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Oftentimes, our culture is quick to criticize the seeming social media addiction that has swept the nation. Apps such as Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook, are living on the smartphones of millions of people all over the world. In America's society today, teens are often scrutinized for their hours spent each day scrolling through memes and retweets. But one must play devil’s advocate for the positive impacts of social media; and how for some, clinging to their account is all they have left.

    Mental health is an important topic with widely spread information, as the topic has grown in social conversations over the years. In the midst of a long pandemic with teens having nowhere to run to, social media has kept people in touch with their peers. For me, I have spent my first year of college online. I haven’t met anyone new in almost two years; leaving me socially isolated, glued to my desk for most of my days, and falling deeper into my depression. I sometimes feel guilty when having gloomy days where I spend hours scrolling through TikTok. But from an outsider’s positive perspective: imagine watching this young woman, who has been dealing with a lot mentally and emotionally, finally find a couple laughs and a couple new facts, in the midst of what feels like an extremely dark age. I am able to hear opinions or mindless jokes from peers my own age, that aren’t forced to be written on a University's discussion board. I feel like I’m making friends when I see others living their lives, and who sometimes document their own downfalls into the pits of isolation. Social media feels like the connector between jail mates; almost as if we are all living in long distance relationships form each other all at once. [bf_image id="gzjhkp8jmsqzpg8pt7m458ps"]

    Another aspect of social media is the importance of how it is handled. Your relationship with social media only depends on how you choose to treat it. I like to treat my Instagram account as a creative tool in which I express my love of flowers, and get to share my poems and blog posts with the world. If Instagram is hurting your self confidence, making you compare your life to others’ photos which seem flawless from the outside, then you may need a shift from the accounts you follow, the time you spend on it, and where you get your own personal inspiration form. Social media can be a powerful platform used to stand up for equal rights, spread the word about breaking news, and keep in touch with like-minded thinkers, friends, and workers.

    It is also believed that saving photos to a space of one’s own can create a time capsule for treasured memories and a mechanism of remembrance. A lot of people end up digitizing photos in order to save waste and use less paper and ink, so saving cherished family photos on Facebook. It is great to receive a reminder of those yearly memories. It’s an amazing way to duplicate memories and hold the images somewhere physically forever. From Facebook memories, to Snapchat’s “Memories” camera roll, people often look back on the “One Year Ago Today,” notifications for an exciting and appreciative moment in a fast-tracking busy world. Aunts and Uncles can share heart-melting moments with their family members who live far away. Cousins can keep in contact when they have alternative schedules.

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    Overall, social media gets a bad reputation way too often. It is time to stop giving teens consumer’s guilt and start practicing healthy mindsets with our phones and profiles. We don’t need to be totally dependent on them, but it is okay to take our time and rely on the more beneficial online services when faced with difficult situations.

 
 

 

 
 
Kristine Kearns is a second-year student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. She is working towards her Bachelor of English degree, focusing on writing, creative writing, and sustainability. Kristine is a nature-loving poet who loves to develop her creative passions. She plans to write books as well as work in writing, publishing, and editing.
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