The Social Media Trap & Academic Abyss among Students.

Arshid Bhat, Mehraj Bhat ✉



Nowadays, the influence of social media has expanded beyond mere enjoyment to affect every aspect of our lives. While the benefits of social media are widely recognized, it is crucial to address the detrimental effects of excessive use, particularly among young people and students. This article highlights the negative impacts of unrestricted social media use on academic and professional paths, supported by strong evidence from statistics and facts.

The emergence of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat has revolutionized communication. It has enabled instantaneous connectivity and global information exchange. According to Statista, more than 4.48 billion people regularly use social media, spending an average of 2.5 hours per day. While these platforms offer opportunities for self-expression, networking, and innovation, there are significant concerns associated with unregulated use, especially among young individuals.



The representative picture generated using DALLE-3

The influence of social media addiction on academic achievement is among the most obvious side effects. According to studies like those done by the Pew Research Centre, students who use social media more frequently tend to do less academically and have lower grade points. Distractions from studying, such as incessant notifications, compulsive scrolling, and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) cause people to put off important chores, which makes learning results inadequate.

A culture of comparison and self-doubt has emerged among young people because of their unrelenting quest for likes, shares, and social media recognition. According to research from the American Psychological Association, Overuse of social media is associated with higher levels of anxiety, despair, and problems with body image, especially among teenagers. Mental health issues are often made worse by the need to maintain a flawless online presence, which frequently results in feelings of inadequacy and distrust.

Excessive usage of social media has negative effects on personal growth and overall productivity that extend beyond the classroom. You may use those hours purposefully acquiring new skills, taking up hobbies, or having important conversations instead of idly scrolling through feeds. According to estimates from the World Economic Forum, individuals worldwide squander a substantial amount of time on social media — two hours and twenty-four minutes a day on average — that could be used for personal development.

Negative behaviours like cyberbullying and online harassment have become more prevalent due to the anonymity provided by social media platforms. According to a UNESCO report, around one-third of youth internet users have been the victim of cyberbullying, which can hurt mental health and academic achievement. The hostile online ecology that is fostered by hate speech and trolling not only undermines psychological resilience but also produces a poisonous environment.

Due to social media’s addictive qualities, which are the result of algorithms created to maximize user interaction, digital dependency is becoming increasingly common. Research from the neuroscientific community shows that addiction to social media and drug misuse are similar, in that obsessive usage habits are reinforced by reward pathways controlled by dopamine. Thus, social skills and emotional intelligence are further undermined by the disengagement from real-world interactions and reliance on virtual affirmation.

A holistic strategy that includes legislation, education, and personal accountability is needed to mitigate the negative consequences of social media. To enable students to use the internet responsibly, educational institutions need to incorporate mindfulness and digital literacy programmes into their curricula. To counteract online harassment, disinformation, and algorithmic manipulation, regulatory agencies need to implement strict guidelines.

Furthermore, it is critical to cultivate a culture of digital well-being that places a high value on in-person relationships, mental health, and responsible technology use. Programmes that encourage self-examination, digital detoxification, and moderate screen time can lessen the negative effects of social media and maximize its potential to improve society.

Thus, it is necessary to critically examine and take proactive measures in response to the widespread impact of social media on adolescents and students. Unquestionably, social media has many positive effects, but its unbridled growth has also led to problems with digital dependency, mental health issues, and academic decline. We can restore social media’s potential as a vehicle for community building, innovation, and connectedness by accepting these facts, educating people about technology, and encouraging responsible use.



References:

Rallapalli, S. (2020). Navigating the digital age: Strategies for managing social media distractions in education. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 17(1), 1–17.

Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Freeman, E. C. (2018). Time spent online and adolescent mental health. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127(2), 137–149.

Vannucci, A., & McCauley Ohannessian, C. (2019). Social media use subgroups differentially predict psychosocial well-being during early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(8), 1469–1493.


Submitted by Dr Arshid Bhat for "The Viral Post", the opinions, views, facts, findings, and data presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of "The Viral Post."

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