Sifting through social media


Seemani Dash, Staff Reporter

In this day and age, nearly every high school student experiences an influx of posts on some form of social media platform. Social media is an amazing tool that connects the world. We can keep in touch with old friends, see what our loved ones are doing and be influenced by online positivity. In high school, it’s a great way to learn about school events and send information. However, the darker and more dangerous side of social media often presents itself whether you use Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Myspace or anything else to check the events of the world. Negative posts and responses are always existent, but we do not always see the signs of harmful aspects of social media.

There are multiple downsides to social media when students start using it negatively. Jenni, a West High security guard, believes the main source of the problem is that “You can’t read an expression the way you can hear it face to face.” A conversation over Instagram comments can be viewed twenty different ways by twenty different individuals since typed-up words lack a tone of voice. This makes it easier to begin online feuds over major topics. For example, President Donald Trump’s tweets have impacted social media in ways unlike any other political figure. With every single tweet fueling controversial discussions, he has changed the way political figures use social media. Leadership Advisor Mr. Scott Behnam sees the way Trump uses his Twitter account to boost success: “Everyone talks about Donald Trump’s Twitter; it’s almost like a great way of marketing.”

Another detrimental aspect to social media is the ability to cyberbully virtually anyone. It becomes easy to make anonymous rude comments online. When asked about how social media becomes harmful to high school students, West High freshman Juan Diaz said, “It starts to hurt us when people start using it inappropriately, and start trying to hurt people.” Each person has their own reasons behind what they say, but those thoughts become unclear through social media.

One other problem within social media usage is that students can create a sort of alter ego with an account and transform into another person. Behnam perceives that some students can struggle with staying true to themselves: “When you become so engulfed with social media that it becomes your identity, you forget who you are.” As high school students who are trying to figure our futures out, this poses a lot of trouble for us. So how do we use social media without encountering false or rude statements, and stay ourselves? The truth is that we really can’t. However, we can use social media to spread positivity. Using your Snapchat to show your school spirit, sharing West High events on Instagram and tweeting constructive comments about places and people are all ways we can make social media platforms slightly less negative.