Dear Editor,

While researching the effects of social media addiction in our population, I came to the realization of the prevalence this epidemic has in our society. A large majority of adolescents are being negatively affected socially and academically, we just choose not to do anything about it because social media is assumed to only be a positive force. Studies have shown that young people are experiencing effects such as internet harassment, privacy exposed, and consuming harmful content such as violence and pornography. Effects away from the computer include negative impacts in academic performance, social lives, family relations and amount of sleep, to name only a few. To begin a push in the other direction, we must first realize what some of the common precursors are and what can be done to stop the problem at its source.

Children and adolescents have been shown to rely on social media to pass the time, impress others, gain status, avoid responsibilities and to forget their problems. This makes it extremely hard for us in today's society to control what is such a powerful force so that it does not become detrimental to our society. The most basic early warning signs are heavy internet/social media use and reliance on these to meet a specific need. It is extremely important to understand that social and psychological motivations may cause people to turn to media for gratifications, which means that the person is most likely attempting to satisfy certain psychological and social needs such as entertainment, information-seeking, or surveillance. Understanding why this is becoming an epidemic and the reasons behind why children and adolescents are relying so heavily on social media is extremely important in trying to control it.

Parents and Educators play an enormous role, as they are the ones who spend the most time with these kids and are most influential in their lives. I believe educating both of these groups of people on the detrimental effects social media on their children can help tremendously in the fight to control it. If it is possible to prevent and even just monitor this problem at an early age, it will be much easier to control and maybe even prevent as children become more and more exposed to our social media filled world. Also, giving teens and adolescents alternate sources of information and different routes to satisfy their social and psychological needs at an early age can allow these kids to not have to rely on these platforms to satisfy these needs. If we all knew the harmful effects that social media and internet addiction pose to our children and our society, maybe we would start to take the necessary steps so greatly needed to counter internet risks so that we can all benefit from the endless opportunities offered by the internet and social media.

Grant Koch


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