Social media: good or bad?

Social media: good or bad?

Cienna Beard, Content Editor

Social media undoubtedly holds a prominent role in all of our lives. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, or just plain old texting, we all spend a significant portion of our lives behind screens. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of teenagers in America ages 13-17 use some form of social media, with 72% using Instagram and 69% using Snapchat. With so many teens using social media, we must question whether this usage impacts us positively or negatively. 

Growing up in the 21st century surrounded by widespread social media use has blessed our generation with some major advantages including the ability to access any information almost instantaneously and being able to easily communicate with people who live on the opposite side of the globe. Social media can also be an incredibly helpful tool for rapidly spreading current news. After a long busy day, scrolling through Instagram can be a huge stress reliever and help you relax. However this begs the question: is it necessary? 

Hence the word itself, social media’s original purpose was to connect individuals from around the world and allow humans to be even more social creatures. However, it may actually produce the opposite effect. A study conducted at San Francisco State University of 135 individuals revealed that those who used their phones more often reported feeling more anxious, depressed, and lonely, than those using their phones less frequently. In addition to these negative feelings, social media can be a waste of time or a distraction. According to Common Sense Media, teens spend an average of nine hours online daily. This is an enormous amount of time spent in a digital world which takes away from time spent socializing face-to-face with real people, exercising, or getting enough sleep. 

In a sense, social media does allow us to engage in some forms of conversation throughout the day, but it most definitely cannot replace face-to-face interactions. You can never truly understand someone’s emotions, thoughts, or feelings unless you put down your phone and pay attention. We have all been in a restaurant and seen a couple on a date or a family having dinner while they are all on their phones oblivious to what precious time and opportunity for real connections they’re wasting. As we move forward into the next decade, we need to reflect on what and who we truly value in our lives and focus on giving those things the attention they deserve. It is all too easy to become bogged down by the overwhelming amount of information that social media throws at us, but, ultimately, we are the ones who control how much we use social media, and we have the ability to choose to put down our phones and embrace the real world. 



Works Cited

Anderson, Jenny. “Even Teens Are Worried They Spend Too Much Time on Their Phones.” Quartz, Quartz, 23 Aug. 2018,

Hatcher, Jon Patrick. “20 Pros and Cons of Social Media Use.” SUCCESS, 17 Dec. 2019,

“Is Social Media Making You Lonely?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Marvin, Rob. “How Teen and Adult Social Media Usage Has (And Hasn’t) Changed.” PCMAG, PCMag, 12 Apr. 2019,

Mohsin, Maryam, et al. “10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic].” Oberlo, 15 Jan. 2020,

Moreau, Elise. “The Good and the Bad About Social Networking.” Lifewire, Lifewire, 8 Nov. 2019,

“Youth Statistics: Internet & Social Media.” ACT for Youth,