According to Experian Simmons, “98% of college students use social media on a daily basis.” This shows the huge use of social media and how it impacts the lives of the vast majority of college students. Another study done by UCLA shows that 27.2% of college students spend more than six hours on social media a week. This is a lot of time that is spent on social media. Since so many young people are spending large portions of their time of the internet, social media’s effect on these people must be considered. With that being said, is social media more beneficial or harmful for college students?
Throughout the years of social media, there have been many positive outcomes that have come from the platforms.
- Students are able to reach family and friends.
This is one of the main benefits of having social media due to the scenario of long-distance that occurs when college students move away from home. Staying connected and communicating with family and friends is very important in these circumstances in order to keep those relationships healthy and strong. Fortunately, social media is able to make staying in touch a reality by updating friends and family on personal events and milestones.
Matt White, a Greenville University student, agrees that social media is a positive thing as he says, “It’s easier to connect and keep in touch with people, especially with COVID. It also allows us to succeed in life and makes things more efficient as well.”
- Students are able to learn and obtain information.
Social media contains so much information, and everyone with access to the internet has the ability to find information with just a few simple steps. As humans in general, we are always learning and processing new information, and social media allows us to do so more efficiently and effectively. With just a few simple searches, bits of information that would have required tons of time and research previously can be found within seconds on social media.
- Students are able to share their creative abilities.
During the college phase, students are learning more about themselves and their interests. Social media fuels this self discovery by sharing creativity and allowing users to express themselves. College students use many social media platforms to share their creativity and development. This use of social media is important for them because it allows users to be themselves and feel comfortable with what they are sharing.
While there may be positives about social media, there are also some big negatives that are often overlooked.
- Students are able to be bullied online.
Social media can be a dark shadow, leading to some poor choices like online bullying and treating one another poorly. Unfortunately, this virtual abuse is a reality that can lead to depression, anxiety, or other experiences that make people feel inferior and undervalued.
- Social media can become an addiction.
Social media can also become an addiction for college students. According to a scientific journal called PLOS One, “The social media addiction rate among college students is at 2.8 percent.” While this number may seem low, there are a large group of students that can’t stop themselves from constantly checking their social media to see if anything new has occurred.
Damian Garcia, another student at Greenville, agrees that social media can definitely have some downsides as well. He says, “Social media can become a big distraction and addiction if spent too much time on it. I definitely agree that people always want to see the new best thing that is going on.”
- Social media posts are never entirely deleted.
Whatever is posted on social media never entirely goes away. Anything that may be posted is used for data collection analysis, and the information is used to target users’ interests. The permanency of the internet is a huge risk of social media and why it can be damaging at times. Understanding this permanence is important for college students as they are making their own decisions and needing to be mindful of what they post.
Overall, there are definitely pros and cons for social media, and it is important to think before taking action in order to prevent some of these negative things from happening. However, overall, social media can be more of a benefit than not as long as users are all being mindful of what is shared with the world.