The Potential Dangers of Social Media
Most of us appreciate the many benefits of social media, but as our guest contributor points out, it’s important to be aware of the negative aspects.
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash
There are many reasons why social media remains an important tool for students. Not only is it a useful way of sharing academic information and organising group projects, but it’s equally useful as a catalyst for students’ social lives. Joining societies, organising meet-ups and even forming new friendships and relationships can all be done through various social media platforms.
However, using social media does bring its own risks, and it is important to understand these in order to stay safe online whilst at uni and beyond. Here, we discuss three of the common issues.
Social media can affect your mental health
Social media can act as a stress reliever for students who are juggling deadlines with social commitments and every other aspect of university or post-graduate life. However, finding the right balance is crucial to protecting our wellbeing.
Social media users (especially those in higher education) tread a fine line between using the platforms to maintain social connections and going too far the other way, where they begin to detach themselves from the real world. In this case, social media addiction can lead to feelings of social isolation and loneliness, which can be common anyway amongst students who are away from home for the first time. So, it’s important to form a healthy relationship with social media and screen time, and find a good balance where it does not have a negative impact on your mental health.
Overspending on social media
Social media has had a profound impact on the way we shop and spend our money. And whilst student loans are there to help ease the financial burden of university life, there are so many incentives and offers from online retailers tempting us to part with our money. There are many reasons why this can perpetuate unnecessary spending, from the constant bombardment of digital ads, to FOMO and the endless pressure to conform to the ‘desirable’ influencer aesthetic.
It’s important to be aware that many aspects of social media are designed to encourage higher spending. To avoid a negative influence on your finances, just take a step back and consider whether you really want or need an item before making a purchase; and self-impose limits if you feel you may be spending too much.
Manage your reputation
Understand how social media can potentially impact your career prospects, in both positive or negative ways. Employers often look through potential applicants’ profiles before hiring, to check whether they would be a good fit for the role and company. So, make good use of privacy settings on your platforms, and keep your public profile professional and appropriate at all times, to protect your reputation. A few careless posts could cost you a job opportunity – so always think twice before posting anything online.
As a student, social media can be an incredibly useful and enjoyable tool for networking opportunities or just keeping in touch with friends. But do be aware of the potential risks and be mindful about how you use the various platforms.
About the Author
Since graduating from a Russell Group university, James has gone on to pursue a career in digital marketing. He is passionate about sharing the benefits of social media and understands the importance of informing young people about good, safe practices when using these online networks.