26 Aug, 2022 The Dark Side of Social Media and TikTok Culture
An opinion piece
By Alexis Fischer
There’s no escaping the fact that screens are everywhere. We use them to order food, text our friends, and make phone calls. We play games on screens, watch television on screens, and sometimes, we even attend church using a screen. Heck, this blog is read through a screen, and the Counter Culture Mom Show can even be watched on a screen online! Technology is inescapable, and its benefits are many and varied. But what about the dangers and drawbacks? As parents, it’s important to consider the simple reality that screen time is like everything else: moderation is key. Our opinion writer Alexis Fischer shares today her thoughts about the dangers of social media, and why it might be a good idea to take a strong stance on metering your kids’ intake while they’re living under your roof!
Today, social media is used by almost everyone. Although there are some benefits to using it, there are several dangers that should be considered before diving in.
In a world where social media is everywhere, one may wonder if it’s all that it’s cracked up to be. There are many benefits of social media, such as connecting with friends who live far away and being able to see what is happening in the lives of people all around the world. Even though it can be great, there are some major problems with social media.
Too Much Screen Time
The first problem with social media is that it is centered on “screen time.” Social media can be very addictive. Just “five more minutes” can turn into five hours very quickly, as there is a lot to see and do on social media, whether you are watching videos or commenting on someone’s post. On average, teens will spend from five to seven and a half hours a day on social media, which is more than a quarter of their day! Being on a screen for that much time can be dangerous to your health.
Another issue with social media is the constant bandwagon trends. On TikTok especially, there have been some insanely bad and dangerous trends that children are encouraged to try. One challenge, for example, is called a blackout challenge. This challenge emerged on TikTok and requires people to hold their breath until they pass out. This challenge has been around since at least 2008 but became extremely popular on TikTok back in 2021. This challenge has caused at least 80 deaths – including children. When kids see everyone else doing something, it encourages them to try it as well. This has led to disaster and tragically avoidable deaths.
One of the biggest issues with social media is the fact that it is not private. Most social media platforms have an option to make your account private, but if you do not, anyone can see your account. This is an easy way for pedophiles to get ahold of your children. One form of social media that is popular among teens is Snapchat. Snapchat allows you to “add” friends (or complete strangers), which allows you to easily communicate back and forth with whomever is on your friends list. Snapchat uses pictures as messages instead of text, so it is very easy to receive inappropriate snaps from people. In addition, snapchat has a “snap map,” which allows teens’ real time locations to be seen on a map that is viewable to anyone on their friends list. After an abundance of concerns and issues, snapchat has created a safety feature that is a tool for parents to monitor who their children are talking to on snapchat.
Even if your child isn’t communicating with a predator on social media, there are lesser but still dangerous issues such as cyberbullying. These days, if a bully wants to hurt your child, they do not have to get physical. Instead, they can harass them on social media or post something embarrassing relating to your child on social media. Social media and harassment on it have caused many suicides. In fact, there is a name for it- cyberbullicide. Social media is a place where mental harm can take place quietly and in the dark.
One last issue with social media is confidence. This issue occurs mostly in girls, but it can affect everyone. Most girls, especially teen girls, are obsessed with their image. It is important that teen girls feel beautiful and confident, but social media has had a big impact on them. There are lots of filters on social media – especially snapchat and Instagram – that seem to point out girls’ “flaws.” Instead of girls believing that they are beautiful, they are constantly comparing themselves to others, which only breaks them down instead of building them up. It seems as if most girls can’t post a picture without a filter anymore, because social media has made them feel bad about how they look.
Is Social Media Worth it?
Overall, when used properly, social media can be great! Unfortunately, there are so many issues that come with having social media as well. It is important to be smart about what platforms you are using and how often as well as who you are talking to and who can see your account. At the end of the day, is social media worth having? That answer can only be determined by you.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Alexis Fischer is both a part time high school student and part time college student and author of ZAP! She has a passion for writing and speaking the truth through it.
When Alexis isn’t in school or writing, she is often photographing landscapes or traveling. She can be found volunteering at a local zoo and finding new ways to help both people and animals around her. Most importantly, Alexis loves to glorify God in all that she does.
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