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Social media platforms are omnipresent in our lives today. The invention of these networks has revolutionized how we communicate and interact with each other. Moreover, it has had a profound impact on how we conduct business. Modern businesses use social media for marketing purposes. It’s a cost-effective way to reach millions of people and raise brand awareness. Popular social networks include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
Even though social media has been a boon to human lives, it also has disadvantages. One cannot overlook the detrimental effects of social media on mental health. It has changed our discourse on human relationships and dramatically altered our physical interactions.
Firstly, social media have altered our perception of reality. What we see on social media is not always accurate. For example, the prevalent use of Photoshop by influencers and celebrities has led to an increase in body dysmorphia and eating disorders among the youth.
Young people are driven to look like their idols. However, they fail to comprehend that most social media images are heavily edited. The majority of influencers and celebrities don’t look like their glamorous social media avatars. Nonetheless, their false persona is causing young people to have a distorted self-image. Beauty and body trends on social media are driving people to get dangerous cosmetic procedures to emulate their favorite celebrities.
Secondly, cyberbullying is one of the major disadvantages of social media. Trolling on social has become rampant. The anonymity provided by these platforms has allowed people to bully others who have different opinions than them. Cyberbullying negatively impacts mental health. It can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and in some cases, even suicide.
Thirdly, the dissemination of false information has increased significantly in recent years. Now, it has become relatively facile for people to post fake news or information on their social profiles. There are dire consequences to such activities. For example, the COVID vaccine misinformation has been widespread in the last two years.
People with no medical qualifications or expertise have been propagating harmful information on social media. This has led to growing concerns among the public about the safety of the COVID vaccines. Although health experts and CDC have iterated multiple times, doubts have seeped into the mindset of the people.
While there is no arguing that social media has improved our lives for the better, it’s essential to acknowledge its dark side. It’s our obligation to use social media responsibly and for the betterment of humankind.
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