Social Media platforms are used by one in three people in the world and continuing to rise in popularity. Social sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, rule the web with user generated content. The content that is uploaded then receives likes and comments which is the lifeblood that keeps the sites alive. Social status outside of the internet has now started to be determined due to the amount of likes and followers a person has online. 90 % of social media users fall between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. This age group is easily influenced and if their social status is affected negatively from social likes, there vision of self-worth could be as well. With that being said, if social media sites were to get rid of allowing the amount of likes a user gets on to be shown on their uploaded digital content, suicide rates will lower, and self-worth will improve all due to a more equal appearance of social status.
Many people would refute the idea of social media not having likes as part of the site. Anyone that uses the platforms for business, school, or to promote themselves, benefit from allowing likes to be seen which attracts users to visit the profile. These opponents would say that those negatively effected by “likes”, cyber bullying, and abuse from other users should just remove themselves from social media completely. Just stop using social media isn’t actually a solution at all. Teens need social media to complete schoolwork and familiarity of social media is a needed life skill. Social life and friendships flow through these platforms and cutting them off wouldn’t be ideal. Even if removing those users who are most effected by negative online comments, and fall victim to lower self-worth because of these circumstances, teens could still not be monitored 24/7 to stay offline.
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 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 today’s 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.
Times have changed since the advancement and availability of technology. Now in days cell phones enable people to open these apps at the touch of a button, which can alter a person’s outlook on life and mood instantly. These sites have taken over the internet, drawing people of many different backgrounds. Users consist of several races, genders, ages, and sexual orientation, growing the sites diverse crowd. Younger users are the most frequent visitors to most social media sites along with the type of person most effected. Some effects of negative social media interaction have even been proven to lead to depression, anxiety and even suicide among teenage users who do not feel verified enough through their profiles.
Most teenagers are just trying to find their way in the world. Today it is much harder to be a teen due to social media. There are certain body standards being represented through social media, as well as goals of being an “influencer”, and getting enough “likes” on pictures. Teen and young adults are still developing emotionally, physically and mentally which can lead to stress without a solid network of support. Without this network, or when other troubling situations occur, this group can fall through the cracks leading to a heavier consideration for suicide. Teen suicide has been on the rise for years. In 2019 the highest amount of suicides among teens was recorded. Teens and young adults have outstripped the title of the group most likely to take their own lives. This is clearly a large issue that needs to be addressed and solved. There are tons of warning signs that need to be caught and ways to prevent this outcome.
Since teens are most likely to seek approval from peers and these days anyone online, negative responses or disapproval can really crush one’s ego. Teens in general are looked at to suffer from a lower self-worth and self-esteem than that of an older, more matured age group. They are more easily influenced by other’s opinions of them, which makes them an extremely vulnerable group. Once negative self-image has crept in it takes over every thought and can affect everyday life. Over 70% of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks (Unilever). The teenage brain is also nowhere close to developed which could be one of the reasons they are so easily influences by other people’s opinions. The frontal lobe doesn’t develop until mid-twenties, which is in charge of processing and reasoning and making rational decisions. As for self-esteem and social media platforms, that also goes hand in hand.
Social media sites are one of the main places people, especially teens, experience feedback in their everyday lives. These platforms thrive on fitting in and social acceptance of users. The sites are sometimes known to host rude comments and bullying. 90% of teens have been known to use social media sites, which if left with social disapproval could be detrimental to one’s self-esteem. Posting to specific sites such as Instagram and Facebook, can be due to many different motivations. Feeling loved or a place to belong, as well as getting to know people better and present oneself to many users at once are just some of the reason’s teens engage with these sites. When a selfie is posted or other aspect of a person’s life, if it is received well and shared this can lead to gratification in someone’s life. Strange the way your mood can now be determined by something completely online. Now if the opposite happens and negative words or not a lot of “likes” are given out, then that user will not feel as confident and not as validated. This can become a dangerous cycle by determining acceptance via social media and strangers. Why is it that likes can determine someone’s social status? Maybe it’s because likes and comments are seen as real-life affirmation teens seek.
Likes on social media are the main driver and reason people post to social media. Seeing which users like and comment on the media you have posted gives a feeling of instant gratification. Some people view every like as positive affirmation of their character. These likes become addictive and stimulate your brain; believe it or not. They begin to symbolize your reputation and where you socially stand. Users might start to constantly compare themselves to others with more likes them. Other things such as comments can also be misinterpreted. Not enough comments or likes as well as certain emojis being used can be misunderstood and lead to the beginning of a downfall not only on a user’s profile, but internally in their psyche as well.
