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Social Media – Fear or Love?

Social media. It’s everywhere and no matter who you are, you can’t escape its captivating clutches. On the outside, social media looks oh so glamourous, but what are the true intentions of these sites? Are they here to show us love and help us express our very human desire to share our life experiences? Or are they scaring us into feeling inadequate and insecure? The relationship between someone and their social media account is very personal and something only this generation can really understand, but how is it affecting us? Social media – friend or foe?

We all know what FOMO is (fear of missing out, just in case you didn’t know), and social media is the hotspot of FOMO. Whenever you look at a highlight reel and see someone else living ‘the perfect life’ it has a direct negative impact on your day and later your life. FOMO describes the feeling of people having rewarding experiences without us. Social media isn’t the only place this feeling occurs, but it is the most accessible way. Fear of missing out literally has the word fear in it, so in this case, fear is the winner.

On the other hand, social media has now become a great way to make romantic connections. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of creeps out there sliding into people’s DMs, but as unlikely as it may sound, finding love via social media isn’t that uncommon. With an instant connection right at your fingertips, social media allows you to scroll through someone’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, and interests, then gives you the chance to express your curiosity by messaging them straight away. Obviously, not all social media love stories go the distance, but with the chance to meet someone you may have a fabulous connection with, this round has to go to love.

This new generation of teenagers have only now just started to navigate the scary world of social media, and as I have been observing this, there are common fears that they all share. First, it’s an unknown experience. Fearing something new is only natural, but when you put yourself out there for the world to see, it can be terrifying. Not only do they have to contend with people they see at school, but they now have to deal with online trolls that make them feel bad about themselves while at home. When I was younger, this was only just starting to be a thing, but it was NOTHING compared to what it is now. People also get scared they are going to post the wrong thing and be mocked for it. Whether it’s a selfie, picture of their pet, or fun gathering, the amount of stress put on young people to look like they have the perfect life is crazy. Finally, and this is one for the adults, social media can sometimes feel like a waste of time. Have you ever been scrolling through your phone and then looked up and realised that 3 hours have gone by? You’re not alone! I’m a strong believer that if you’re enjoying yourself, you’re not wasting any time, but if you feel worse about your life after all that scrolling, you may need to re-evaluate how you are spending your time. Fear wins here.

Finally, what does social media do to face-to-face connections? For some people, social media is a great tool for networking and meeting up with friends and family. However, for others, it creates a distance between themselves and their loved ones. This article wasn’t written to tell you if social media is good or bad; it’s down to you to decide. Fear or love? If I’m being honest, it can go either way, but make sure to check in on your real emotions when you spend time scrolling through your phone. Reading stuff like this isn’t going to stop anyone from being on social media (I’m on it every day), but remember that there’s a world beyond it, and that not everything you see or hear online is true.

By Pia Louisa

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