I would like to start this off with a disclaimer: there definitely are many downsides to social media. It is extremely easy for adolescents and adults to spend excessive time on social media and it can impact one’s mental health. However, I would like to highlight that there are numerous benefits as well.
Although parents may dislike social media or have a negative outlook on its uses, social media is an essential part of an adolescent’s social life. True to its name, social media helps teenagers socially. In all honesty, teenagers who do not own any social media unfortunately miss out, not just online but in person too. In addition, social media enables adolescents to keep connections that they would otherwise lose. For example, a couple years ago I attended a sleepaway camp and I was extremely sad to say goodbye to my friends who I would likely never see again. However, I recently reconnected with a few of them over Instagram. A couple months ago, I tore my ACL and learned that one of these friends had also torn her ACL. As a result, we each gained really helpful support and even still converse from time to time.
This leads me to my next point. Although, social media enables negative comments and bullying, parents tend to focus less on how much encouragement and support social media offers. There are so many girls and guys boosting each other up enthusiastically and countless positive forms of expression on social media. It is even academically beneficial. I can ask my friends what the homework was or request help on a troubling assignment which happens more often than parents might think. Having a friend to rely on when school gets difficult is really a blessing.
Social media platforms are also very inspiring and actually help educate students. There is so much inspiration on social media from watching basketball highlights on Youtube to looking at painting accounts on Instagram. Most teens, including myself, are more aware of current events due to social media. Social media platforms are a place that students can utilize to support a cause and express their thoughts, ideas, or emotions; therefore gaining exposure to other people similar and different from themselves.
Social media is a great resource if used intelligently. Problems arise when adolescents take advantage of such an important source or allow it to negatively affect their well-being. Students should be mindful about the amount of time they spend on social media, especially making sure that their real lives do not get consumed by the allures of social media. On the other hand, parents should make this resource available to them, of course, with guidance on using it efficiently and wisely.