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Seattle Kiser Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 April 29, 2014

Social Problems Imagine a girl who is growing up in todays society. She is constantly being influenced by the world around her. She has several social media accounts and finds herself not able to go even a few minutes without checking them. It is a virtual world where she can be entertained by information that she likes and can see what her friends are doing. She may see her friends having a wonderful time at a party or on vacation. She can also see how many likes they get. Her picture of herself may have only gotten 30 likes while her friend has 120 likes. She starts to think about this and starts to compare herself to her friend. Social media soon becomes stressful and competitive. She wants to have just as many likes as her friends and also wants to make her life look just as fun. So she spends hours taking photos, coming up with cool statuses, and choosing filters to make her pictures look perfect. Is this her real life? Is this who she really is?

Social media has become a very big part of peoples lives. Social media can connect you to people across the world, your country, or your own town. People can portray themselves anyway they want to be seen by others. They can become a better, funnier, and more fun person online by presenting themselves that way. Many people spend hours using social media and

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cannot go large amounts of time without checking it. Social media is still very young when considering its effects, especially medically, but according to Elizabeth Koikai, still a number of behaviors associated with excessive use of social media have lately become the subject of much discussion and research. (Koikai) Social media has many positive and negative effects that are continuously being researched and discovered. Some people are very vulnerable to social medias effects and some are not, but it is important to be aware of these issues in order to avoid them. There are many social media websites out there and more keep being created. Facebook is one of the largest social media websites and is used by people of all ages. You can do many things on Facebook, including, sending messages, writing statuses, posting pictures, sharing links and blogs, and creating your own profile. Facebook has grown in the fact that it now has (people of) all ages using it. Kids in Middle school to senior citizens now have Facebook and are using it just as much as anyone. Twitter is also a major social media site. Even though it is more popular with younger aged people, it is growing more popular with an older crowd. Twitter is system of followers. People follow you and you have the choice to follow or not follow them back. People like to have as many followers as possible because it looks good and shows you have good tweets; sort of like a measure of popularity. Twitter is a newsfeed where people post statuses called, tweets, and can also post videos and pictures. Instagram is a newsfeed full of just pictures and videos. On Instagram people are continually posting videos and pictures to get likes or comments. All three of these social media sites mentioned have some level of measuring popularity, whether it is number of likes or number of followers.

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Does looking at other peoples picture all day have an effect on how you view yourself? Social media seems to be having more negative effects on self-esteem than positive ones. Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smiths, researchers for Pew Research Center, research has concluded that 73% of online users have some sort of account with social media. (Duggan, Smith) Social media is a display case where people can pick and choose what they want people to see. Some people out there wind up negatively comparing themselves to whats portrayed on Facebook by their friends. says clinical psychologist Craig Malkin. (Shea) Seeing and reading about peoples, perfect lives can have damaging effects on peoples self-esteem. Looking at peoples pictures today perfectly edited with filters or that are posed can cause people others to compare themselves to others. Also, many people base their self-esteem by how many likes or comments they get on a picture. This discontentment with their own life can lead to depression or anxiety. This causes depression because people start to base their worth on how many likes or when they continually see successful friends lives they have on social media. This causes them to feel like a failure and causes dissatisfaction with their own self and life. Social media can be very detrimental to an individuals self-esteem. When constantly looking at how successful or fun your friends lives are, one begins to feel self-conscious about their own. Some people only post the best moments in their life and leave out the worst. Who would want to see the more hard and realistic part of your life? People want to be viewed as the best version of themselves and they want people to be envious of their lives and in turn are always looking for ways to do that. An individuals life should not be measured on how many likes they get or how many friends/followers they have. Social media enables people to be judged through a screen based on shallow and sometimes nonrealistic representations.

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Many people have become addicted to social media. They are constantly checking to look at the latest pictures or posts. The Wilhelm Hoffmann of Chicago University research team has come to the conclusion that Twitter is harder to resist than alcohol and cigarettes (Meikle). People may spend hours looking through a newsfeed or viewing other peoples profiles. Arguments and fights break out over people voicing opinions and controversial comments. Elizabeth Koikai states that social media, It is fast changing from a platform where we communicate with others into a platform where we advertise oneself to others.(Koikai)

(Social media is growing to a major form of communication) There are also many social effects that many researchers are concerned about. Koikai also states that, We are trading a great deal of physical interaction with a very superficial and sometimes shallow form of interaction. (Koikai) People are starting to have a hard time telling their real friends from so called friends online. Yes, most of your friends and followers on social media are real friends but many are just acquaintances or people who like your posts.

