Social Media No More?
Many people in the world today have the mindset of “if you don’t like it, leave it”. Social media has taken over the internet, and with that comes increases in cyber bullying, lack of self-esteem and suicide. Of course, there are several opponents to this viewpoint that counter the argument by saying if people were just to stay off of the platforms and live a social media free life, then these problems would not be so prevalent in society. While this may be true and useful advice to some people, it is almost impossible to rid social media presence completely. Younger teens are not always being monitored in order to stay offline, school and work now flow through social media platforms and electronic access only continues to grow. So how long is “just stop using social media” really a solution?
Social Media has blown up over the past decade and grown millions of users. Sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter all depend on user generated content to keep the site growing and popular. This all seems great until you look at the statistics of what these platforms and “likes” are doing to young users. 52% of students have reported being the victim of cyberbullying with 84.2% naming Facebook as the site through which they have been bullied, followed by Instagram (23.4%), Twitter (21.4%), and Snapchat (13.5%). This bullying can stem from photos posted, the number of likes a picture has or how many followers a user has. Students who range younger in age take this sort of bullying into a different head space. Middle school children who are victims of cyberbullying are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide than a high school student. A different 2016 study found that overuse of social media as an adolescent may decrease success in relationships later in life as online communication hinders the development of conflict management skills and awareness of interpersonal cues. In turn, this can cause low self esteem and a lot of future issues with self-appreciation. Instead of doing away with being able to see the amount of likes a user is getting to assist in bringing these statistics down, opposing viewpoints say to get off of the site completely. This is not possible and would never work in today’s society for an ample amount of reasons.
Deleting social media all together seems like a peaceful getaway. Sure, it’s a semi permeant solution to end cyberbullying, low self-esteem and suicide caused by social media, but not an everlasting one. Parents think they have full control over their children at all times and can limit what they are seeing online. Facts are, they don’t. Kids will never stop migrating to new apps that are foreign to parents. Banning social media just isn’t realistic. All that is needed to be a new user on a social site is an email address and internet access. With this being said, students would still be able to access the sites and find themselves in the same position they are now. This could also end worse than if likes were just deleted because the young users would have no one to turn to if they were being bullied and felt low since they have been hiding the accounts. This is the ultimate backfire and would be the opposite of what success would look like.
Not only would banning young teens from social media be nearly impossible, it could also lead to issues in school. There’s a risk of social marginalization for kids who are not allowed to socialize in this way that’s now so embedded in social lives. If a teenager is at the age where all of their friends are on social media it can lead to feelings of being left out, isolated and socially ostracized from peers. Again, this could lead to self-harm and irreversible neurological damage. Another reason banning social media can have the reverse effect.
Another reason the argument of banning social media is invalid and unattainable in todays world is due to work and school flow through the sites. 48% of job-seekers credit social media for helping find their current job and 69% of students use social media when finding internships. Ignoring these sites would hurt the value that they bring to the table. Social media is also sometimes required for school research and to network with fellow students. In the United States more than 80% of college and university faculty use social media; more than 50% use it for teaching; and 30% for communicating with students. This is a need and another reason deleting the site as a whole would hinder students and not aid to their success.
Social media is seen for all of its negatives at most times but deleting it would be detrimental in case of emergency. Federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals surveyed say that they use social media to notify the public of emergencies or disasters. Facebook also allows people to mark themself safe in the event of a crisis which notifies the friends list that the user is okay. This would be otherwise impossible without an account.
Critics who emphasize the concept of deleting social media as a whole is almost ridiculous. Not only is this nearly impossible but there are also many negatives that are not be looked into. Sure, a parent can “ban” their child from social media, but they can still sneak on anyway and see worse effects in isolation and becoming ostracized. Businesses thrive on social media existence and taking it away completely would only create a collapse of them. Schools (especially since COVID) have been using social media sites to communicate with students and allow students to get in touch with one another as well. Taking away this avenue could affect learning completely. Lastly, it all sounds amazing to live a social media free life until a crisis occurs. Marking ourselves safe and becoming aware of surrounding dangers in the world in a timely manner would be taken way if social media wasn’t in Americans lives. Deleting social media as a whole is just not the answer. Maybe doing the lesser of two and taking away the likes social media presents would be a perfect intermediate point. Not showing likes would allow for the use of social media for all the positives, without giving users a reason to feel insecure and low.
LexisNexis, “Social Media Use in Law Enforcement: Crime Prevention and Investigative Activities Continue to Drive Usage,” lexisnexis.com, Nov. 2014
opRank Marketing News, “TopRank Fast Facts: 50+ Useful Consumer Insights & Statistics for Online Marketers,” toprankmarketing.com, May 20, 2013
Statistic Brain, “Cyberbullying / Bullying Statistics,” statisticbrain.com (accessed July 13, 2016)
PMF, do not use a Rhetorical Question as your thesis statement. Don’t use them at all if you don’t have a license. You can apply to me for a license; you haven’t asked for one yet. If what you mean is “Just stop using social media is no solution at all,” then say that.
I spend a lot of time on opening paragraphs because they’re where most essays go wrong. Yours requires some attention.
—Breaks Fails For Grammar Rule 7.
—More importantly, it does not set up a Worthy Opponent. For readers to take your Rebuttal seriously, you need to combat somebody with some gravitas. Instead, you offer as the most powerful spokesperson for the loyal opposition: Many people.
—Even if you successfully dismantle “common knowledge,” you won’t have accomplished much.
—Can you find some authority figure who makes this claim? That the best solution to problems caused by social media is to disdain social media?
—Social media could take over the internet without causing an increase in bullying and suicide if nobody used the internet, PMF. The unspoken premise in your logic here is that impressionable teens, for example, use the internet all day, predominantly social media and because of all that exposure, they get bullied more and feel worse about it.
—Find the most impressive purveyor of this point of view and refute HER.
—Identifying who THIS is useful to is essential. Can your grandma abstain from social media? Maybe. But if my grandkids said so about me, they’d get an argument. More importantly, concentrate on who CAN’T avoid social media. Dismiss the group who CAN as quickly but as specifically as you can.
—Who are “younger teens”? 13- and 14-year-olds? Don’t you just mean teens?
—You move too fast here, skipping the essentials.
—Teens NEED social media to do their schoolwork. Lead with the strong one.
—Their social lives are conducted through social media. We don’t want to deprive them of friends.
—Familiarity with social media is a new and essential life skill.
—THEN you can mention that even if we wanted to, we couldn’t keep them off of it (can’t be monitored 24 hours).
—Rephrase as a bold clear claim.
It’s not too soon to put the blame where it belongs (in two places):
So social media depends on USER CONTENT for everything it does.
It produces no content of its own. It’s merely a platform for others to put on a show. It provides only the stage, and tickets are free.
Trouble is, when the users are the show, and they know they’re essential to the business, they say whatever comes into their heads without fear of consequences. And that invitation to mayhem can be devastating for the impressionable victims of its excess.
You make an completely unexpected turn somewhere in this argument, introducing “likes” into an indictment of bullying. Wha—?
You keep trying to sneak “likes” into your arguments where we’re not prepared for them, PMF. You do it again here. I guess it’s extremely important to your overall hypothesis, but it feels intrusive where you squeeze it in here:
Your final refutation of the supposed demand to ban all social media completely is pretty much an obvious straw man argument, PMF. No reader will take that position seriously, so it doesn’t earn you much to refute it. As for keeping teens off social media to protect them from abuse, that’s more worthy of serious consideration, but you’ve pretty much handled that one by the time you get to your conclusion.