Social media: It’s a trap.

ALEXIS DEVILLE
Opinion Columnist

It’s the modern age. People are walking up streets and across college campuses with their noses to their smartphone screens. Someone is sending a snap, another is tweeting, and a third is scrolling through Facebook. Our way of communication relies heavily on the internet and social media.

Comparing our culture to “back then,” one would say this advanced system is a major step for mankind. But after being a part of the online community, I would say social media has drastically dehumanized our population.

The Internet is no safe place for our character. Humans seem to have a tendency to ruin the innocence and practicality of most things, and social media has quickly become a fighting fit.

What was once the start of a new era for adolescents – and people of all ages – to express themselves has transformed into an abused online community.

Social media is ruining the way college students are communicating with each other. Not only is their communication being compromised, but their capability to discuss and argue is being overlooked.

One reason may be the environment. It is better that young people communicate and hold discussions face-to-face being that it is in real time, and they experience it both physically and mentally. When online, there is hardly any work put into liking pictures and sharing statuses. This can make a person lazy and less likely to participate in conversations or debates completely.

I have also began to realize that social media is a cold-hearted place. Those who use social media most likely conform their pages to popular opinion; if your page is anything but what people want, you will be shunned. This attitude may be another reason as to why people cannot properly communicate, being that they are so used to expressing themselves under mainstream terms. The Internet is a cold-hearted place, so its users either grow thick skin or lash out.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and we should respect that, right?

Whenever I enter the comment section of any random tweet, though, I become concerned. It seems like one major effect of social media is how people communicate their ideas in heated debates in a comment section or thread. There’s always two sides fighting over something that is almost irrelevant to the original tweet, but what is more appalling is that neither side actually makes logical sense.

There are literally arguments between people using racist or personal comments to tear down their opponent. This method of arguing is toxic and cannot be healthy for any person to deal with as a casual discussion of ideas and opinions.

It seems students’ moral character and empathy for others is slipping away with every like, favorite or share, as well.

Abhishek Karadkar writes in a column that students have become more worried about their physical appearances and their actions gaining attention, “even despite some of them being immoral or illegal.” When peers post about being in a relationship, for example, others are “pressed to do the same thing.”

“It often produces stress, anxiety or fear about their identities as people,” Karadkar says. “Consistently thinking in this way can sometimes lead to depression.”

Social media is not what our society seems to believe it is. It is hurting students more than advancing their skills in communication and socialization. If social media abuse is the problem, then how does this society fix it?

There may not be a way to fix the damage that has already been done due to online activity, but I believe there are things we can do to help prevent the decline in social character:

First, we must be educated. We must recognize what social media truly is and the dangers of it all. Teaching younger kids is extremely important, because they’re unaware of how their online activity is actually affecting them.

We also must be patient and understanding of those also using social media. The Internet is open to people of all races, cultures and ages, so it is important we are not ignorant to someone else’s way of life and ideas.

As for debating online, we cannot threaten others and shame their character just because we have no logical response to their own.

If people could be respectful and responsible, the online community would not be so cutthroat. Interactions between people would no longer be pointless, and social media could be used efficiently.

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