Exemplification Essay about Social Media

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Nothing has taken over so many people’s lives more than social media. The majority of people worldwide use social media on a daily basis. For adults, it is usually Facebook or Twitter while teens tend to use Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram. This technology allows everyone to stay in touch whether the results are good or bad. When people really take a moment to think about how social media is affecting their lives, they may find that it actually has some negative consequences. Staying connected through social media can be harmful to users because of problems with addiction, increases in cyberbullying, and issues with mental health.

One harmful cause of social media is addiction in teenagers. Most teens can’t go without checking their social media feed several times a day. The popularity of these apps has caused more people to create their own accounts. According to the article, “The Rise of Social Media,” by Esteban Ortiz-Ospina, “Social media platforms are used by one-in-three people in the world, and more than two-thirds of all internet users' (Ortiz-Ospina). Certain social media platforms are also more likely to be used by different age groups. This can help show what people of different ages find to be addicting. The article, “These are the Most Popular Social Networks in the US,” states, “Those ages 18 to 24 are substantially more likely than those ages 25 to 29 to say they use Snapchat (73% vs. 47%) and Instagram (75% vs. 57%)' (Perrin). Younger people, who are more up-to-date with technology than older people, are more likely to use social media accounts on these apps. Since a large portion of teenagers have at least one social media account, it is easy for them to get wrapped up in other people’s lives. Teens more than anyone have become obsessed with their number of followers, and how many likes or comments they get on a post. A lot of people allow their social media networks to notify them when someone likes or comments on one of their posts. The ding can become addicting, and make checking social media a more frequent activity. Because teenagers are so absorbed with what other people think, they are constantly looking at it to see what their friends are doing and saying. Social media is like a drug; once you start using it, it is hard to get off of it.

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Social media addiction also impacts how people interact with one another. Instead of getting together with friends in person, teens often connect virtually. Social media makes it really easy for people to contact others online. Ortiz-Ospina’s article says that 'the rapid and vast adoption of these technologies is changing how we find partners, how we access information from the news, and how we organize to demand political change” (Ortiz Ospina). Communication in the world has taken a whole new approach since everything can be done through technology. Even when people do get together to hang out, they are mostly on their phones. Many teens will say that technology is what helps them connect with their friends. On the other hand, their parents may have a different opinion. In Kimberly Hornsby’s article, “Are Teens Really Addicted to Social Media? A Review of It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens,” she says that “adults, however, believe that teens are addicted to social media and that this addiction is stifling their ability to interact socially' (Hornsby 56). Because teenagers are so used to talking to each other through texts or social media, there is a possibility that they may feel uncomfortable when they need to have a real conversation with someone in person. Teens use social media as an easy way to reach out to their friends, but too much time spent on it can make it harder for them to be comfortable socializing in person.

Even though social media makes it simple for teens to connect with others, it also takes them away from enjoying the people around them. Teens are constantly looking at their phones, so they are missing out on important life experiences that do not involve technology. For example, it is hard for teenagers to get through a school day without checking their phones. Hornsby’s article says that in order to keep learning environments separate from all distractions of phones, 'Educators make rules for students in classrooms, schools, and districts regarding use of technology devices' (Hornsby 56). The main reason teenagers sneak their phones into class with them is so that they can talk to their friends. Since this is the case, it would be better if they hung out in person more often outside of school. However, this idea does not stop teens from bringing their phones into class. Hornsby’s article explains that 'to them, these media constitute a way to stay connected with friends in an increasingly busy world' (Hornsby 56). It is true that it can be hard to coordinate getting together with everyone’s busy schedules, however, it is more valuable to spend time with friends in person as much as possible. Communicating with friends through social media apps, texting, or FaceTime isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the primary way that people use to socialize with others. Since humans are social beings, social interactions with other people are necessary. It is most enjoyable when people socialize with their friends away from all distractions of phones and social media. According to the article, “What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect From Tech For Three Days,” by Katrina Schwartz, “Several students noticed that when they didn't have their phones or iPads, they were more ready to connect with friends and family, and more aware when those people were themselves wrapped up in devices” (Schwartz). When phones are set aside and social media is no longer an interruption, people can actually enjoy quality time together. Teenagers are so absorbed in the world of social media, so it is important for them to be able to step away from all of it and appreciate the world outside of their phones.

