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Does Social Media have an Impact on Local Students?

Nov 29, 2017 • by Nick Youngkin, Alvernia University, citizen contributor
Social Media & Behavior

In today’s society, technology plays an immense role in the lives of many Americans.  It seems like everywhere you look, there is some sort of media on full display.  More specifically, social media, which can be defined as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking, has taken the country by storm.

Although some forms of social media are made for all ages, the younger generation seems to really gravitate towards various social media platforms.  These outlets that are commonly used by teens and young adults include Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, to name a few.  The purpose of them is to allow users to share pictures and information regarding their personal lives.  They also allow users to meet new people and reconnect with old friends, via the internet.  While these social media platforms may seem like a great idea, they also have many downfalls.  After talking to many students at Alvernia University, I have found numerous ways in which social media usage negatively affects their lives. 

Getting a good night’s sleep is something that can be taken for granted among college students.  Proper sleep is very essential to keeping the body healthy and functional throughout the next day.  Through various studies, sleep deprivation can be attributed to lots of social media use.  The University of Pittsburgh Psychology Department conducted a study to see if social media use has an impact on sleep among college students.  They concluded that those who used social media very often were “three times more likely to have troubled sleep than those who checked their feeds less frequently, (Smith).”  Alvernia Freshman, Rece Harman, has struggled with the same issue so far in his first year as a college student.  “I often find myself scrolling through social media at night, and the time flies by, causing me to get less sleep,” Harman says.  With the busy schedules of college students, late night is the time where they unwind before going to sleep.  This often includes going through the various social media sites they have on their phones.  Alvernia Sophomore, Alec Hawkins, explained how social media has really impacted his sleep schedule despite trying to monitor his usage.  “With my schedule, I always check my social media accounts when I go to bed, and it is amazing how one thing leads to another and I end up losing a couple hours of sleep,” Hawkins says.  He continued to explain how he tries to monitor his nighttime usage, but “you really miss out on things socially when you forget to check social media daily,” he says. 

Academic success in college can be very difficult for many students, and it requires dedication and a strong worth ethic.  The various social distractions of college such as parties and social gatherings can stray students away from spending the proper time studying.  Another thing that can distract students from doing work is social media usage.  Using social media frequently can lead to a decrease in work ethic and focus on academics, leading to poor performances in the classroom.  Many Alvernia students have experienced this issue.  Sophomore, Austin Gilbert, claims that he uses social media pretty frequently and has seen a decrease in his motivation to do schoolwork.  “I always get my schoolwork done, but I have seen myself push off certain tasks due to distractions on my phone,” Gilbert says.  Furthermore, Freshman, Kyle Gordon, explained that his social media use has negatively impacted his success in school.  “I really enjoy going through social media every day, and it has really distracted me from school,” Gordon says.  He went on to say, “I really need to try and manage my social media use to get a better handle on my schoolwork.” 

While social media is great for connecting with others and sharing memories, it can also have many downfalls.  More specifically, college students, who are more prone to social media use, experience many of these negative effects.  Various students at Alvernia University have expressed how social media has distracted them from the more important aspects of life, such as academics and getting proper sleep.  

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