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Gayane Nazaryan

Mr. Millstein

English 114B

April 9, 2018

Keeping up with Social Media

Technology, specifically the internet, has taken a huge toll in affecting the behavior of

each individual. Social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are many platforms

that people use consecutively throughout their day. Selfies are becoming more popular now as

people try to promote their physical appearance using likes and comments on social media

browsers to boost up confidence levels and happiness. The features of tweets from celebrities,

live streams, and pictures on these social networking sites have taken over the youths’ culture

causing negative behaviors to develop amongst individuals. Social media platforms overall play

such a big role in our everyday lives that some people can’t even imagine living without it. There

are many negative connotations and serious issues that need to be addressed toward social media,

such as mental health problems, the development of narcissism, and the deterioration of our

social infrastructure

Social media has been known to have a negative side-effect towards teens’ mental health.

The effects that social media platforms have on towards teens might not seem at first bothering

to them, but the more they rely on social media, gaming, and “selfies” will later consume their

energy to perform regularly the next day. As Greenfield stated in his article, The Sociology of the

Smartphone, “They are the last thing we look at before sleep each night, and the first thing we

reach for upon waking” (1). We have become so reliant to the many social media platforms that
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we practically use it all throughout the day. This negative behavior of addiction causes concerns

especially towards parents. In fact, not only is addiction one out of the many health problem that

is associated with social media, but anxiety and depression are the leading factors that these

platforms can cause. A research study was conducted in 2013 for the Ontario Student Drug Use

and Health survey to prove that Facebook causes depression and anxiety within teens. Students

between the seventh and twelfth grade were asked questions about their social media habits that

included their mental health and psychological behavior. At the end of the survey researchers

found that heavy social media users are found to have psychological distress which can lead to

depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. This research was then known as the Facebook blues.

In Huffing Posts article, Heavy social media use Linked with Mental Health Issues in Teens,

talks about how different platforms can negatively affect teens health. In the article it was said

that, “Teens who are struggling with their mental health may be more likely to use social media

frequently, while excessive use of social media use may over time contribute to poor mental

health” (Gregoire). Facebook Depression consists of one spending excessive amount of time on

social media and as ridiculous as it sounds, it is the desire to get that perfect picture. Social

media platforms and its content can make an individual undergo many types of mental health

problems.

Social media can cause a person to become self-absorbed and narcissistic as they spend

most of their leisure time on the different types of platforms. Social media, while it gives us

access to others to socialize, leads to people becoming self-centered with themselves as they try

to make their appearance known. Social networking for most part is “all about me” as the

individual strives to get attention from other users and their followers depending on the platform

they are using. The book, “Social Theory after the Internet”, written by Ralph Schroeder, talks
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about how social media socialization is changing dramatically depending on the platform. The

book also states studies that prove that the use of social media has become embedded in our

everyday life. As stated in the book in Chapter four, “the performer cares about how the audience

responds, monitoring the responses to his or her self-presentation” (84). The performer, bieng the

account user, wants recognition and attention for his/her appearance with the value of pictures

and media posted on their account. In other words, this can be seen as “merfomers” or people

who say, “enough about you, let’s talk about me”. people spend more time monitoring what

others are doing causing the person to envy the other. In the article, “Has social media made us

more self-centered? “by a Photojournalist, Juliette Fournier, she talks about how social media

overall has dominated the lives of many people negatively affecting them to become self-

centered. It’s as though social media has become a way for people to create a fake image of

themselves and a fake identity that can almost be represented as a stimulation for the individual.

Selfies are the number one reason in the rise of narcissism as “Last year alone, about 24 billion

selfies were posted, according to Google. Social media only encourages this with the countless

available filters, including those that hide people’s imperfections” (Fournier, 1). The filters that

are provided in platforms like Instagram and Snapchat give people an unrealistic image of

themselves and others. Filters make the individuals confidence boost up causing them to become

self-absorbed because they provide this “beauty” feature that is just unreal. Also, the number of

“friends” is another factor that boosts up a person’s ego to become self-absorbed as the more

people/friends they have the more popular they seem to feel. The norms of having more

followers to individuals means having more likes and attention to the user which negatively

alters the behavior of the person to become narcissistic.


