Sample English Essays on Social Media Addiction

Social Media Addiction

Since coming to the fore a few years ago as a communication platform, social media has radically transformed how humans communicate and conduct key spheres of their daily lives. It has become an important communication tool for individuals and organizations alike with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram taking center as contemporary communication alternatives to traditional channels of communication. For businesses, social media offers a platform for networking, marketing and day-to-day communication with clients and partners. Individuals find it easier to socialize, network and communicate with friends, loved ones and colleagues without the inconvenience of geographical disparities. In most cases, communication is carried out in real time. Despite its rapid uptake and evidently numerous advantages, social media use is steeped in a myriad of negative side effects that threaten mental and physical health, and social and education life of users. Consequently, these side effects call for development of social media addiction awareness programs to educate the masses on these negative side effects. This paper will discuss how social media use and subsequent addiction leads to stress, mental illness, poor academic performance, academic dishonesty, cyberbullying, physical and mental harm, loneliness and poor communication between family members.

Effects of Social Media Addiction

  1. Health

Availability and affordability of mobile phones and rapid development of mobile telephony technology has significantly led to the exponential growth of the number of social media users. Today, social media consumption has become a global and ubiquitous phenomenon that cuts across social, religious, political, geographical and cultural divides. However, it ubiquitous nature and ease of access has led to addiction with virtual communities rapidly replacing traditional real-life ones. Social media addiction is marked by individuals turning the platform and the associated elements into their new reality and social realm.

  1. Psychological Health        

Societies are increasingly battling the problem of social addiction, with many victims suffering from significant psychological complications including stress. A study conducted in Thailand in 2016 revealed social media addicts not only suffered stress; they also showed significant levels of poor stress-coping strategies. Such individuals showed significantly inclination towards using emotion as a stress coping strategy while showing low levels of mindfulness. As a result, these individuals who were highly addicted to social media were more likely to suffer from high levels of emotional exhaustion which can act as a precursor to stress (Sriwilai & Charoensukmongkol, 2016). Therefore, social media addicts are more likely to suffer from heightened stress levels than their non-addict counterparts and at the same time, they are more likely to experience challenges in dealing with stress.

This lack of mindfulness and emotion-focused stress copying strategy also hamper their ability to help others who are suffering stress or other mental issues. A study by Livingston et al published in 2014 showed a sample of youthful social media users showed reduced levels of self stigmatization, social distance and mental health issues attitude. However, the respondents did not show any statistically significant improvement on their willingness to engage in positive behaviors when it comes to mental health. This included helping others with mental health condition. They were also reluctant when it comes to seeking relevant information pertaining to mental health issues. While these were not explicitly social media addicts, the study showed a trend from the Thailand study; a trend of social and emotional detachment and passivity. These are some of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, which has been connected with addiction to social media (Marche, 2012).

More alarming to this trend is the pool of personality traits that are more likely to use and get addicted to social media. Conscientious individuals and those more inclined to the openness that comes with their extraversion trait are more likely to share in their successes on social media (Özgüven & Mucan, 2013). These individuals general live a life full of satisfaction as a result of education, income levels and social successes. As such they are more likely to actively share their life’s successes on social media and can easily become addicts. Additionally, their continued sharing of these successes creates a virtual social realism that is attractive yet far-fetched for many of social media users. When sustained, it creates a false reality for others as it creates a sense of ever-presence happy life. While it may mislead their social media friends, it may also force them to keep up misleading appearances. The resulting pressure to keep up appearances may lead to stress and depression (Marche, 2012).

  1. Physical Health      

Studies have established the direct correlation between “[improved] quality of and access to healthcare” including healthcare resources, and social networks. Such arguments can be ideally transferred to include individuals suffering from serious mental illnesses when it comes to assessing their physical health. Similarly, transferability of such research can also be appropriated for the case of social media networks as they also come with significant levels of social transactions. However, a study conducted by Lee, Wong and Rothbard in 2014, which examined the transferability of such research findings to a population of individuals suffering from serious mental illnesses, found no correlation between social networks and physical health. Similar to social media, these social networks improved contact between these individuals and support from healthcare providers but did little in improving their physical health (Lee, Wong & Rothbard, 2014).

One of the dangers associated with social media is lack of effective monitoring and privacy policies that can bar minors from using them. As a result, minors can pose as adults and purchase dangerous substances such as tobacco from unsuspecting. One study published in 2004 found that minors can easily purchase tobacco from unsuspecting online stores by falsifying their age. The minors successfully used the credit information of their parents to purchase cartons of cigarettes and had them delivered to their parent’s address (Internet gives teenagers easy.., 2004). In uncontrolled settings, which is common due to the pervasive nature of mobile telephony technology, minors can purchase and consume such substances and goods including weapons which may pose serious physical health to them and others around them.

