The Pros and Cons of Social Media


Kevin Han

Everyone knows what social media is; it consists of many apps, ranging from chatting apps such as Discord to apps made to share videos, like YouTube. Many people of all ages use social media for various purposes. According to a survey, around 7 out of 10 Americans (72%) use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which is an increase from the 26% in 2008.

Social media is the fastest way to spread information, as it can reach many people of diverse backgrounds easier and quicker than by newspaper or by word. Social media can help connect people from all around the world; apps such as Discord can allow people from one side of the world to talk to friends on the other, while Snapchat and Facebook can help others check their friends and family. 

The spread of information helps let people know about what is happening in other parts of the world. Social media users have been responsible for reporting events before traditional media outlets, including the Paris attacks in France on Nov. 13, 2015 (Twitter, Facebook, and Vine), the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria and Sierra Leone in July 2014 (Twitter), the Boston marathon bombing on Apr. 15, 2013 (Twitter), and the Aurora, CO, theater shooting on July 20, 2012 (Twitter and YouTube).  

Although these events were reported and spread around the world, that does not mean there is false information hidden beneath them, called “fake news”. This is possible because of the large influence social media has all over the world. Around 64% of Twitter users reported that they encountered something that they later discovered wasn’t true. According to “a study published in the journal Science found that lies spread six times faster than the truth on Twitter, and “fake news” is retweeted more often than true news,”.

Social media helps people connect with others easily. Around 93% of adults use Facebook to connect with family members; “81% of teens ages 13 to 17 reported that social media makes them feel more connected to the people in their lives and 68% said using it makes them feel supported in tough times. 57% of teens made new friends online”, according to Britannica.

However, 31% of teenagers that use social media said that they have fought with a friend over something that happened online. A study in 2016 found that an overuse of social media during adolescence may decrease success in relationships later in life as online communication hinders the development of conflict management skills and awareness of interpersonal cues. 

Social media can also be a very addicting form of entertainment. Teenagers reported that around 6 hours and 40 minutes go into using their phones each day, which impacts sleep, grades, and relationships in real life. Although, social media can benefit online relationships, it can negatively affect how people interact with others face to face. Using social media while studying can lead to easily being unfocused on the task at hand. 

There are many pros and cons of social media; some cons are disastrous and can impact someone’s life negatively, while some pros can save thousands of lives. Social media is a large and vast subject that needs to be carefully observed due to the many pros and cons it consists of.