Technology advancements and the internet have made communication effective since their invention. Through them, social media has become the most used way of maintaining connection and interaction between friends and enhanced socialization. However, it has also come with so many negative effects that continue to the affection of its users. This report aims to discuss the negative impact of social media. Through interviews with social media users and previous research, social media can lead to anxiety and stress, lower academic performance, cyberbullying, mental and physical health problems, and even FOMO problems. But by managing the time spent on social media, creating public awareness about the negative side of social media, and making profiles more private, the negative effects of social media can be reduced and controlled. Having enough sleep and less time on social media will make the body healthier, and thus, productivity will be increased both at work and school. Parents should limit their teen’s time on social media to allow them to attend activities like doing assignments and reading.
Letter of Acknowledgement
I would like to give many thanks and warmest acknowledgment to my colleagues and my supervisors for the work that they did to make this work ready and possible. Their guidance helped in all my stages of preparing their report. The advisory committee was very supportive, and they allowed me to present my draft to them and made very positive comments about my paper.
Special thanks also go to my family for their continuous support throughout my research and in preparing this report. You were a key pillar in this journey.
Lastly, I wish to thank God for helping me overcome many obstacles, and through him, I got encouragement and guidance. I will keep my trust in you in the future.
List of Illustrations
Figure 1: Depressed and stressed social media user
Figure 2: Unhealthy sleep patterns makes a student sleep in school
Figure 3:Cyberbullying effects on social media users
Figure 4: Obesity in teens from spending too much time on social media
Modernization and globalization have brought a lot of development in the world of technical advancements, allowing humans to see life as easier and better. The innovation of the internet has made communication easier and improved the socialization of people and interaction globally. Many people, more so teenagers, have taken this opportunity offered by the internet and used them in social media, which has helped them maintain the connection and interaction with friends and even their families, as seen in Appendix A. However, the continued use of social media has had its downfalls and has become a global issue. The excessive use of social media has had its share of negative effects on the well-being of social media users, more so the teens who are heavily over-reliant on social media. This report will discuss the negative impacts of social media and share how it affects users’ overall well-being.
Data from this research will be collected in two common ways. One of the methods that data will be collected is through observation. This is because some social media effects can be physically seen by how social media users behave and a change in their daily routine and hobbies. Continuous use of social media affects how a person interacts and socializes; therefore, when such a change happens, it will be easily recognizable from afar. Therefore, observation will be used to identify how social media users are affected by the excessive use of social media, more so the teenagers who are in large percentage the common users of social media and who experience the negative effects of it.
Interviews will also be used where face-to-face interviews will be conducted with social media users, and questions will be asked about how the use of social media has affected them. Parents also will be interviewed as they are the closest to their young teens who are social media addicts, and they will give an account of how the use of social media affects their teens. It is important to note that the parents and guardians are the first to notice a behavior change in their young ones. Therefore, they are the first people to spot a difference in the behaviors of their teenagers. This makes them a source of information on the effects of social media and how it affects young teens who are obsessed with continuous time spent on social media platforms.
The last method that will be used to get data on this report will be from archives. Previous studies have been conducted on the negative effects of social media. Therefore, they contain information useful in detailing how social media can be physically and mentally detrimental to users. Previous researches and government resources are also rich in information about social media. Thus, they will offer the required evidence of how social media affects users negatively and how it can destroy teens’ futures despite its innovation to bring easy communication, socialization, and interaction between people and their friends. The effects will then be discussed in detail, and recommendations on what can be done to provide a chance for future measures to curb the effects.
One of the negative effects of social media is that it causes depression and anxiety. Networking on social media, especially with teenagers, is common on these platforms. Social media users post about their lavish life, which makes teens social media tempted to compare with what their pals are posting (Usgaonkar et al., 2021). This develops negative emotions about themselves and makes them unhappy as they find themselves a low grade from their friends on social media. Therefore, they start admiring the lavish life their parents cannot afford, and they end up suffering from stress and anxiety trying to figure out how they can afford such a life they see their friends living on social media.
Social media also leads to body problems, where an individual develops back pains and eye problems. When a person spends a long time on social media, the lights from the phone screen or the computers may affect their eyes, and when the time spent on them is long, the eye tends to develop some problems. Also, the body sometimes becomes tired, making the individual suffer back pains from the continuous spending of time glued to the screens (Abi-Jaoude et al., 2020). The addiction and the back pains make many of them lazy and unable to work due to the pain in their body, thus lowering their productivity. When the back pains and at its extreme because the individuals cannot get time to stretch and do exercises, their body becomes intact and may result in overweight and obesity which are very dangerous to the overall health of the individual.
Cyberbullying is another negative effect of social media. The invention of social media was to make communication easy and fast. Still, it has allowed bad people to act cruelly on innocent social media users. Social media will enable people with bad intentions to use anonymous social media profiles to terrorize them. These cyberbullies may portray like friends and later betray and embarrass you. They can also extort money in the name of friends in need, and before you realize that you have been scammed, deep metal scars are already left that hurt individuals in the future. According to research by Abaido (2020), cyberbullying on social media continues to rise daily, affecting self-esteem, as shown in Appendix B. It can also result in abduction when abductors pretend to be found using anonymous profiles, which may be the worst-case scenario as it can even lead to deaths.
Low performance is another negative effect the parents gave that contributed to social media usage. As noted, many social media users are teenagers who are their schooling age. When they spend much time on socio-media, they have no time to make on their studies and even do home assignments. One parent argued that she has tried to talk to his son about spending too much time on the phone and computers, but he has been unable to stop (Wei, 2021). This is because they have been addicted to social media, and thus, when it comes to academics, they always report poor performance because they never studied and spent most of their time on the internet flirting. The stress and anxiety caused by cyberbullying also affect teenagers’ concentration, which means they comprehend nothing in class, hence poor academic performance. This is a poor effect as it can spell doom for the future of these young teens.