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People are focusing too much attention on their online, virtual friends and are not focusing on the relationships that matter in real life. Friends on the internet can type out comments and can continually communicate but that does not mean that they will be there for you in real life situations. It is also important for one to get to know their friends on a more personal level than just talking on a social media website. Also, even though communication on social media can be effective, it is very important to learn how to communicate face to face. When communicating in person, one must come up with answers on the spot, such as job interviews, and this skill can only be achieved through practice. Social media is also creating a controversial issue over privacy. Should people be posting various aspects of their life online? Social media has allowed people to enter other peoples lives that they have never met. People should be more aware of what they put out there because they do not know who may be watching. Even though people have a right to privacy, they should understand that they are putting that information out into the public domain. Job interviewers have also started to look into applicants lives on social media websites to get a more personal look into their lives. Depending on how you present yourself online, the individual conducting the interview could be pleased or displeased with your lifestyle or opinions. When looking at effects and correlating factors due to social media, depression must be addressed. Depression is a clinical disorder with many symptoms. These symptoms according to WebMD, a health accredited website, are feelings of failure and emptiness, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. These are just some of the wide variety of symptoms that depression can cause. (Depression) Researchers have started to investigate the correlation between depression and social media. Researchers have coined a term called Facebook

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Depression.(OKeeffe, Clark-Pearson) This term is used when a person develops depression due to spending large amounts of time on social media. This depression is more common among adolescents who are struggling to develop their own identity and acceptance. Many adolescents may feel they need to impress their peers or look better than them on Facebook in order to be accepted. The online world can be very intimidating and comes with many pressures to have the most likes or to make your life look the best. Young adults constantly feel pressure to promote a false life in order to look better in front of their peers. Depression is a serious illness and must be noticed and treated before its dangerous thoughts and behaviors start. Social media has many benefits too. This online network informs people about various opinions around the world and has become a major source for all kinds of information. Sites like Facebook and twitter have become major sources of advertisement for all types of information such as political and national news. Many people are able to use social media as a place to express their opinions and beliefs on everyday issues that affect everyones lives. Groups such as school clubs and celebrities use their accounts to let the public know about events or posts updates for publicity. Also, it has become a place where you can easily spread the word that a child has been kidnapped and can be found recognized easier and faster. You and your friends can find more common interests with each other and better share whats going on in each others lives. Job interviewers can get a better view into an applicants life and motives to find the best person for the job. Social media has also become a major source for people to find and reconnect with old friends and family. It connects people to their family members who live in different places around the world and allows them to be able to share parts of their lives with each other. For example, I know several families who use Facebook as a vital source of communication with

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family members in other countries who are not allowed to visit or do not have the funds to. All these reasons make Facebook a positive creation that changes individuals lives every day.

Social media has not been around long enough to discuss various health negatives; however, we are starting to see the effects surface. Many people learn how to control and manage their time on social media and others do not. Social media is not the place for people with discontent and a low self-esteem. Social media is constantly showing us ideal images and lives which are not true. A picture and post can show many things, but we cannot truly evaluate or test the truth behind them just by glancing over their profile. Many people base their worth and lives on social media in order to feel accepted. Social media has become a competition of sorts. People continually post pictures and updates in order to get likes or comments. Boys and girls, mainly girls, put up pictures of themselves to see how many likes they get and may get upset if they dont get as many likes as other peoples pictures. Social media is full of people saying and showing their lives as perfect and fun, but are they? Continually comparing and basing your life off your friends lives on social media can be detrimental to ones self-esteem and contentment. Social media should be a place where people can show their true selves without feeling forced to create a fake one in order to obtain acceptance. We should be educating adolescents on how they present themselves to the world online and that a profile does not establish your identity. Your social media accounts and profiles only show people bits and pieces of yourself, therefore, you need to be more concerned with how you portray yourself in real life.

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Works Cited "Depression-Topic Overview." WebMD. WebMD, 11 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. Duggan, Maeve, and Aaron Smith. "Social Media Update 2013." Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS. Pew Research Center, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. Koikai, Elizabeth. "The Negative Impact of Social Media on Our Lives." The Moose. The Moose, 8 May 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. Meikle, James. "Twitter Is Harder to Resist than Cigarettes and Alcohol, Study Finds." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 04 Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. O'Keeffe, Gwenn S., and Kathleen Clark-Pearson. "The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families." The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families (2011): 1-7. American Academy of Pediatrics. Web. 29 Apr. 2014. Shea, Andrea. "Facebook Envy: How The Social Network Affects Our Self-Esteem." Facebook Envy How The Social Network Affects Our Self-esteem RSS 20. Boston's NPR News Station, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.