking face-to-face. There are also many minority groups that find solace online with people whom they can relate to, such as LGBTQ+. It’s also a fun and easy way to keep up with celebrities and people we know, when used in moderation. 

Adults ages 18-24 check their phone on average 74 times a day. This is without knowing how long some spend on the phone each time. Most of this time is spent on social media, which has been found to cause some serious health issues. 

Social media puts a shiny gloss over the lives of others. Realistically, we only see the best parts of people online, but our minds place others at a higher standard because of the perfectionism media forces. This high portrayal of others online is a leading cause of self-esteem issues, which can manifest new or worsening symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. 

Alongside mental health, the use of social media can contribute to a decline in physical health. The blue-lighting that LED smartphone screen uses has been found to stimulate the brain when it should be powering down at night. Even so, those who sit their phones down when they go to sleep are very likely to pick them back up at the sound of a media notification. 

Cell phones and social media may have taken control of today’s younger generations at a cost, but to say that we should cut it out entirely would be the view of an unrealistic extremist. Media and phones have provided a wide variety of benefits and technological advancement to society and will continue to grow through the generations. With a little bit of self-control, we can all make social media a positive experience.