The Dangers of Social Media


Courtesy of Gizmodo

Ashley Driesler, Staff Writer

  An estimated number of 196 million Americans are users of social media platforms, accounting for about 77% of the nation’s population. A large portion of this percentage are users between the ages of 18 to 29 years old. This group exhibits the numerous benefits of social media’s vast online databases and resources; however, they also receive major negative effects, such as unsafe behaviors and lasting mental effects.
  Regarding the mental aspect, social media lies on a very thin line of entertainment or obsession. J.J. Smith, a corporate executive and author, wrote, “I think about it when I wake up in the mornings… I have a craving and desire for Facebook with feelings similar to that of a romantic love.”

  Mental health experts warn that although social media can be essential and helpful in keeping in contact with friends and maintaining relationships, the minute it starts to damage relationships, social media platforms become grounds for addiction.

  A Stanford University study from 2008 depicted three problematic causes for mental illness caused by social media. This explained how excessive phone usage can be destructive towards one’s life: by cutting into sleep and creating inefficient work and study habits, impacting overall productivity. Due to mobile devices constantly keeping users connected, issues, such as texting has created a universal habit of multi-tasking.
  A deadly example of this would be texting and driving, iMessage being one of the most used major social platforms for teenagers and young adults. For the case of Reggie Shaw, a 19 year old, his unsafe texting while driving led to a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle. In this accident, Shaw instantly killed the driver and passenger of the unsuspecting car.

  The offender pleaded guilty in court, stating, “And to see a law passed that would prevent people [from texting while driving] would mean a lot to me, to be able to know that nobody else would have to go through what I’ve gone through. That they would be aware of the dangers that this text messaging is, and what it can do, and the effects it can have.”

  Shaw is just one of many people whose life has been unexpectedly and drastically affected by their use social media.
  Although social media is already extremely rooted in nearly every active user, this doesn’t mean the users are inevitably tied to becoming victims of it. As long as people are aware of the dangers and the possible disasters they could cause unto others and themselves, great misfortunes in society could be evaded.