The Vista Voice

Is Social Media Killing Social Interaction?

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Bryant Grimsman, Staff Writer

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Social media connects the world online in ways we have never seen, but it may be destroying people’s unique social nature as human beings. Social media, although it is a  powerful and useful tool, invites people to create virtual social lives and has lured us away from face-to-face communication.

In the year 2018, it is expected that there will be around 2.55 billion social media users worldwide, according to statista. The social media landscape has influenced almost every demographic in almost every part of the world; however, it seems that the biggest impact is on teenagers. Today’s teens spend more than 7.5 hours a day consuming media,” writes Masuma Ahuja in the Washington Post. Social media is dominating the lives of teens during the years most crucial for learning social skills that will prepare them for the real world. Without the ability to read social que’s or communicate effectively, teens will be crippled as they enter a professional atmosphere.

Looking in from the outside, it seems clear that social media sites are affecting teens, but are they aware of it themselves, and do they believe the effect is positive or negative?

“I think that social media is a good way to stay in touch with people’s lives, but it is definitely overused by some people,” said Jake Kolander, a junior at Vista. Many recognize both the positive and negative consequences of social media, but it comes down to whether one outweighs the other.

“I would say it’s more important to learn how to talk to people in person than to be involved with social media,” said Brian McPeak, a junior at Vista. Much of human communication is done via body language and tone of voice, and these essential forms of nonverbal communication go unused in online socialization. Navigating these signals of communication takes practice, and a weak understanding of them will result in a lack of ability to connect with others.

Despite the inherent dangers of a technology-driven world, there are positive uses for the ever-expanding forms of social media. Online blogs and other mediums of internet communication allow individuals who are not comfortable talking in person to express their opinions, creativity and individuality behind the safety of a screen. Social media has also done well to keep old friends connected and involved with one another’s lives while also presenting opportunities to network and converse with unfamiliar faces.

Social media is now an accepted aspect of 21st-century culture that will likely remain and expand for years to come. Media users must acknowledge the positive uses for this new social realm but also remain wary that we do not let it overcome our ability to connect through human interaction. A future devoid of face-to-face communication will lead to a disconnected community, and this is a future we do not want the coming generations to experience.

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