Social Media’s Impact On Society

Social Media’s Impact On Society

Stop staring at a screen all day!
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The growing popularity of social media networks and applications has had many positive and negative implications for society.

Social media has revolutionized the way we view ourselves, the way we see others and the way we interact with the world around us. While social media has many positive implications, including promoting awareness of specific causes, advertising businesses and helping foster friendships between individuals who may have never met without social networking, the over-usage of social media networks can also lead to negative implications.

While there are countless exciting improvements in technology and social media have greatly increased communication across cultures and positively brought attention to events around the world, it is imperative that we examine the negative implications that social media usage has had on the human experience.

The overuse of social media is a global problem impacting all generations, and research has shown that substantial internet usage can have a highly negative impact on our mental and emotional health.

As the popularity of social media sites continuously grows, networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram continue to evolve. Three positive implications of social media include advertising, networking, and self-expression.

From an advertising perspective, social media offers a great outlet for charities, businesses, and individuals to promote themselves. Social media can be used as an outlet for global organizations to bring awareness to the causes they support and spread positive news that traditional media often doesn't cover. In addition to making advertisements more accessible through social media, these networks have helped foster relationships and connect people around the world.

Social media also allows for self-expression and can serve as a creative outlet for individuals to express themselves, share their artwork and share their voice on specific topics. Being able to express yourself in a healthy way is a very important part of the human experience, and social media can be a great outlet for young adults.

An additional benefit to social media includes following inspirational social media accounts, such as fitness or health inspired Instagram accounts, which can be motivational to followers.

While social media has greatly benefited society, too much of a good thing can always lead to negative effects.

Heavy technology usage often leads to addiction, especially in teens and young adults. However, this addiction is not limited to the millennial generation, as more and more adults from older generations are starting to utilize social networks to stay connected with their friends and families. Spending countless hours on the social sites can distract the focus and attention from a particular chore or assignment.

Along with the struggle to remain attentive, many people who overuse social media or use social media networks as their main form of communication report feeling anxious and depressed after overuse of social media.

Symptoms of anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be triggered by the overuse of social media, as individuals are constantly concerned about their posts and communicating with others.

Social media also causes many young adults to compare themselves to others and envy a life that may not be attainable since many brands and individuals only share a small percentage of their lives online. It is important to remember that an Instagram or Twitter may just be a reflection of the "best" parts of a person's life and isn't an accurate representation of them as a whole.

It is imperative that teens and young adults remember that social media does not always portray the whole story and that having genuine communication skills is more important than social media.

Allowing social media to prevent you from experiencing genuine human experiences, such as spending time with your family or spending time outdoors, can be very unhealthy.

In an article entitled "Tweets, Texts, Email and Posts," author Tony Dokoupil explores the story regarding a man named Jason Russell. Russell forwarded a link to an internet documentary called “Kony 2012," which shared his deeply personal web experiences regarding African Warlord Joseph Kony. The film received more than 70 million views in less than a week.

While the film brought awareness to the issues facing African children and child soldiers, the sudden fame had a significant impact on Russell. Russell began obsessing over the number of views received and eventually underwent what doctors now call a temporary psychotic break.

After posting a quote by Martin Luther King, "If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward," Russell took off his clothes, went to the corner of a busy intersection and repeatedly slapped the concrete with both palms ranting about the devil.

This is just one example of how social media can have both positive and negative implications on an individual, as the fame has caused severe mental health implications for Russell, but also brought awareness to a growing epidemic of child soldiers.

While I personally have not experienced mental health implications over the number of likes I’ve gotten or have not gotten on a post, I do tend to “obsess” over it. If I don’t receive the desired amount of likes on a picture I have posted on Instagram, I’ll just delete it.

The more likes I get, the better I feel about myself.

This is something I have been trying to work on since the number of likes I get shouldn’t affect how I feel. Many young adults equate a part of their identity or self-worth with the number of likes they receive on a post and forget that a post does not define who you are as a person and should not change the way you view yourself.

My social media usage has decreased significantly, but I still worry about the number of likes I receive because I want to use social media as a way to express myself and share my ideas with others. Remembering the purpose behind what I am posting and trying to identify the purpose of what I share on social networks helps me identify if the number of likes matter.

Since I started college, I have extensively examined the effects that social media has on a person. Specifically, I have explored how social media usage affects my own generation. It may seem obvious, but I’ve noticed that I do best in classes when I am on my phone less.

Even though this may seem obvious to you, sometimes it’s the most simple thing that we overlook when it comes to social media usage. I have strongly considered joining the “unplugging” movement, but I can’t bring myself to do it. If that doesn’t say something about the effects that social networking sites have on a person, I’m not sure what will.

Unplugging is taking yourself off of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Even though my social media usage has become less of a problem, I still struggle with remaining off my phone and being involved in the “real world."

Social media has impacted our society for better and for worse.

It is up to us to decide how we view social media and how we allow social networking to either benefit or harm our lives. It is imperative to remember that the genuine human experience of being able to communicate in person, network in person and form relationships with others outweighs social media. It is also important to remember that the number of likes or shares you receive does not define who you are or your self-worth.

The more educated I become and the less time I spend on social media, the more I realize that there is a lot more to life than sitting behind a screen all day long.

Cover Image Credit: LinkedIn

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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5 Ways To Find Your More Sustainable Self

Plastic is out.

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The year is 2018 and plastic is finally going out of style. Due to media coverage of the horrible effects of plastic such as this video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nostril or this whale with 20 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Businesses and consumers are becoming more aware of the waste they produce through the products they use.

But it is not enough.

Every day in the United States more than 500 million straws are used. Plastic straws are not recyclable and contribute to horrible circumstances such as this large mass of plastic in the Caribbean.

My purpose in this article is not to tell you to buy another Contigo water bottle or carry a bowl with you everytime you go out, but I want you to be more aware of your responsibility as a citizen of this Earth and understand the consequences that your everyday convenient use of plastics have on your home and on future generations.

Here are 5 steps you can take to become more sustainable.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wH878t78bw

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