Social Media has pros and cons, students say

By Thunderword Staff

Highline students said that while social media is time consuming and addictive, it can also be used positively, to connect people from around the globe.

Common Sense, a children's and media advocacy organization, released a report in early September that shows how 35 percent of teens today prefer to text when they need to communicate.

That is a sharp turnaround from the organization's 2012 survey, when most teens said their favorite way to communicate with friends was in person.

Other preferred means of communicating are social media (16 percent) and video chatting (10 percent).

Less than one third in the report said that they prefer direct interaction.

And while researcher Vicky Rideout suggests it could mean that Americans are "beginning to see some kind of fundamental shift in how we interact with each other," many teenagers said technology is having positive effects on their lives.

For many, social media can eat up hours upon hours each day.

"I spend a good amount of time on social media, about four hours every day," said Highline student Charis Rhea. "It is a one-stop for all the information that I may need."

"For me, it really depends on what platform I am using. Instagram is maybe an hour, whereas Wattpad, I can go all day," said Highline student Khadijah Diop

One student said that the main media platforms she uses are Instagram and Snapchat, and that she spends "probably around five hours total [per day]."

Some students are aware that social media takes up too much of their time.

"It is kind of embarrassing how much time I spend on social media," said Highline student Karen Morris.

Students who spend a lot of time on social media have said it causes terrible sleep patterns, distractions, or missing out on life.

"I check my phone every now and then during class, which could be why I have no idea what we're talking about sometimes," said Jaden Le, a science major at Highline.

"It can take time away from things that are actually important," said student Elijah Conley.

And many see social media as a façade that people use to make their lives appear better.

"Instagram is so fake. Everyone is always posting pictures where they look so happy, but are really dying inside," one student said. "Yet, I love it anyway."

"Some people make it their lives," said Highline student

Sean Glove.
One student said that social

media can "make you think everyone around you is doing perfect, that's not true."

But despite its many downsides, students also commented on how social media can bring different groups and communities together.

"You can build large communities, even if you can't meet them in person," Conley said.

Student Kenneth Newman said he likes how he is "able to connect with people around the world; as well as people you are close with."

Student Yesenia Herrera said she sees the the ability to talk with friends and family and know about their lives, even when they are far away, as a positive.

Herrera does not see a downside. Social media has only had a positive impact on her life, she said.

Student Aisha Abdi she she sees social media as a "very fast way to interact with people [and] share events quickly."

"You can use social media to interact with a lot of people, helping engage with people around you," Highline student Ally Valient said.

Staff reporters Faaita Upuese, Izzy Anderson, Any Chang, Matthew Thomson, and Nayyab Rai contributed to this story.

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