Because of social media, cyberbullying is becoming a bigger concern for adolescents. While bullying has always been an unfortunate reality, social media has allowed it to become out of control. Cyberbullying is more likely to happen when teenagers spend more time on social media. This is because it gives other users more opportunities to send hurtful comments. The article, “Associations Between Social Media and Cyberbullying: a Review of the Literature,” by Renee Garett et al. states that “this ability to share has given young people unprecedented access to private information and a readily available platform to leverage that information against others' (Garett et al.). Teens that use social media sometimes have the ability to get onto information that most people wouldn’t want to be shared publicly. People can be cyberbullied in many different ways because it doesn’t always take the same form. According to the article, “Cyberbullying Experiences On-the-Go: When Social Media can Become Distressing,” by Anke Görzig and Lara A. Frumkin, “Cyberbullying can take various forms such as sending unwanted, derogatory, or threatening comments, spreading rumors, sending pictures or videos that are offensive or embarrassing by text, email, chat, or posting on websites including social networking sites (Görzig and Frumkin). This shows that cyberbullying is not just putting a mean comment on someone’s post. Bullies use many different methods of cyberbullying, and sometimes it is not as obvious to other people.

Teens, and even adults, tend to feel more comfortable saying hurtful things online rather than face-to-face. This is because they do not have to worry about what reaction they are going to get from their victim. Bullying is not as noticeable to other people when it is done through the internet. Social media makes it easy for bullies to send mean messages to other users. The article, “Automatic Detection of Cyberbullying in social media text” says that “social media [increases] the risk of children being confronted with threatening situations including grooming or sexually transgressive behavior, signals of depression and suicidal thoughts, and cyberbullying' (Van Hee et al.). All social media users should know that there is a possibility of cyberbullying which can lead to dangerous or unhealthy outcomes for them. Garett’s article also says that “cyberbullying, a growing problem associated with social media use, has become a significant public health concern that can lead to mental and behavioral health issues and an increased risk of suicide' (Garett et al.). Cyberbullying can be so hurtful on social media that it makes it more likely for teens to acquire health problems. Social media itself might not promote bullying, but it does provide easy access for cyberbullying to occur.

Some people say social media can be a good way for teens to encourage and build each other up, however, that is not always true. Yes, some teenagers may feel like social media gives them the encouragement they need to feel better about themselves. An article written by the Mayo Clinic Staff argues that “these networks can provide teens with valuable support, especially helping those who experience exclusion or have disabilities or chronic illnesses' (“Teens and social media use: What's the impact?”). This may be the scenario for some teenagers, but it is not the case for everyone. This is important to remember because there will always be people in the world who try to tear others down. Social media is a place where they are able to do that. According to Görzig and Frumkin’s article, 'Our findings indicate that cyberbullying on-the-go causes more distress than cyberbullying does already' (Görzig and Frumkin). People should not assume that all users on social media have pure motivations to uplift everyone else. No matter what people do, there will always be bullies on social media who ridicule other users for their looks, opinions, or anything else. No one is going to be liked by everyone, and there are some people who simply want to make the lives of others miserable. While it is true that there are plenty of social media users who are supportive of other people, it is inevitable that there will always be bullies in the world.

