BY ARIELLE KRAUS
In an ever-changing society, social media has taken the world by storm. Over two billion individuals use platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter worldwide. However, social media can be a very dangerous place, and how open one chooses to be online can heavily affect their mental health.
Putting personal information on social media for the world to see can be intimidating. Many individuals are not sure of how much they should share with the public. It is important to be one’s true self online, however, it is not necessary to share absolutely everything with the world.
Being open is often associated with vulnerability. Although this may be true, if self-control is utilized, individuals will not place themselves in situations that have them feeling this way.
The more users share, the more open they are to judgment from others. In fact, sharing personal information often attracts negativity. This feedback causes people who post to reflect on who they are, often leading to negative personal thoughts. Comparing oneself to others can lead to depression, anxiety and possibly suicidal thoughts.
The more users share, the more open they are to judgment from others.
Additionally, social media often creates a false sense of reality. Many teenagers choose to only share the positive things in their life, ignoring anything negative. The desire to be genuine on social media poses a dilemma, leaving users faced with the gray area between how much should be shared versus how much should remain private.
Users should not create a social media environment that is inaccurate. People should find a balance between remaining true to themselves and maintaining privacy. This can be achieved by avoiding posts of personal opinions on other individuals, sensitive information like home addresses and inappropriate images.
Social media is not a terrible platform, if used properly. Sharing personal stories with the world can be highly rewarding, as it can result in finding others who have similar personalities, opinions, feelings and outlooks on life.
On the other hand, posting locations using check-ins or geolocation can place users in risky situations. It is important for one to consider their personal followers. If unwanted followers are aware of a user’s specific location, they can use that information to harass or even harm a user.
As teenagers, everything posted can be seen by universities or future employers. This is critical for teens to remember each time they tweet, send snaps or post on Instagram. Although there is always a delete button, even deleted posts can sometimes be found and may be used in making important decisions about the potential student or employee.
Maintaining a private life while continuing to remain authentic on social media is a challenging balance.
With this being said, teenagers must think before posting. Sharing opinions is a risk users choose to take that could make or break their future. Posting inappropriate or offensive content can and most likely will be found by a prospective employer, leading to rejection from that job.
Many social media users now have two accounts: a “rinsta” (real Instagram) and a “finsta” (fake Instagram). “Finstas” typically include personal thoughts, feelings and opinions. Many users believe they can share anything on their “finsta,” as it is often a private account with select followers.
However, one should always keep in mind that the information they think is private could become public. Their followers could potentially share this personal information with others through screenshots. Maintaining an appropriate “finsta” that avoids posts of potentially harmful information is key when deciding what to share on the internet.
Studies show that there is a correlation between social media use and depression. Making constant comparisons to others on social media often leads to low self-esteem. In some cases, this leads to self-harm. Users need to realize that the picture-perfect lives that people are posting are not always reflective of reality.
Society has encouraged the use of social media, making it both a rewarding and intimidating platform. Maintaining a private life while continuing to remain authentic on social media is a challenging balance. But if such a balance is achieved, it will help users have a more positive outlook both on social media platforms and as individuals.
Photo by The Lariat Photography