SOCIAL MEDIA: ARE THEY REALLY ALL GOOD?


27 Dec
27Dec
Jeanne Neybecker, 27/12/2020 

Today’s society is flooded by social medias. Whether it is for a working purpose, a communication one or simply used as an entertainment, these platforms’ numbers have increased significantly these past few years. While some parents allow their children access to social medias from a young age, others are worried about the risks involved. So really, what are the pros and cons of social medias?  

PROS OF SOCIAL MEDIAS 

Born in the early 2000s, social media became extremely popular over the past two decades; with now above 3,5 billion people worldwide connected to these platforms. They are extremely useful when it comes to expressing one’s opinion. Indeed, they allow people to stand up for their beliefs and for a cause they feel strongly about. 

With social media, almost anyone can participate and feel involved in things happening in the world, creating a significant impact in some cases, for example with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, that became internationally known and fought for, thanks to social medias.

Not only do they allow anyone to express themselves, and what they stand for, social media also allow people from all over the world to communicate with one another. This new invention made it a lot easier for separated friends or families to keep in touch, and not to lose their closeness. 

Whilst before, people had to send letters that often took many weeks to arrive to their final destination or pay an extremely high phone bill to call their loved ones overseas, social media allow their users to communicate to anyone overseas in just a click. Not only is it cheaper, it also makes it much easier and quicker to have a conversation with someone. 

Many people nowadays use social media as a platform to work, or to create new projects. With new features being created, such as the promoting feature or the shopping one - both on Instagram, it is becoming obvious that the key to success in the 21st century is to be connected and active on these platforms, allowing a wide range of people to learn about your business, or project. 

CONS OF SOCIAL MEDIAS 

Social media are essential in today’s society. However, they can, at times, be extremely dangerous. The age restriction on these platforms might be 13 years old, children these days seem to be connected from a much younger age, starting, for some, at only 9 or 10 years old. 

These children are vulnerable, naïve, and don’t measure the risks involved with social medias; making them the perfect targets for perverts, or even bullies from the web. This also applies to teenagers, who most of the times, take risks on these platforms, by exposing themselves, despite being more aware of the possible consequences. 

The teenage suicide rates have increased significantly during the 2000s, and it is believed that it is linked to teen’s exposure and vulnerability when connected to these social medias. 

Not only can kids get hurt using these apps, but they can also get easily manipulated. Fake news are free flowing on these platforms, and many naïve teenagers tend to believe anything they read on there, which is dangerous on the large scale. 

Adding to these cons of social medias, there is the major problem of personal data collection. Over the past few years, these platforms have been collecting our data more and more, allowing them to target exactly what kind of ad to send to every specific user. In some ways, they can now manipulate the people connected to social medias, and sometimes, this can have some serious impacts, such as manipulating elections, and more. Not only can they be manipulative in these situations, they can also create problems such as the well-known example of beauty standards. Indeed, social medias, have, for many years, portrayed a certain body type as the “perfect body”, creating insecurities for many young people. 

Due to these negative aspects that can lead to heavy consequences, some parents decide to control their children’s online life, by only allowing them access to social medias after a certain age, and after they believe their kids have gained enough maturity to be careful and to avoid exposure online. 

WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA 

I did a survey on my Instagram account, the question being “are social media dangerous?”. 

Out of 110 people, aged 12 to 20, 81% argued that social medias are dangerous, whereas only 19% said that they do not expose us to any risk. These statistics show that most people are aware of the risks that come along with social medias, but despite being aware of them, they continue using these platforms on a daily basis. That is because social medias also have many positive aspects that are essential in today’s world. However, these advantages do not make social medias any less dangerous and it is important to be aware of the possible risks while using these apps. 

Social media have become a necessity in the 21st century’s society. Whether it is for work or entertainment, we could not live without them. However, many risks are carried along with them, such as perversity, fake news and personal data collection. Therefore, there are now campaigns and organisations in order to prevent these incidents, by raising awareness to the younger, most vulnerable population.

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