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Logging Off and Looking Up

Alex Galloway, Assitant Opinion Editor

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According to a study done by Mediakix, the average person will spend over five years of their life in total on social media. The study included Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. To put this in perspective, imagine spending an entire four-year college career on social media. 24/7. No break. And then some. Reading posts, looking at pictures, and watching videos can be a quick way to kill some time. It can be pretty fun! However, being on social media has negative effects on your health. Here are just a few consequences that can come from the overuse of social media.   

Addiction 

While you might think that only drugs and alcohol can be addicting, social media can be addicting as well. After getting the likes and comments we so badly want on social media, our brain produces dopamine. This chemical is associated with pleasure and plays a role in addiction. According to Medical News Today, “Recent statistics show that 63% of American Facebook users log on to the site daily, while 40% of users log on multiple times a day.” According to Dr. Shannon M. Rauch, a psychology professor for Benedictine University, most of the time we use social media when we’re bored and need a distraction. Researchers in Norway at the University of Bergan have even come up with a psychological scale to measure how much one may be addicted to Facebook.  

Mental Health 

According to the American Psychiatric Association, the use of social media is linked to the development of depression and anxiety. Research has shown that those who use many different social media platforms are three times more likely to develop these conditions. When we scroll through social media we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people. Whether they have a bigger house, a nicer car, or a better physical appearance, comparing ourselves to others on social media can lead to lower self-esteem and worse mental health. 

Physical health 

Social media can affect not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. People have died from being distracted on their phone. In 2015, a woman in China was killed on impact by a large truck after being distracted on her phone and crossing the street. Being on social media for long periods of time can cause eye problems, fatigue, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Social media also cuts into the time you might spend doing things like exercising and being outside, which can have obvious effects on physical health. 

Looking to the Future 

Social media is a good way to kill time, communicate with friends and family, and post about your life. However, you should be aware of the negative effects it can have on you. We only have one life to live. Let’s not waste it on social media. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”  

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