Does Social Media Deserve a Like or Dislike?

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Olivia Woo, Contributor

Over 3.6 billion people use social media around the world. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube are just a few of the most popular platforms. However, no matter how popular it is, it still has many harms. Such widely-used platforms will always impact people in both negative and positive ways. At Beatty Middle School, students have had many experiences with online platforms.

Social media can be a controversial topic due to the toxic beauty standards and mental health issues that it ignites in teenagers. Cyber bullying is also a serious problem, with reports of it almost every day.

Many have developed serious mental health issues, identity issues and body dysmorphia while trying to reach the unattainable beauty standards.

Similar to an alternate reality, social media often shows fake, staged glimpses of other people’s “perfect” lives. These unrealistic, toxic beauty standards are harmful and dictate how someone should look, act, and speak.

However, social media does have it’s positive aspects. Virtual communities can make people feel safe and connected. Feeling the support of others, even if they are online, makes a big difference in mental health and overall happiness.

It can also increase knowledge and help teens develop social and critical thinking skills. Using online media also gives people a chance to show off talent and expertise.

Social media is a popular form of entertainment. But is it more beneficial than harmful? (Gerd Altmann)

Finally, while social media comes with many harms, it can also be used to stop body shaming, bullying, racism, and more. Social media allows people to connect and share ideas and beliefs.

Students of Beatty Middle School have also given opinions on this topic. Ten people associated social media with negativity. Many considered it toxic, addicting, and hateful. They found it hard to share opinions comfortably without receiving hate.

Five people found it positive. They considered it to be a fun, effective way to connect with people and communicate.

One student said, “It felt good to know that there are online communities with similar interests, and it’s good for people to feel like someone understands them.”

Another student stated, “Social media is just fun to have. It’s an entertaining way to spend your time.”

Finally, 12 students felt that social media can go both ways. It depends on how you choose to use it. One student thought that you need to be careful with what you post, while another stated that online media is harmless as long as you don’t use it inappropriately.

Mrs. Young stated, “There are negative sides to it, but I’ve gained great information, connections, and community.”

Online media is something that should be used carefully and considerately. What you do on these public communities is very important, and it affects many people. Beatty Middle School is full of strong opinions about social media and its effects. What do you think? Do you give social media a like or a dislike?