Has Social media and the Internet Provided an Escape From 2020’s Horrors?

By: SOPHIA PACHECO

Social Media has been a big part of our lifestyles today, especially now that the quarantine has been in effect and we are, unfortunately, unable to leave our homes often. But has it really provided a paradise for those wanting to escape the gloom of this year’s events? For some, it really has become a haven for going away from the sadness of 2020 among its numerous funny cat videos and memes. But for others, it has relayed the past events, even magnifying the difficulties we are facing tenfold. The internet is a great source of entertainment to take your mind off of things, yes, but also a great source of information, which can barrage you with many forms of news at any time. There’s only so much information the human brain can take, and as a result, sometimes social media can become overwhelming. So how are these internet platforms affecting people, is it more positive than negative, or is it the reverse?

The problem with social media is that it has a vast amount of informational resources at your fingertips. Want to search up hamster videos on instagram under the hamster hashtag? You got it. Want to see gaming videos on youtube? No problem. Want to search up the latest news in your area? The internet’s got your back. There can be a lot of positive connectivity that helps a lot in these difficult times. Rather than feeling lonely in reality, a lot of people tend to escape into the digital world to feel more connected. According to the NY times, (Kevin Roose, The Coronavirus Crisis Is Showing Us How to Live Online), “I expected my first week of social distancing to feel, well, distant. But I’ve been more connected than ever. My inboxes are full of invitations to digital events — Zoom art classes, Skype book clubs, Periscope jam sessions.” As you can tell, many people feel validated on Social Media, when in real life they do not.  

But when does this abundance of information start to negatively impact your mood? Maybe when your dash becomes filled with depressing topics such as the police brutality, global Covid deaths, fires, and natural/man-made disasters that seem to be occurring everywhere. According to PewResearch.org(Stories From Experts About the Impact of Digital Life) , one old woman says “I’ve not heard about the deaths of people because I refuse to spend all my time on Facebook.” This one simple statement shows that the impact of social media can barrage people with bad news and can easily depress them. 

It is important to take a break once in a while to escape from reality, like watching a bob ross video or googling a movie, but it’s crucial to take breaks from social media as well, as it can drown you in all the bad news happening all over the world. Like the site “Social Media Breaks and Why They Are Necessary” says, “social media use can lead to depression, low self-esteem, body image issues, anxiety, social isolation, and the list goes on.” The human mind can only take so much, so please, let’s take better care of ourselves, both in the digital world and the real one. 

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