'Is Social Media Making Us Antisocial?' by Maria - Heath Town, Park Village, Eastfield, Springfield and Old Heath Newshounds

The views expressed by our Newshounds are their own, and reflect their feelings and thoughts

What is social media? Quite a simple question, but not so much with the answer, what really is social media? Social media has now become the world, social media is celebrities. Trends, fashion, news, education. Social media doesn’t evolve around us anymore, it has now become as if we are evolving around it, as if we depend on media to satisfy our mental wellbeing just as much as we depend on food and water for our physical wellbeing.

In my opinion, there is no social in social media, while you are staring at a screen texting, typing or FaceTiming. The meaning of ‘social’ has changed a lot throughout the years; before it meant going outside, meeting new friends, interacting with people but now it’s how many ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ you have, how many people have liked, commented or retweeted your post.

But are you really helping yourself or are you putting yourself into greater depression? Does your self esteem and happiness in life depend on comments and likes, until your mood depends on every time the little blue bird on Twitter flies or every time someone on Instagram tags you in a popular post. If so, who knew that a little blue bird could drag you down so low until you had no self esteem? Who knew that Instagram could make you feel so insecure. Who knew? But that is the case in some people’s lives, not only teenagers but adults too.

Now don’t get me wrong, social media is amazing. It connects the world and empowers us all to make better decisions about our lives. At the same time it can be very addictive and make us very antisocial. Nowadays teenagers spend most of their time online. A recent study shows that an average teenager is on social media for about 35 hours per week, that’s 5 hours per day spent on social media.

Teenagers are now spending so much valuable time, interacting with each other on social networks and phones that they are growing less comfortable with face to face interactions and not developing their basic social and communication skills. From personal experience, I have witnessed teenagers who have a huge follow base on social media and are very active online yet they’re too anxious to even approach someone.

Teenagers need to be told the consequences of spending too much time online and schools and community centres should start teaching communication skills to those who are antisocial. Community centres are helping by offering more youth groups only for teenagers where they can meet new people and learn or participate in fun activities instead of staying at home scrolling through their phones. This will mean that not only will teenagers spend less time on their devices but also spend more time meeting other teenagers and being active for a change.

By Maria