Opinion: Social media has its drawbacks

By James Stein Nov 5, 2021
Image by Liam Killian
Image by Liam Killian

Social media impacts our lives even if we do not want to acknowledge it. It is hard to imagine a teenager not checking their feed and stories in Instagram and messages in Snapchat. Social media has come into our lives and left a perceptible mark. I know along with myself, others have been guilty of checking our phones during our free time and even during work or classes. 

One of the most obvious consequences of social media is the “depression covered with a smile.” It is so easy to hide behind a face effect in Instagram or Snapchat and pretend that everything is amazing, while your life is destroyed by an eternal hurricane. Social media creates a feeling of having many friends and support, but the reality can be cruel once the phone is shut down. Interactions with peers in person are often less genuine than they are on social media, and disappointment ensues when the realization hits that these relationships aren’t what they appear to be. 

 Many bloggers that later report domestic violence previously show happy moments with their spouse because they want to think that everything is fine. Gabby Petito is a prime example of this-she appeared genuinely content traveling the U.S. with her fiance, Brian Launderie until her sudden disappearance. It was recently discovered that she was subject to months of domestic abuse, and he was guilty for her murder. As someone who has experience with depression, I have showed only happy moments via Instagram because I did not want my Russian friends to think I am unhappy.Through my social media,  I wanted to create a vision of me transitioning smoothly  to being in the US, and the truth didn’t line up with that vision . 

One of the most obvious aspects that is detrimental for mental health because of social media is cyberbullying. On the internet, it is easy to hide behind an anonymous account without any photos and tell other people how ugly and useless they are. It is oftentimes evident that social media is a way for some people to express their dissatisfaction with life when they cannot do it in real life. 

In the comment section of the Instagram account of Anastasia Shardakova, a famous Russian fitness blogger, mothers with young children left hateful comments in an attempt to diminish her confidence, serving as a reflection of the unhappiness they feel in their own lives. I myself experienced cyberbullying, and the hater turned out to be insecure and exhausted from work. But even though I knew it, it still had a tremendous impact on my life as I became insecure and depressed. Words have great power, and they can instantly change someone’s mood with one tactless phrase. 

Even taking the drawbacks of social media in consideration, it gives us the opportunity to do things that couldn’t be possible without it. Social media gives us a great opportunity to meet new people you would never communicate with otherwise. You can chat with a person on a whole different continent and still feel that you are needed somewhere in this world. It is the salvation for many introverts as it is easier for some of them to communicate via social networks than in real life. My best friend lives in South Africa, and thanks to social media I am in touch with them every day.

 If we did not have the internet and social networks, I would never have the opportunity to communicate with them, especially as a foreign exchange student. Social media helps me keep in touch with my fiancée despite the ten hour time difference and tremendous distance between her and I. In spite of some major drawbacks, social media still gives us great opportunities to stay connected with people all over the world.

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