Over the past decade, social media sites like Instagram have erupted in popularity, with 44 million people in the UK using some form of it. For many of the older generations in particular, social media can seem alien and daunting. However, is social media really as bad as it is made out to be?

Social media does have its benefits. For example, it allows people to keep in touch with friends over text, and perhaps even make new friends in the process, provided you are careful. Apps like TikTok and Youtube give users the opportunity to be creative and showcase talent in videos. This can bring an audience and revenue to people who may not have had the opportunity offline. Social media has also been shown to help reduce loneliness for senior citizens, by allowing them to keep in touch with relative and friends. Lastly, professional sites such as LinkedIn assist companies in finding the right employees for the job.

On the other hand, social media can have a detrimental effect on some users. Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can easily arise as a result of frequent social media usage. Young people can often find themselves looking up to an unrealistic, photo shopped version of beauty that can be seen in Instagram posts. This can leads to people putting extreme pressure on themselves to achieve the ‘ideal’ life they are surrounded by.

Similarly, social media can put children at risk of cyberbullying. The internet allows bullies to hide behind a screen and make malicious comments about people. Social media can be dangerous if the correct privacy settings are not applied. Lastly, social media has been proven to damage your sleep schedule as many are tempted to check social media before sleeping and the blue light from your phone can make you feel more awake.

Overall, although social media has a negative reputation, and can potentially have a detrimental effect on you, when used safely and in moderation it can prove very helpful and enjoyable.