The student news site of Richmond High School

Disconnected: students who don’t use social media

February 26, 2019

ANDREA sits at the dinner table, food untouched, her eyes glued to her phone as she scrolls through Instagram to see what other people are posting. She sees many pictures of her peers or celebrity’s dinner and ignores her own. Her sister, Allie, sits across the table enjoying her meal and looking at Andrea, wondering why she is so addicted to her phone. Allie’s phone sits next to her plate, but she never feels the need to pick it up and check any updates on social media.

Senior Madeline Freeman may not be as attached to her phone as Andrea is, but she uses social media often.

“I use it every day, I try to use it a little less during the weekdays because I have homework and it can get distracting, but I do get on it every single day,” Freeman said. “I think that it’s a good creative outlet that people can put either their art or photography online, it’s a way to express yourself and learn more about your friends.”

Senior Daghen Smith does not use social media often but has found benefits to it.

“One of the benefits is being able to stay in touch with people from a long distance,” Smith said. “I use it to keep touch with my friends back in Utah.”

Some students have found that social media can be harmful.

“Just in normal life it has no downsides to it, but in school, it can distract people from school work,” sophomore Kaleb Pfoutz said. “If something pops up on their phone, they are going to check that notification, which can distract them from class.”

Others have found that social media can do more serious damage.

“I looked at studies online about it causing depression because they are always seeing people so happy online because that is what we put out as our image and then some people feel sad that they don’t get to feel that happiness,” Smith said.

Some students have even had such negative experiences on social media that they have quit using it completely.

“There is too much drama,” junior Karisa Marshall said. “I mean, it can be interesting sometimes if it’s funny, but if it’s just dumb drama don’t put it on Facebook.”

Many students have reasons that they choose not to use social media while some students feel like they have to use it.

“[I use it] to stay connected, almost because it feels like I have to in order to be included,” senior Megan Quinn said. “It feels like making an Instagram or making a Twitter is like a rite of passage almost.”

Freeman agrees that it can be harmful to your mental health, and has a plan to help people who have been negatively affected by social media or other influences. She wants to work for a magazine company in New York where she can have a positive impact on others.

“I want to make videos and write stories to connect people and potentially help them if they have anxiety or depression or something like that,” Freeman said. “I want to use social media to help people because I do know how harming it can be to someone’s mental health. I want to use it so that people know they are not alone because I feel like that is a big part of mental health, people believe that no one understands them. I want to help people understand that they are not alone and that it is okay to reach for help.”

Other students agree that social media can be used in a positive way.

Social media should be used for bringing people up and not pushing people down, everyone has feelings and it’s important to be respectful of those. It’s just stupid to try to put somebody down for being themselves.”

— senior Meagan Quinn

Marshall thinks that people should focus on real-life interactions instead of interacting online.

“Invite them to lunch and just hang out face-to-face because you have video chat which is kind of the same, but you should just go drive and see them,” she said.

Other students think that there should be a better balance between their “internet world” and their face-to-face interactions.

“I think it’s a good idea to try to make two different worlds for yourself like a face-to-face world and then an internet world,” Quinn said. “It’s good to be able to talk to people and understand the way that people are talking because you never know how someone truly feels when your reading words.”

Some students think that reducing social media use would also be beneficial.

“I think lessening would be a good way of putting it, but I guess just being able to put yourself out into the world and not of the world, you don’t always have to be in somebody’s public image just to be a good person, just be yourself,” Smith said. “[People should] find their passion if they don’t have one already, just do what makes them feel happy, if that involves playing video games or talking to friends offline. You may need your phone for emergency purposes, but you don’t need your phone 24/7.”

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