Is Social Media really social?

Is Social Media really social?

By Ashwini Wijegunaratne

“Distracted from reality by distraction.” Social media is an interactive technology, often consisting of apps or websites. It allows its users to share and discuss their ideas on a free public platform along with other online users. According to Brand watch, there are 3.725 billion active social media users and 7.6% have social accounts on numerous apps. There are various aspects of social media, mainly categorized into positives and negatives.

Social media has a reputation for being addictive. Teens anywhere for 13-18 years spend at least 9 hours a day on social media. Though just a simple fact, this information proves that our future generation dedicates his/her attention span to software daily. Therefore, we are lacking in an important aspect which is face-to-face communication and emotional connections. For instance, when in public, such as with family, teenagers would still browse their social networks. This expresses that most teenagers find it challenging to carry on a conversation or any interaction. A study by Harvard University stated, ‘social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when taking an addictive substance.’ Ultimately, this harmless social media addiction could progressively make an individual: anti-social.

Online vs reality is another aspect of social media. When the majority of the population is exposed to social media, they tend to lose grasp of reality. As an example, on social media there are individuals referred to as “content creators.” Particular influencers portray themselves and everything surrounding them flawlessly. Their “perfect” life is contradictory to reality. A simple post by an “influencer” could cause inadequacy about life and appearance to their ‘followers’. As most fanbases consist of teenagers. Teens seem to think that if they don’t look as pretty, handsome, rich or famous as others are : they feel  unworthy. This leaves them with insecurities, overwhelming thoughts and disorders. Children and teenagers often mimic whatever they see. So, a teenager would obviously love to be like their idol. This prevents them from seeing reality as a whole because of these high expectations, social media influences.

Also, a negative aspect of social media is cyberbullying. Owning a social media account attracts hate too.  For instance, Megan Meier whose death sparked discovery to the term ‘cyberbullying’ was an American teenager who died from suicide by hanging herself three weeks before her 14th birthday, due to being constantly cyberbullied on a social app.”  This is an example of how social media influences people to fall into online hate. Social network is a breeder where negativity arises from. It may start out as a few hate comments, then into hurtful and meaner ones and subsequently, it would be physical or life-threatening.


Nowadays, threats or hateful comments are usually found on social media. Once again, there is no face-to-face interaction but simply another person, another human behind a big screen criticizing another.

Online hate contributes to a person’s mentality being shattered. It causes a big risk to those affected but a greater risk to those already mentally disturbed.  Nearly, more than 700 000 people commit suicide. According, to the (WHO) World Health Organization, ages are between 15-19 years old.

The connection between social media, cyberbullying and suicide is self-explanatory. Certain social media accounts gain hate, which eventually leads to the person being cyberbullied. The threats and hate were overwhelming for some, leading to them unfortunately taking their own life. Due to jealousy and resentment against a particular person on social media, can leave a serious impact on their life.

However, there are some positive aspects of social media. It provides free open communication to your friends and family. You are able to chat and talk to people from anywhere. It can be a place where you could potentially make new friends. For instance, apps like Instagram and Twitter enable you to talk about things you feel passionate about. When similar interests and ideas collide, new friendships and bonds emerge as well. Social media helps spread and bring awareness to certain issues. News channels, both local and global, have social accounts as well, posting articles regularly to a large public audience. These are a few of the many positive aspects social media contains.


This article illustrates the aspects of social media. The negatives are being addictive, reality vs online, and cyberbullying whereas, the positives are open communication and awareness of certain issues. Social media, in the name itself, means social, but is it really?

In my opinion, I strongly agree that social media’s positive aspects are overshadowed by the negative. It is addictive and to some extent irreplaceable, but is does have a flip side, resulting in serious consequences.