By Sheyi

Social media are tools, facilities, websites, and applications that enable users to create, share contents and participate in social networking. It has helped reduce the world to a global village. Some of the most popular social media websites with over 100 million registered users include: Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat, telegram, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest. Indeed, it is difficult to detect the percentage of how our lives have been changed completely by the effects of social media until we take a break and trace back to about two to four years ago, to see how different things were.

Social media also gets so easy to use in-that, you have the liberty to choose your words carefully before giving a reply unlike a one-on-one conversation. This cannot be said to be an authentic reply because the sender has had time to deliberate on the appropriate reply to please the receiver. This has to be the reason why sensitive issues are not discussed on social media platforms.

Bearing in mind that the internet opens up a world of possibilities to youths, the consequences of ignorantly using it should not be overlooked. Some of the positive effects include: making it a global village where you get to communicate with people from different continents, make friends all over the world, one gets to communicate and connect with loved ones, old friends – irrespective of locations. In addition to these positive effects, one gets access to positive and free information being shared on social media and opportunities to launch online businesses together with the promotion to a larger and wider audience, just to mention a few.

 Now that we are aware that social media can have positive effects on the youths, we cannot disapprove the negative effects it has on the youths. First off, social media is time consuming. Students, while searching and studying online, switch on WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram notifications and leave what they were doing initially. While attending to these notifications, they forget the primary reason they intend to use the internet for. This wastes their time so much and sometimes; students are not able to deliver their work within a specified time frame.

Furthermore, studies have shown that self-comparison on social media can have dire effects on physical and mental health because – they give us the ability to seek approval and compare ourselves with others. People tend to compare their life with the lives of their friends through their friends’ posts. What is actually happening here is that they are comparing their real lives with a planned life. Oftentimes, the things posted are the positive aspects of people’s lives, making others question why their own lives are not so exciting or fulfilling. This could lead to depression and other self-esteem issues, and it can also decrease their satisfaction of life as they feelings that their life is not exciting enough to put online, then they cannot be as good as their friends or families. So, you have to be careful to see beyond just the positive things being posted because many times, these positive things are made up.

Another negative effect of social media is that we are so focused on capturing something on video or taking the perfect picture; we lose the focus of living in the moment. This is something that should be highlighted, why should we not just live in the moment?! Why do you not go for family reunions? Since it has been a while since you last saw your lovely cousins and not with the intention of you wanting to take slay pictures to put on your story. How about you spend your afternoon sleeping and relaxing your brain rather that dressing up and making up. Why? That’s because your WhatsApp needs a new display picture.

This has become our life – we care too much what people think and how we will be perceived because of social media. We have been made to believe that the ability to snap a picture or to capture a video and share it can get us tons of attention. Hence, it is all about being linked or noticed or gaining a bit of publicity. The hidden truth here is this – staying behind a computer or phone to talk to strangers, posting what you want or like, or what people have to say is not entirely fulfilling.

 However, the chances of one building a social life through social media are very slim. Do not get me wrong—if your loved ones are not close by, social media is a great way to keep in touch. But if you have allowed it to determine the way of living your real life, you may be heading towards a dangerous end.

 Did you know that J.K Rowling conceived the idea of Harry Potter while waiting for a delayed train for hours? Instead of creating the stony Hogwarts castle or the magical spells that would pave the path of Harry’s adventure, Rowling could have pulled out her iPhone, logged onto Twitter and complained about the unreliability of mass transportation or possibly, update her status on Facebook that she would be arriving late to London. Followed of course by a quick train selfie – with the Mayfair filter – to post on Instagram. The addiction to social media is real and it is prevalent among most young people. So, watch it! Do not allow social media to dictate your life and about all, do not live by it.

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