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Social Media: The good and the bad


Social media has fundamentally altered the way we engage, communicate, and obtain information. It is now an essential part of our day-to-day lives. However, it has also disrupted old norms and systems of human behaviour and interaction in the society. Here is a brief examination of the benefits and detrimental effects of social media.

Negative Effects

Social Bonds and Relationships

Social media is a useful tool for networking and communication in the digital age. It makes it simple to connect with individuals worldwide by overcoming geographic distances. Real social connections whether they are for establishing new friendships or maintaining ties with old ones have become easier with the onset of socialising and dating apps.

Information and Awareness 

Users of social media sites get immediate access to news and current events. Users can easily stay informed about the most recent local and international happenings. People can increase their knowledge by watching tutorials on a range of subjects on websites like YouTube. In terms of raising the pitch of the debate, it is also incredibly powerful as seen in the case of #metoo and #blacklives matter movement.

Self-improvement and artistic expression

The power of social media to promote creativity and personal growth is one of its most notable advantages. With individuals sharing their own ideas, goals, and skills, content creation has never been easier before. It enables people to showcase their ideas and passions and provides a platform for self-expression. For instance, a person starting a daily sketch challenge on instagram to showcase their process with others not only enhances their own abilities but also inspires and connects with other fellow artists.

Social Media Use and Mental Wellness 

Contrary to popular belief, social media can also enhance focus on mental wellness. Platforms usually serve as a source of inspiration, providing users with uplifting thoughts and affirmations to improve their attitude and promote reflection. It might operate as a daily motivator since it provides a platform for people to connect with like-minded people and find inspiration. As seen fitness influencers share their ups and downs promoting self-love and mental wellness alongside fitness. The public will generally feel accepted and inspired to prioritize their well-being.

Positive Effects

Emotional State and Welfare 

Higher degrees of loneliness and sadness have been linked to excessive social media use. Watching highlights of other people’s successful lives, travel, body, relationship and career can create a sense of inadequacy in comparison. Furthermore, people’s perceptions of their bodies and feeling of self-worth may be adversely affected by the focus placed on physical beauty on social media, which may lead to eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Endless scrolling through images of perfectly edited bodies on social media can trigger feelings of inadequacy and unhealthy comparisons.

Risks to Security and Privacy 

The incidences of identity threat and data breaches have increased in the recent years. From global multinational companies like Google and Facebook to local hackers, accessing personal data on networking sites has been a cause of concern world over, creating a sense of mistrust and fear among the users.

Time Consumption and Addiction 

The addictive nature of social media is a growing concern. Overuse can lead to addiction, it has a detrimental effect on people’s general well-being and productivity. Excessive screen time also disrupts sleep patterns, which has an impact on one’s mental and physical health. People lose track of time while endlessly scrolling through social media feeds, craving more likes and comments are addictive and distracting us from real life experiences and connections.

Effects on Communication with Others

In-person communication skills in person have decreased with the increase of virtual communication. Its disruption of social mores and manners may also make the boundaries between public and private life fuzzier.

To sum up, social media has been a game changer for our generation in many ways. It’s numerous positive effects include fostering relationships, raising awareness and disseminating knowledge, enhancing creative expressions and more. However, it’s also important to acknowledge the negative aspects, which include time consumption, addiction, risks to privacy and security, and effects on mental health. The question remains, what would it take us to utilise social media in an ethical and responsible manner.


Suvanjali Lama 

(Suvanjali Lama is a Research Associate, Treta Foundation. She has a masters in clinical psychology from Delhi University, India.)

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