As scientists argue, sleeping is an important healthy factor for the body. Social media users have been found to have unhealthy sleep patterns due to spending too much time on the screens. Lack of enough sleep greatly affects productivity, whether as a student or a s worker. When a worker spends too much time on social media and fails to get enough sleep, they end up sleeping in areas of work, and this can lead to their dismissal from their job. Students may also find themselves sleeping in class, thus, losing so much. In extreme cases, the students can also get dismissed from school, which is a bad outcome for both the parents who had high hopes in them and the teens who may end up having a miserable life from what they would have gotten if they got educated.
Another common negative effect of social media on users is FOMO. This is a phenomenon that has been so apparent and so widespread globally. This is the experience and the fear of missing out on something, and it is very dangerous as it can lead to depression and anxiety. This is where an individual is attracted to what happens on social media and to their friends and keeps checking if they have been invited or something that their friends are doing (Stegner, 2023). When they encounter what friends are doing in life, they fear missing out because they feel they can still do what their friends are doing. A response may lead teenagers to attend nightclubs and bashes, which may be bad for them and result in bad life experiences. Suppose they cannot get what their friends are doing. In that case, they become depressed and see themselves as losers, and this may develop mental problems, which may affect their productivity and academic performance oy the students.
Findings and Recommendations
From the data collected about the negative effects of social media, it is evident that it, despite its invention to make communication more easy and effective, has brought a lot of negative effects. While there are many positive effects of social media and people who have benefited much from it from business ideas, socialization, and getting learning material, others have concentrated on its negative part, making it seem like a bad move. The effects of social media on its users have also been found to have long-term consequences, more so the scars and the emotional damage it leaves on individuals. Cases like abduction, cybercrime, and cyberbullying leave permanent scars on the victims.
Anxiety and depression also affect individuals in their lifetime, especially at their extreme, where it causes permanent mental health problems. Students ‘ continuous use of social media is very dangerous to their academic journey, and thus, it becomes a societal issue that requires strategies to manage it. While social media cannot be taken away due to its negative effects due to its positive importance., there are various recommendations that, when implemented, can be used to such some of these negative effects of social media and help to reduce the cases of social media misuse.
One recommendation to reduce these effects, especially on back pains and eye problems, is to limit the time spent on social media. Common senses and psychologists recommend that the time spent on social media be half an hour daily (Bail, 2022). This will ensure that most of the time is spent on productive activities and will boost the productivity of workers and students in school. Spending little time on social media will also allow the social media enough sleep; thus, unhealthy sleep effects will affect health status and productivity.
On cyberbullying, social media users should learn how to make their profiles on social media platforms more private. This will ensure that anonymous profilers will have little attention to them as it will be difficult to access their profiles. This will also boost their social security; media accounts and cyberbullies will not know whom to attack and bully as they will have little access to their profiles (Yao et al., 2019). When this is done, cyberbullying cases will be reduced, and many people will not suffer from cyberbullying in the future when their accounts are private. Public awareness on how to use social media and accepting ourselves will also help social media users from comparing themselves with their friends on social media and reduce the urge of wanting to achieve what their social media friends post. Social media posts should be taken as fun, not a mirror, so the anxiety and stress of doing what your friends are doing is reduced.
Internet and social media are important innovations of technology advancements in today’s world, and they have greatly contributed to different fields like business, communication, learning, and even health matters. However, the negative side of it has become a great global issue due to its effects on users. Social media have many negative effects, some of which can be detrimental to an individual’s life. Social media can cause stress and anxiety, with many suffering from mental problems, cyberbullying, FOMO, and low academic performance. But with proper social media usage, these negative effects can be reduced without avoiding social media, as some people have benefited from it. By following the recommendations discussed above, these negative effects can be managed and concentrated, and make social media a productive platform and innovation whose products are important and positive and not bring negative results to its users.
Abaido, G. M. (2020). Cyberbullying on social media platforms among university students in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, 25(1), 407–420.
Abi-Jaoude, E., Naylor, K. T., & Pignatiello, A. (2020). Smartphones, social media use, and youth mental health. Cmaj, 192(6), E136-E141.
Bail, C. (2022). Breaking the social media prism: How to make our platforms less polarizing. Princeton University Press.
Stegner, B. (2023, February 22). 7 Negative Effects of Social Media on People and Users. MakeUseOf. https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/negative-effects-social-media/
Usgaonkar, U., Parkar, S. R. S., & Shetty, A. (2021). Impact of the use of digital devices on eyes during the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, 69(7), 1901.
Wei, R. (2021). Analysis of negative effects on social media. Journal of Sociology and Ethnology, 3(5), 179–181.
Yao, M., Chelmis, C., & Zois, D. S. (2019, May). Cyberbullying ends here: Towards robust detection of cyberbullying in social media. In The World Wide Web Conference (pp. 3427-3433).
Glossary of Terms
FOMO– Fear of Missing Out
Globalization– The effect of technology in making the world more connected and more interdependence
Modernization– The progressive transition and adaptation from traditional methods of doing things to more profound and modern ways
Cyberbullying– The act of sharing rumors and false information about somebody on social media to cause embarrassment and humiliation to the person.
Abduction– forcefully taking a person against their will and without any persuasion or by force.
Social Media Profile– the description of a person’s social characteristics that they use to identify themselves on social media platforms.