Implications of social media on college students

Katelyn Meeks

This past year, I have taken on the role of managing the social media accounts of The Collegian. I personally think social media is a great tool to utilize in connecting with others and keeping up with the daily lives of others we do not get to see that often, but social media is a double-edged sword, especially for college students.
From Experian Simmons, “98% of college students use social media on a daily basis.”
As you probably read that stat, you might be thinking that is basically all college students spending time on some sort of social media, whether it is the big ones like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat to the ones you might not think of as a social media like Discord, Youtube, Twitch and Tinder. If so many college students are spending time on social media, how is this affecting them?
Let’s take a look back in time where a lot of the implications started to heighten.
If we all can recall, in 2020, a pandemic took the world by surprise and all of us were forced to stay inside for months on end. Social media usage amongst college students heightened and caused some major effects. Due to isolation because of the pandemic, college students were more likely to acquire depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and be more stressed because the main form of interaction was social media.
This has also heightened students to start self-diagnosis because of all the information available on social media, which is not always good because anyone can claim to be anything on social media.
The effects from social media usage during the pandemic have continued into everyday life after the pandemic.
College students, before the pandemic only used to be on social media for about one to two hours a day, but now that has doubled to 3 to 4 hours a day.
A study that was conducted at UCLA about the amount of time students spend on social media concluded that 27.2% of students spent more than six hours a week on social media, which is like taking one whole day of week and just spending it on social media.
Social media has become an addiction amongst college students. In general, social media is addictive, but from a scholarly article from PLOS, about 2.8% of college students are fully addicted to social media on their phones. Even though this number may seem relatively small, there are still lots of students who turn their phones to see the hottest, newest, most-up-to-date information.
Social media might seem all good for college students with keeping up in everyday life, but it does have some harmful implications.
Not all hope is lost though, there are a few simple little tricks I like to use since I have to use social media quite a bit.
One tip is to put your phone in a spot where it will be out of sight; I like to use this when studying, so that I am not thinking about my phone and getting on social media. Another idea is every time you pick up your phone think about why you are even picking up your phone. I do this constantly, and even though this seems a little weird, it will eventually make you realize maybe I don’t need to be on social media at this moment. A last tip is to sometimes just turn off your phone. I know many of us can’t exactly do that in case of an emergency or others contacting us with important information, but I highly suggest at least trying this once.
The implications of social media are not good, but if students try to have a healthy balance between reality and social media, it becomes easier.