Social media platforms are leading down a rabbit hole of negative effects. Teenagers interaction with the sites and how easily they are influenced and seek approval is just the start of the volatile mix. It doesn’t help that these platforms fill peoples head with false realities. From the way society is expected to look, how they are expected to act, and what material goods people should yearn for, is a big influence from social media sites. It’s easy to fall into the trap and believe social media isn’t a lie. To believe that it is the be all end all. When you take someone with a mindset such as that, their self-esteem can be greatly affected when they see someone who has more than them. When a person’s self-esteem plummets, this can lead to depression, anxiety, and the ultimate worst, suicide.
Since it is evident now that social media will never disappear completely, the effects on users, mostly teens, will be detrimental. This is only if nothing is done in order to make the site a more equal, safer, location. Some people are just more prone to need a lot more attention, positive feedback and affirmation from friends, than other users. If these type of people aren’t getting as many likes as they see fit this could tear them apart and not allow them to feel as much self-worth as they typically could or should. The other problem with this is even if the said user is getting a lot of likes, they will always be comparing themselves to others that receive more feedback then them. It’s a never-ending cycle of not feeling good enough. In these situations, it can be easy to see how people who rely on this kind of affirmation could become depressed and anxiety stricken.
According to Pantic (2014) anxiety, depression, psychotic disorders and low self-esteem are all the likely results of social networking sites, especially Facebook. These sites have high probability for cyber bullying with the ability to spread rumors and inappropriate pictures. Social media sites have also been seen to be used to combat loneliness but only lead to becoming more dissatisfied. After viewing other profiles jealousy arises when a user sees someone they see as more superior or better-off than them. As a result, they start to feel more inferior, less privileged and ungrateful. All of these can add up and result in someone trying to take their own life because of it.
The type of satisfaction that social media brings users is a type of addiction. The highs and the lows keep users coming back. Users get hooked on the feeling and need more until no amount is enough. This is no one’s fault other than the standards society has set. The social media sites themselves also have no incentive to decrease the amount of people coming to there sites, or to want to take away being able to view the interactions that take place. They are in the business to encourage users to become addicted to their site. They do not care about each individual, only their sites success.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth aged 10–24 years old globally. Many of these people have never even met with mental health services or showed any signs. Many questions were asked to get down to the bottom of this and figure out the cause. Research showed that there was an association between increased social media/internet use and suicide in this age group particularly. This seemed to be due to the fact that social media sites have the potential to both suggest and reinforce negative thoughts and behaviors. Social medias influence on suicide is a public health problem that was created and now needs addressing. Many organizations are now trying to make that a reality from the internet, how contradicting.
Many social media sites have teamed up with agencies to try and prevent suicide and increase the self-worth that society and social media platforms destroyed in the first place. The American Academy of Pediatrics warned that social media use can cause depression. Since many negative claims about social media have come to fruition, they are trying to now flip the script. Many social sites teamed with suicide watch hotlines and Facebook made a new feature which allows users to flag posts that seem suicidal. Mental health researchers are also increasingly analyzing tweets and Facebook messages to find out who is suicidal and try to take steps to better understand suicide prevention. Social media sites will not be going away anytime soon, so it only makes sense to take this as an opportunity to learn about it and improve.
How social sites effect the world around it is a multi-level structure. There are many different outcomes that are different for everyone. Not all people are negatively affected by social media or feel the need to receive likes to be validated. “Influencers” changed the social media game and made receiving likes popular and the goal. For people that aspire to be like this and need this constant affirmation, they can find themselves in a lonely place. Social media can become drug like and addicting because of this therefor resulting in lower self-worth. Lower self-worth then turns into anxiety, depression, and has even been seen in the worst of cases to result in cases of suicide. Social sites will never stop the amount of likes they get because that would be counterintuitive to their mission, so instead they team with suicide prevention to keep the sites popular. These issues will lead to further problems and the cycle will continue on. Social media and its “likes” cease to see an end, so for now the vicious effects will continue on.
After looking at all of the facts, it is evident a change needs to be made to social media platforms. Social media is so relevant in todays society that it can’t just be washed away, nor would businesses, schools or anyone who likes to communicate over the web, allow it. The next best thing would be getting rid of and removing likes from the platforms. This would greatly benefit teen users that have low self-confidence, are bullied, and who feel attacked over the use of them. Instead of having teens who are anxiety ridden, depressed and contemplate suicide, removing these likes would lead to a more stable mental health state among users. An enjoyer of these sites would no longer have to worry about their image or how many people are paying attention to their content. Its time for big names like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to make the change. Taking away likes on uploaded digital content to social media sites would drastically drop suicide rates in teens and raise morale and self-worth among users due to a more equal appearance of social status.