Many of the mental health issues that adolescents experience come from the use of social media. Some teens may feel left out which can lead to mental problems like sadness and depression. According to the Mayo Clinic Staff, “A 2019 study of more than 6,500 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S. found that those who spent more than three hours a day using social media might be at heightened risk for mental health problems' (“Teens and Social Media Use: What's the Impact?”). Parents need to pay attention to the amount of time their teens spend on social media because too much usage can be unsafe. If teens are on social media too much, there is a possibility, and even a likelihood, that they could start to feel depressed or worthless. The cyberbullying issue on social media can also cause teenagers to become depressed and insecure about themselves. When teens are sad, they will sometimes isolate themselves in their rooms with their phones. This can be dangerous because it can lead them to inappropriate sites. An editorial by The Lancet states that 'whatever the context, and whoever should take responsibility, social media platforms have been providing a route through which young people can find explicit images of self-harm' (“Social Media, Screen Time, and Young People’s Mental Health” 611). Teens who get into these bad images are at risk of either developing a mental illness or even committing suicide. Social media usage should be monitored in order to prevent adolescents from being at risk of harmful effects.

Social media can cause anxiety in teenagers by pressuring them into feeling like they have to look, act, or think a certain way. There are a lot of expectations put out on social media, and teens feel the need to live up to them. Teenagers do whatever it takes to make themselves look good, even if it means that they have to hide who they really are. According to the article, “How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers,” by Rachel Ehmke, 'The more identities you have, and the more time you spend pretending to be someone you aren’t, the harder it’s going to be to feel good about yourself' (Ehmke). Teens are more focused on who society wants them to be than on who they want themselves to be. Social media can cause teens to become self-conscious about their appearance, beliefs, lifestyle, and more. In fact, a lot of teenage girls especially are at risk of developing eating disorders because of anxiety that comes from social media. There are a ton of images on the internet of what the perfect body should look like, and teenage girls do whatever they can to make themselves look like models. Ellen Feldman’s article, “Social Media Use and Disordered Eating in Young Adolescents,” says that “social media use and DE [Disordered Eating] behaviors and cognition are common in young adolescents' (Feldman). This shows that eating disorders are becoming more and more common because of social media. Anxiety is a bigger problem for teenagers today because social media pressures them with certain expectations.

Although staying in touch with friends through social media can be good, it can negatively affect mental health. Many teenagers struggle with mental health issues, and a lot of those cases are acquired through social media usage. The Mayo Clinic Staff argues that 'social media that are humorous or distracting or provides a meaningful connection to peers and a wide social network might even help teens avoid depression' (“Teens and Social Media Use: What's the Impact?”). Even though social media might help some teens avoid problems like depression, either being ignored or receiving insensitive comments can be so hurtful. Ehmke’s article explains that through social media, 'Kids now know with depressing certainty when they’re being ignored' (Ehmke). Teenagers need to limit their time on social media because it can be unhealthy for their mental well-being. The article, “Problematic Online Behaviors among Adolescents and Emerging Adults: Associations between Cyberbullying Perpetration, Problematic Social Media Use, and Psychosocial Factors,” explains that 'it was found that the teenagers emotionally invested too much in social media during night and day, had low sleep quality, low self-esteem, high anxiety, and high depression levels' (Kırcaburun et al. 894). This is proof that the more time teens spend on social media, the more likely it is for mental health issues to evolve.

Addiction problems, cyberbullying escalations, and mental health issues are all examples of unhealthy effects that are caused by social media. Since many people are under the spell of social media, they do not know what to do without it. Perhaps some people don’t even realize they have an addiction problem. Teenagers in particular cannot imagine what their lives would be like if they did not have social media. All social platforms keep our world interconnected. Even though the beneficial intent is to give people the ability to stay in contact from anywhere around the world, it comes with downsides. While it is unlikely that anyone is going to stop using social media, everyone can still be more cautious when they do use it. Social media alone is not the problem. The problem is how people choose to use it.

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Exemplification Essay about Social Media. (2023, November 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/exemplification-essay-about-social-media/
“Exemplification Essay about Social Media.” Edubirdie, 21 Nov. 2023, edubirdie.com/examples/exemplification-essay-about-social-media/
Exemplification Essay about Social Media. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/exemplification-essay-about-social-media/> [Accessed 22 Jun. 2024].
Exemplification Essay about Social Media [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Nov 21 [cited 2024 Jun 22]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/exemplification-essay-about-social-media/
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