A little over a decade ago, social media started to become popular. Between Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook (to name a few), these platforms were created with the hopes of increasing human interactions. It has now grown bigger than most of their inventers could have imagined, with approximately 2.77 billion users worldwide (Statistica.com). However, as the social media realm has become increasingly popular, the platforms that were once intended to encourage human communication is actually killing it.
Wherever you are at this very moment, take a look around. Whether you’re out to dinner with your family, or simply walking around a city – I guarantee you that someone is looking down at their phone. This is something that has become increasingly normal – and that goes hand in hand with the rise of social media. This kind of head-down, block-everything-else-around-you type of thing is the foundation of what is causing human to human relationships to deteriorate.
“There is never a time I go out to dinner or go to like, a park and I don’t see people looking straight down at their phone,” said senior Jordan Monello. “It’s honestly sad because it has become second nature, and no one thinks it is a big deal when they see this. People escape in their phones and act like nothing is going on around them.”
Not only is social media killing human to human relationships in person, it’s also doing so through cyber bullying. Like social media itself, cyber bullying has become more common as the platforms gain popularity. Over 50% of adults and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying themselves (BullyingStatistics.org). This is largely because of how easy it is – 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than in person (DoSomething.org). Is there anything worse for human relationships than to bully each other using a digital device? It’s a problem that has gotten out of control, as these numbers reflect – and it’s something that may never be solved as long as social media exists.
“Cyber bullying is without a doubt one of the biggest issues that America faces,” said senior Will Byren. “Kids think that since they are behind a screen, they can say whatever they want to someone else and it can really hurt them. Social media is obviously the biggest reason for this, as its giving these kids the platform to cyber bully.”
Finally, using social media has actually become an addiction for some people – making it even harder for them to look up at their phones. Approximately 210 million people are estimated to suffer from internet and social media addictions (MediaKix.com). This just furthers the divide between social media users and human to human interactions. When I told this statistic to senior Eric McCloskey, he was not surprised at the least.
“It doesn’t shock me that so many people suffer from social media addiction. Honestly, there are very few people who I know from school who doesn’t have social media and doesn’t check it daily,” said McCloskey. “Social media addiction is very real.”
Whether it distracts you in public situations, is a forum for cyberbullying, or literally causes addiction – social media platforms are slowly and surely killing real-life human interactions.