Social Media Impact Depends On User

Allysa Marie Ferandez Totanes, Reporter

Illustrated by Allysa Marie Totanes

Spending hours on social media is not as negatively impactful as some think it might be; the way an individual uses social media can still be considered proper even if they´re constantly on their respective platforms.


A report by Life Span found that the average teen—from 13 to 18—spends around nine hours a day on social media. When determining whether the use of social media is “good” or “bad”, one must not simply focus on the total or average amount of time a user spends, but also consider how they are using the platform(s). 


Even if a teen is glued to their phone, they might be gaining useful knowledge from the media that they are consuming.


Dr. Peggy Kern from the University of Melbourne, Dr. Nikki Rickard from the Monash University, and Ph.D. student Elizabeth Seabrook reviewed recently conducted studies regarding the effects of social media on individuals. The results that they discovered varied; some social media users showed positive signs from their experiences while others connected their depression and anxiety with their social media consumption. “Across the studies, it appears that it’s not so much that social media causes anxiety and depression, but that people have different ways of using social media, which may be more or less helpful,” said Kern in her article ‘Is Social Media Good For You?’  


People who already have disorders such as anxiety should be more careful and aware of their vulnerable state when it comes to using social media to avoid exposure to triggers that might put their mindset in a worse condition.


The positives and negatives that individuals absorb from platforms depend on how they are using social media, rather than the hours that pass by. “By understanding them [behavioral patterns concerning social media usage] better, we potentially can make better choices about how to best use social media…” said Kern.