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Social media has negatively made a person feel a sense of loneliness, as it makes

individuals become alienated and anti-social. Social media is a great way to connect with people

and keep in touch, but it can still make an individual feel lonely and socially isolated from

others. In the magazine article by Independent, People who use Social Media a lot are Isolate,

study says, talks about a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. The study proves that

even though social media allows us to be connected with anyone it gives an individual a feeling

of loneliness. At the end of the research, researchers found that, “people who visit social

networks over 58 times a week are three times more likely to feel lonely than those who use the

sites under nine times” (Hosie,1). People are constantly visiting the many different social media

platforms because in reality people try to be someone else and create this fake image of

themselves that they want they world to see. This a type of action then leads to a person feeling

to FOMO (Fear of missing out) which causes the person to have a sense of fear of becoming

irrelevant and alienated from others around them. The pictures posted about the individuals

perfect night out, vacation, and lifestyle can make others feel like they’re missing out because

they aren’t part off that experience. Social media has become so hypnotizing to us that we have

lost ourselves in it making us feel isolated.

Although, many may argue, that social media carries many negative aspects, it is a

beneficial factor towards raising awareness to important causes. Recently, a mass shooting

occurred In Florida killing many innocent student and teachers. The survivors of Parkland High

School reached out and used social media to send out a strong message to the media that gun

violence is not okay and should regulated. In the article by Julia Wong, “Florida Students have

turned Social Media into a Weapon for Good”, she writes how a couple of teenagers from
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Parkland greatly influenced awareness using social media. As described in Wong’s article, “This

is social media at its best. From the Arab Spring to the Ferguson uprising to the shooting in

Parkland, social media has been a cudgel for participants in real life events to wield against the

ossified frameworks that give shape to our political discourse” (Wong, 1). The ability to share

and connect through social media to spread awareness or a message is made easy. It wasn’t a

problem for the Parkland High teenagers to do that as they also got featured on the Times

magazine blowing up many social media platforms such as Twitter making it to the top featured

chart. In Miller’s article, what is Social Media?, he goes into detail what social media has and

how it uses its platforms to send out a strong message to their users. Social media is a great way

to spread awareness as Millers states, “They have given us potential for communication and

interaction that we did not previously possess” (1). Therefore, with access to many social media

platforms anyone can have the ability to have their voices heard on an important message.

The internet in general provides many opportunities to connect with others, the ability to

share their life online, and read about the many events happening around the world. With Social

media especially, we have access to just about anything but that can lead to many negative

aspects to an individual as they overuse that source. As we have become so reliant and

dependent on social media many negative factors such as mental health, narcissism, and

isolation have occurred amongst many individuals.


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Works Cited

Fournier, Juliette. “Has Social Media Made Us More Self-Centered?” The Wrangler,

ylhsthewrangler.com/13966/opinions/has-social-media-made-us-more-self-centered/.

Greenfield, Adam. “A Sociology of the Smartphone”. Longreads, June 09, 2017,


https://longreads.com/2017/06/13/a-sociology-of-the-smartphone/ (Links to an external
site.)Links to an external site.. Accessed 9
September 2017.

Hosie, Rachel. “People Who Use Social Media a Lot Are Isolated, Study Says.” The

Independent,

Independent Digital News and Media, 6 Mar. 2017, www.independent.co.uk/life-

style/social-media-high-usage-more-isolated-lonely-people-study-university-pittsburgh-

a7614226.html

Miller, Daniel, et al. “What Is Social Media?” How the World Changed Social Media, 1st ed.,

vol. 1, UCL Press, London, 2016, pp. 1–8. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1g69z35.8.

Schroeder, Ralph. “The Internet in Everyday Life I: Sociability.” Social Theory after the
Internet: Media, Technology, and Globalization, UCL Press, London, 2018, pp. 82–100.
JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt20krxdr.7.

Wong, Julia Carrie. “Florida Students Have Turned Social Media into a Weapon for Good.” The

Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Feb. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-

news/2018/feb/21/florida-students-have-turned-social-media-into-a-weapon-for-good.