Social Media Is the Enemy

Student+looks+at+Instagram+on+his+cell+phone+instead+of+doing+his+homework.

Agustin Alzate Penagos

Student looks at Instagram on his cell phone instead of doing his homework.

Agustin Alzate, Discoverer Staff Writer

Over two months, due to quarantine, the trending platform, TikTok, has grown to over two million downloads per week. The distractions that students have available surely becomes the most significant problem for bad academic performance. Due to the worldwide lockdown, the majority of schools have established virtual learning, where students have a greater potential to create distractions with their environment and therefore generate study problems like wrong habits and worse grades.

The distractions that we create due to the use of social media put ourselves in a static place with no room for improvement. “We ‘give in to feel good’ with time spent on social media while needlessly delaying other responsibilities and intentions. Short-term reward, long-term costs.” Timothy Pychyl, a doctor with a PhD in psychology, said. “It feels good. That’s why you do it. For example, several studies have found that undergraduate college students who procrastinated had a lower GPA compared to non-procrastinators.” The effect that procrastination creates in the human brain generates tranquility and happiness for the person, without knowing that it will generate future issues. Social media is one of the most common forms of procrastination. It is available to us because we are close to our cell phones all day. 

Even if procrastination is evident, the threat the social media generates to teenagers in terms of mental health has become much worse throughout the years. It is not only time-consuming, but mentally too. Research done by UNICEF states that, “Too much passive use of social media can be unhealthy and has been linked to feelings of envy, inadequacy, and less satisfaction with life. Studies have even suggested that it can lead to ADHD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and sleep deprivation.” Social media hooks users with specific topics and information adjusted to what they like. This has not only become a problem of respect due to the different threats, but also a place where people develop insecurities and mental problems. Social media can be a tool that as well as deteriorates the mental health of teenagers, another leading reason for not attaining peak academic performance, where interaction and acceptance can become much more important. 

The privacy that people once had is a privilege from the past. The substantial doubt that is generated by this is not only control but also safety for students. “It can become problematic if talking online comes to dominate all social interaction when teens are consuming more information than they are engaging with,” according to research from UNICEF. “Sometimes I do not feel safe when accessing different types of social platforms not only because they are available for everybody, but also because information can stay on the web without my consent,” José Jaramillo, a senior, said. The expansion of virtual relations and social networking has brought up many weak points for students, which affect them both physically and mentally. Social media has the potential harm to affect us, students, in many ways with the goal of unlimited connection. We feel a greater necessity to be constantly looking at our phone, or hanging by on our profiles while doing homework, which needs to be improved.

Social media is great, but apart from the way that it helps us connect and talk, we need to take care of how we handle it. Experts at Harvard University have declared that, “The availability of online platforms becomes an excellent option for a class to do different activities that involve not only learning but interaction. With a good purpose, having social media is good too.” We have the power to decide whether to use it as a tool where we can learn new skills, or make it an addiction that will only stop us from doing our best.

Social media is not only a place where we find entertainment and connections but also a platform that can deviate us from what we want to achieve. We need to find the correct ways to take advantage of the tools that we have. It is not difficult, there only needs to be a balance that we can understand, helping us control our procrastination, our feelings, and our privacy.

“Are you using your device or is your device using you?”