Daisy Dewsnap: The pros and cons of social media

Daisy Dewsnap, a 15-year-old from Mossley who attends Saddleworth School, writes for the Reporter. This week, she gives her view on the advantages and disadvantages of social media platforms.

Does social media negatively affect our mental health?

An on-going debate for the past few years has been whether social media has a positive or negative impact on our lives. Everyone has a different opinion and there are many strong arguments for each point on this matter.

A survey carried out by the NHS said that 91 per cent of 16-24 year olds in the UK use the internet and other social networking sites regularly. It then went on to explain that rates of declining mental health in young people have increased by 70 per cent over the last 25 years. 

Studies suggested links between social media use and this rise in teen mental health issues, indicating that the two may be associated.

There are many ways that social media can negatively affect us. Just to name a few: our self esteem (social media can lead us to compare ourselves to others), not communicating as much face-to-face (this can isolate people from others due to their lack of personal connections), our attention span (you can become far more easily distracted) and decrease in hours of sleep (which then has knock-on effects to many different aspects of our lives including diminished brain performance and fatigue). 

Social media can also cause issues for our memory as it may distort or change the way we view an event in our lives and can also cause problems because nowadays lots of people document every part of their life. 

So this time we spend getting the ‘perfect photo’ may distract us from being able to take in our surroundings first-hand in the moment and enjoy what’s going on around us.

But despite all of these factors, there are many positive effects of social media which aren’t regularly spoken about. One of these factors is that it can motivate people to strive to be the best version of themselves and can also encourage them to express gratitude for the qualities they already do have. 

Another factor is that it helps provide a sense of community and enables you to network with lots of people who you would never have the chance to meet in your everyday life. 

In my opinion, there are some advantages as well as some disadvantages to social media. 

There are lots of positive accounts or websites you can look at which will impact your mental health positively; it is just about following these and knowing how much media usage is alright for you personally. 

I believe that each person can individually control how much it impacts them and if this has a positive or negative impact. 

It is up to you what you take from the various platforms. 

Social media shouldn’t just be categorized or labelled as ‘negative’ because there are many aspects which are, in fact, positive.

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