Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp shut down for over six hours on Monday, Oct. 4. The shutdown occurred a day after private documents leaked to the public revealed the company’s awareness of the negative impacts their platforms have on the younger generation. In light of these occurrences, Point Loma Nazarene University students reflected on the role social media plays in their own lives.
Social media was intended as a way to stay connected with others and stay updated on their lives. However, this aspect of social media can easily be translated to a feeling of missing out, especially amongst the younger generation, when scrolling through one’s feed.
“Social media definitely gives me FOMO [fear of missing out] sometimes, seeing what other people are doing. Especially being here, when I see other people going out it makes me be like ‘ah, that’s where I should be right now,’” said second year student Audrey Murray.
While “FOMO” is a frequently reported feeling caused by social media, other students see it as a way of connecting with those they don’t see on a regular basis.
“When you’re at college it’s nice to be able to see what your hometown friends are doing and keep in better contact with them. I would say that’s a positive thing I’ve noticed from social media,” said second year student Jackie Bain.
However, social media’s impact ventures outside of social influence. Students have noticed a sense of comparison amongst these platforms, especially in regard to Instagram.
“Instagram seems to be the most negative of the platforms because you are always comparing yourself to people you see on there. It just creates false standards, there’s editing, there’s photoshop, it’s just not always real,” said third year student Haley Martinez.
In fact, numerous studies have shown that the majority of social media users feel they must edit their pictures before uploading. A study conducted by Case24 showed that only 29% of the people surveyed would feel comfortable posting a picture without editing it first. This false perception of reality is what leads much of the younger generation to feel hesitant about their posts.
“I’m too stressed to post on Instagram. I see other people’s posts and I’m like ‘I wish I looked like that,’” said Bain.
While these students recognize the negative impacts social media can have, they also pointed out the other aspects in which it benefits the community.
“Businesses, schools, and advertisers are now benefiting from it and using it for advertising, so I think that’s a cool side of social media,” said Murray.
Bain has even seen this aspect of social media at use in the PLNU community.
“Point Loma communicates a lot through social media to reach out about events that are going on and there’s a lot of fun Instagram accounts that keep you updated,” said Bain.
Whether or not social media is beneficial or harmful will remain up for debate, however with Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp back up, these platforms will continue to play their role within society as they continue to serve their millions of users.
“Social media just depends on how you use it. I think we could all do away with everything except for texting and calling, and be just fine. I think if social media never happened, that would have been great. But the reality is that it’s a world where we use these platforms a lot,” said Murray.
By: Kylie Capuano