Has Social Media Really Been Our Worst Enemy?

What are the three things that you possibly can’t live without? The normal answer would be oxygen, water, and food right? However, this was only true before social media came into this world, as today the list also includes Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram for majority of the population.

However, the inclusion wasn’t always received well. It raised the debate of whether social media has a more positive impact on our lives or is it only becoming a reason of depression in our lives. And hence, as a result there have been more articles about how social media causes addiction, mental health issues, jealousy or insecurity than any of the positives to come out from it. But the point to ponder is, are the claims really true?

To get to know the answers in detail, Security.Org conducted a survey with 2,700+ Americans that was based on knowing the digital habits of the participants and how satisfied these people are with their lives.

Life Satisfaction

As per what respondents reported in the study, all top five social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter) turned out to be a part of bullying, body image and the fear of missing out cases. But surprisingly on the other hand when it came to general effect that social media has had on the lives of similar people, 70.4% of the population said their life improved with it as well.

Everybody and their grandparents are on social media these days - for better or worse. A common complaint is that too much time on social media leads to addiction, alienation, and the fear of missing out.  A team of researchers conducted a study to find out if there's truth to the narrative, or if it's possible that various demographics experience different levels of satisfaction with social media in their lives. They surveyed over 2,700 people to learn more.  Some of their findings include: 84% of baby boomers report that social media improves their lives - more than younger generations. 1 in 3 millennials feel that social media worsens their lives (more than any generation). 44% of millennials would prefer a society in which social media didn't exist, compared to just 26.5% of boomers. Nearly 3 in 4 married couples reported greater life satisfaction because of social media, more than singles (69%) or unmarried couples (65%).
Study: 84% of baby boomers say social media improves their lives

Breaking down the research into the background of people, gender and political affiliations had very little impact in terms of differences. In fact, the only populations who thought that social media has made them more unsatisfied with life were millennials and the ones who were in a relationship, which also goes well in accordance with how young people have always struggled to deal with mental health issues arising because of social media and the need for social acceptance.

In the comparison above, you will also see that men, married, baby boomers, Republicans, people with associate degrees and the ones from the South were more inclined towards siding with social media improving their lives. Whereas women, millennials, Democrats, college dropouts and people from the Midwest were blunt about how social media gives them a tough time.

Another report by Pew Research Center shows that there are more women who use Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as compared to men. The only exception where men won was when young adults were compared to those of 50 years for using similar apps.

Living Without Social Media

Despite all the statistics and criticism, the respondents weren’t also very much keen on the idea of a world without social media. 60% of them said no to eliminating social media from their lives. However, 43.9% millennials and 45% Republicans were the only ones who agreed that the world would be better without social media. Moreover, married people were more in the favor of removing social media completely than the ones who are not in a relationship.

As you might think that people who claimed that social media worsened their life satisfaction would vote for getting rid of social media once and for all, 36.6% of the similar group was against the idea of creating a void that social media has successfully filled. On the contrary, one-third of people who said social media improved their lives chose for a world without it as well - mostly because of the negative impacts it is having on the society.

The Level of Satisfaction In The South & Midwest

Be it negativity or societal pressure, when they arise, either of them usually affects the entire population. This is mostly because in the end we are humans and subject to the same trends. But where culture differs, the opinion differs as well. Such a scenario has been observed among people living in the South - who were more likely to believe that social media has made lives better and how in the Midwest women were the only ones to vote for the positives of social media (70.4% of women to 62.4% of Midwest men).

There hasn’t been any obvious reason of why people in the Midwest possess a more negative opinion of social media (especially men) and one can’t make a conclusion of associating the fact with worse quality of life as compared to other regions.

According to them, people from these areas have used social media to escape from reality only whenever they wanted to but some got indulged into it so much that they now want to escape from the world of social media. So, one can assume it’s subjective.

Yes, It Has Pros & Cons

Just like anything else social media has it’s pros and cons. However, we think cons only come when there is excessive usage or if the person gets more attached to the virtual world than the real one.

As a consequence, while these digital platforms were primarily invented to bring friends and family together, such people find societal pressure through the posts they see - yes, the unrealistic portrayal of personalities or lives on Instagram and Snapchat stories based on filters or special moments.

The highlight of course in all this situation is that with all the negatives being widespread, the same people are not willing to imagine a world without social media either as well.

P.S Will the inclusion of more privacy and support from the platforms help in improving the current situation for people who are finding social media to be the biggest negative in their lives? Only time will tell that.

Read next: Despite The Criticism and Competition, Americans Love Using YouTube & Facebook The Most - Stats Reveal!
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