Social Media Overload

Nevaeh Reasoner, Staff Writer

   There’s about 7.53 billion people in the world and about 3.48 billion of them use social media. In 1997, the first social media website Six Degrees was launched. Created by Andrew Weinreich, the website enabled users to upload pictures and make friends with other users.  

   Nearly 23 years later, most people use social media to share memories and stay in contact with friends and family. Most users know when to get off, but others do not. Experts  call this problematic social media or social media addiction.

   One of the first social networks people used were blogging sites also called livejournals created by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan at Pyra Labs, becoming popular in 1999, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today. Some of the top social media networks used today are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Junior Rylee Elkins would  agree.

   “I use snapchat and instagram the most,” said Elkin.

    Facebook gets about 2 billion monthly active users and over a billion people that log on daily. People post about their thoughts, memories with friends and family, and their personal opinions on different topics. Social media continues to grow, especially with the younger generation. Sophomore Jaeyln Hixon feels the pressure of overuse and social media distraction.

    “Very, you constantly feel like you have to look at your phone throughout the day at school and you are not always on task,” said Hixson.

    Social media can be helpful and fun, but can easily turn into a war zone with bullying, judgment, harassment,  and hateful words towards one another. Excessive social media users sometimes turn into someone else, creating bad attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors affecting their mental health and others. Adult April Reasoner has concerns about social media use by teens.

    “There’s a lot of bullying. Everyone knows everyone’s business and their critical towards one another with instant replies from hundreds of people at a time,” said Reasoner.

     Getting kids or even parents off their phones proves challenging with today’s generation. Before technology infiltrated our culture, getting  all the family together to have a nice conversation about their day seemed normal. Now, however, when people walk into a restaurant, most of the time families will all be on their phones with barely any conversation. Researchers estimate that 20% of people with social media accounts cannot go more than three hours without checking them. Hixson admits it herself.

   “I can go for maybe an hour if I’m distracted, but I’m definitely 100% addicted,” said Hixson.

    Most of the time people can tell when someone has an addiction to something, such as social media. They will see the signs of them isolating themselves from others, losing interest in activities they once enjoyed, along with getting agitated and angry, or anxious when they’re away from their phones for too long. This all falls on their mental health, how social media can take over the actions of people from the things they see or comments that were thrown at them. 


   “In the past social media affected me badly because I used to let people get to me with their hurtful words and actions,” said Hixson.

    As social media begins to take more time out of peoples day, it is also taking up their time to get a good night’s rest. Kids should avoid screens in the hour before bed. Researchers said 13 to 15 year-olds may have problems due to delaying bedtime and  lack of sleep. This can worsen people’s mental health as well. Lack of sleep can affect attitudes and learning at school.

   “Once I’m laying down it’s hard because my phone keeps going off and I wanna look at it,” said Elkins. 

   Kids with social media addiction are not always on track, especially when it comes to homework. Students start to neglect their work assignments because they cannot tear themselves away from social media. Reasoner would agree to that as well.

  “Yes [students neglect homework], because they are distracted by social media, wanting to know what everyone’s doing,” said Reasoner.

    Social media will only get bigger as time goes on, expanding the internet and having new apps to share pictures and communicate with each other. People can learn a lot from social media, the good and the bad. However, posting something or making negative comments  on another’s page cannot be taken back later. Everyone should consider those consequences. Hixson learned that herself.

   “In the past when I was younger I didn’t really use social media properly, posting things I shouldn’t have,” said Hixson.