  1. Education
  2. Grades

For teachers, social media use has the potential of improving workplace performance. This is because it facilitates a teacher’s information research efforts. It also enables the teacher to social better especially with colleagues and students, which is critical in networking and forming effective working relationships (Khattak, Batool, Saleem &Takreem, 2016). However, for students social media can lead to poor grades when addiction sets in. This is because such students spend most of the study time chatting with friends online. In some schools where mobile phones are banned, student performance has improved exponentially (Anam, 2016).

The low grades also results from lack of attention associated with social media. Children are increasingly being distracted by social media because of the readily available and accessible mobile phones. In addition to being distracted, children especially those bellow 12 years are hyperactive. The resulting lack of attention leads to poor performance in class work. It also exacerbates the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and makes learning and academic performance especially difficult for children suffering from the disorder (Kushlev, 2016).

  1. Cheating

Students can use social media to illegally exchange academic information including test answers or during class and group discussions. In extreme cases, social media can be used as a platform for perpetuating academic dishonesty by teachers. However, such are rare cases since studies have shown that social media can improve teacher’s performance when used positively as research and social tool (Khattak, Batool, Saleem &Takreem, 2016). Additionally, students may engage in other academic cheating through plagiarism using social media (Thomas, Cockburn & Yule, 2017)

  1. Society

Social media provides a platform where malicious and nefarious users can engage in social strife including cyberbullying. Cyberbulying is a widespread vice due to the ubiquitous nature of social media. A study also showed such malicious users may be friends of the victims who take advantage of password sharing among young users (Meter & Bauman, 2015). In addition, O’Keeffe et al (2011) point to the growing trend where children are sexually harassed on social media platforms in variety of ways other than cyberbullying. This includes sexting and exposure to indecent content.

In a study conducted by Norouzi, Arbabi and Jamali in Tehran, it was established that social media significantly affected husband-wife and siblings relationships. The study also found that social media also challenged the traditional norms in the society. Separately, Günay (2012) established that social media addiction leads to significant levels of loneliness as individuals find it difficult to socialize in real world. Such findings were corroborated by Stephen Marche (2012) who also noted that the number of psychological and psychiatric specialist have increased manifold since the inception of social media.

In conclusion, there are numerous benefits associated with social media use including ease of communication. However, its ease of access and ubiquitous nature has led to addiction. Consequently, it has promoted several education and social vices and problems including cheating, plagiarism and loneliness. It also poses significant mental health challenges.

 

References

Anam, A. (2016, December 2). 5 reasons why students should control their cell phone usage. Retrieved from http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/mobile-phone-students/1/825133.html

Günay, E. (2012). The Effects of Internet Use on Individual’s Socialization Based on Personality Traits. Yeni Symposium, 50(3), 123-133.

Internet gives teenagers easy access to cigarette purchase. (2004). Nursing Standard, 18(39), 10.

Khattak, S. R., Batool, S., Saleem, Z., & Takreem, K. (2016). Effects of Social Media on Teachers’ Performance: Evidence from Pakistan. Dialogue (1819-6462), 11(1), 127-135.

Kushlev, K. (2016). “Are Our Smartphones Afflicting Us All with Symptoms of ADHD?” The Conversation. Retrieved from: http://theconversation.com/are-our-smartphones-afflicting-us-all-with-symptoms-of-adhd-58330

Lee, S., Wong, Y., &Rothbard, A. (2014). Effects of social networks on physical health among people with serious mental illness. Psychiatric Quarterly, 85(4), 453-465. doi:10.1007/s11126-014-9306-6

Livingston, J., Cianfrone, M., Korf-Uzan, K., &Coniglio, C. (2014). Another time point, a different story: one year effects of a social media intervention on the attitudes of young people towards mental health issues. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(6), 985-990. doi:10.1007/s00127-013-0815-7

Marche, S. (2012). “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” The Atlantic Monthly. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

Thomas, M., Cockburn, T. & Yule, J. (2017). Permissible plagiarism? Navigating normative expectations in the pre- and post-admission landscape. International Journal of the Legal Profession, 24(3), pp 295-317.

Meter, D. J., & Bauman, S. (2015). When sharing is a bad idea: The effects of online social network engagement and sharing passwords with friends on cyberbullying involvement. Cyberpsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 18(8), 437-442. doi:10.1089/cyber.2015.0081

Norouzi, L., Arbabi, A., & Jamali, M. (2017). The effect of internet usage on relations between members of the iranian family in tehran city. Middle East Journal of Family Medicine, 15(6), 50-54.

 

 

 

O’Keeffe, Gwenn Schurgin, et al. “The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and

Families.” Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Apr. 2011, pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/4/800.full.

 

Özgüven, N., & Mucan, B. (2013). The relationship between personality traits and social media use. Social Behavior & Personality: An International Journal, 41(3), 517-528. doi:10.2224/sbp.2013.41.3.517

Sriwilai, K., &Charoensukmongkol, P. (2016). Face it, don’t Facebook it: Impacts of social media addiction on mindfulness, coping strategies and the consequence on emotional exhaustion. Stress & Health: Journal of the International Society for the Investigation of Stress, 32(4), 427-434. doi:10.1002/smi.2637