Social media is like a hammer. You can build yourself a house with it or you can break your hand with it.
People say social media is bad for us and that "people these days are addicted." I tell you what is actually going on - I think social media is just too new and we are misplacing blame.
There are some reoccurring topics that are brought up when talking about why social media is damaging. Here I'll will explore a couple and who's to blame..
The big issues?
Unrealistic expectations - "Real life vs Instagram".
So social media creates unrealistic expectations of what people look like for both women and men . Typically female body image issues are touted when this issue is discussed. These unrealistic expectations cause men to hold out as the "real life" girls they meet are never as attractive as the Instagram models with beautifully produced and photoshopped photos.
Blame: Everyone involved except for social media. Apart from being the platform for this issue - social media has nothing to do with whats going on. Blaming social media here would be like seeing a group of people argue in a restaurant and then saying restaurants cause arguments. We should be blaming the people pushing fake beauty standards, blame the viewers for having a lack of awareness to know that the Instagram models don't actually wake up looking like that. Blame the shallow people for being stupid enough to think that people can actually look like photoshopped models on a day to day basis AND for being dumb enough to only care about looks.
Posting “for the views” We’ve all seen it. The bikini girl walking towards to waterfall, or pensively looking over the ocean when in actual fact we all know it's a just an ass photo. Posting social media content without a genuine purpose is living life without a genuine purpose, and if I need to explain why living life without a purpose isn't good then we are in deeper than I thought.
Blame: Ugh! Blame the attention seekers themselves. Social Media reveals humanity, and the fact is some humans love attention and will go to any means necessary to get it. It’s not social media that creates the urge for attention within people. From insecurity to narcissism - there's a list of reasons why people crave attention. The urge for attention is the issue and that urge is within people, not within the tool that is used to satisfy the urge.
Always being stuck on your phone. You know that whole "get off your phone and live in the moment" thing. People love to claim that social media (and technology in general) are damaging our ability to be present, and this lack of presence creates anxiety or at least contributes to negative mental health etc etc.
Blame: It is definitely possible that people are addicted to social media. That however does not mean it is bad. It means people with addictive personalities are using the tool in an abusive way. Saying social media is bad because people overuse it is like saying water is bad because hyper-hydration exists. Stupid right? Can we also please try and remember that smartphones are one of the greatest inventions ever? When people are "just staring at their phone" they are actually using a device that has almost unlimited reach to information. What if the bus full of people staring at their phone are all self educating? Is that really a bad thing? Or what if it's the one part of their day where they can have some escapism and relax outside of work and family obligations. Give them a break.
Online bullying. Both with kids, and adults - harassment has of course joined us in the 21st Century and in the online world. Bullies are using social media as another way to torment of their victims. This must mean social media is bad, right? Wrong.
Blame: Human nature. We have picked on each other since... always! Humans harassing humans is not new. Bullying has definitely not been created by social media. In fact, I would say it's better when bullying takes place online because it means we can track the abuse and hold bullies accountable with actual proof.
If I told you hammers are bad - would you think that's a weird thing to say? Probably - because hammers are just hammers, they are tools. Tools can be used and misused. You can build yourself a house with a hammer and you can break your hand with a hammer. The exact same thing goes with social media, it's all about how you use it.