Is Social Media Too Much Social?

Kathryn Hopkins, Sports Editor

Let’s be real.  I bet I could guess the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night.  Could it be your cell phone?! I was right, wasn’t I?  Now, when you checked your phone, do you find yourself immediately ‘liking’ your third cousin’s birthday selfie on Instagram?  No need to feel like the odd-man-out, because in this case, you are not alone.  Every year, more and more people are being sucked into the addictive world of social media.  For the few that don’t know exactly what social media is: it is the interaction of several people throughout the world via internet sites and social messaging applications.  Among the most popular sites include, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.  While in many ways, the ability to grasp information or contact someone across the world instantaneously is incredible; there are still details and other factors that have yet to be brought to the full attention of society.

According to a 2016 study by, since 2008, the percentage of social media users in the United States has surged from 24% to 78%.  It is fair to say that our country is obsessed with social media.  If the erupted percentage doesn’t make this clear, then how about the fact that the United States takes-up 59% of the world’s social media, followed by South America and Western Europe.  Truthfully, it is astonishing to not only see, but be a part of the generation where electronic applications and websites are practically ruling the world.  Cassidy Jacobus, a senior at Ward Melville High School, believes that in todays society, people depend on social media for everything

Years ago, people relied on dictionaries and phone books, and today, a majority of social media users don’t even know how to use a dictionary or a phone book properly.  It is sad to think that in a short period of time, our world has gone from ‘hand-on’ learning to wanting ‘instant gratification.’

Every year, the number of users of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram drastically increase.  Two different studies by Pew Internet, show the growth of online sites, from March of 2015 to March of 2016.  The percentage of Facebook users went up 7% (72 to 79%); Instagram increased 4% (28 to 32%) and Twitter boosted 1% (23 to 24%).  Notice how in twelve short months, none of them went down in numbers. 

Today, the average age of social media users range from 18 to 29 years old, according to’s 2016 report.  However, in recent years, the ages of users significantly increased and decreased.  According to a study by Pew Research Center, between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of internet users 65 years of age and older increased 150%!  There is no doubt that Facebook was start of the social media mania.  Many were obsessed with the idea of instantly updating people about their life, to the point where adolescents were lying about their age just so they could join the craze.   Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in 2004 while attending Harvard University, his goal was to make to world more connected and open. 

Back, you know, a few generations ago, people didn’t have a way to share information and express their opinions efficiently to a lot of people. But now they do. Right now, with social networks and other tools on the Internet, all of these 500 million people have a way to say what they’re thinking and have their voice be heard.

(Mark Zuckerberg, 2010 interview with Diane Sawyer)

Facebook was and continues to be the #1 website in which under-age users admit to ignoring the ‘age requirement’.  While Facebook is still maintaining it’s dominance of the internet, a majority of users are over the age of 40 years old, according to  However not all of our elders are hopping on the ‘bandwagon’ and joining every site known to man.  Tim Hopkins, a retired business executive, feels that being sucked into the social media fanatics was overrated and never very appealing.  In his opinion, the idea of actually creating any sort of account seems cliché; however, he does like to use Facebook site, just not his, or under his name. 

The only ‘social media’ account I have is LinkedIn, for business reasons; I do not have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.  Honestly, I don’t understand why people want others knowing every little thing about their lives; also, it seems confusing to use on such tiny devices.

Although Hopkins never wanted to be apart of the world of no privacy, he still finds himself using Facebook, “I do use my wife’s Facebook; my family says I use it more than her.  I have never been compelled to join the social media mania.”

Nonetheless, new sites are intriguing the younger generation.  Facebook came into our world in 2004, while Twitter came about in 2006, and Instagram took the world by storm in 2010

new sites are intriguing young people to  the ‘king’ of the internet, the numbers of younger users is lessening while the older users still ‘share’ Aunt Becky’s monkey befriending a horse videos.  Many would argue that parents ‘ruined’ Facebook. 

Lately, people of all ages have been spreading their wings from Facebook and have been dipping their toes into other instantaneous sites.  Grant Owen, 10-years-old, admits to having several social media accounts; from Snapchat to  “I was 8-years-old when I got Instagram, I have three different accounts!  I run my dog, Edin’s, account, I have one for photography and of course, my personal.”  Despite the fact Owen was born into a world where social media runs the world, he doesn’t check his status every 2 minutes like the rest of society.  “When I wake up in the morning, I try to get my mom to let me stay in bed.  I usually get dressed, have breakfast, brush my teeth and then go to school.”  When Grant was asked what the last thing he does before going to bed, “I brush my teeth.”  It is safe to say that Grant Owen loves his social media, but he does feel that it is greatly affecting the way his generation interacts.  “Not that many kids play outside with their friends when hanging-out; instead they’re inside for hours playing video games.”  It is refreshing to hear a person born into ‘Generation Z’ accept the fact that not only his generation, but all, are greatly impacted by all kinds of social media. 

Many would think that social media is harmless and that it could have no effect on ones health, despite popular belief – that assumption is erroneous.  Truth-be-told, little research has been done to spread the word of social media’s negative impact on  mental health.  Currently, the research that is being done reveals great concern about the stability of adolescents mental health.  A study by Ottawa Public Health epidemiologists reported that “. . .teens who are on social media for more than two hours a day, a full one-quarter of students in the study, report poor self-rated mental health, psychological distress, suicidal ideation or unmet need for mental health support.”  Places like Instagram and Twitter can actually become addicting.  People like High School senior, Kerry Mckeever, admit to turning to social media when trying to procrastinate an unappealing activity.  “When I’m procrastinating on doing my homework, hours can past  by the time I start working.  The amount of time Social media wastes is a big reason as to why I give it up every year for lent, which is two months.”  In today’s society, not many are willing to give up their social media, especially for two months.  A Twitter poll done by Ward Melville’s newspaper, Kaleidoscope, wanted to see if students were willing to give up social media for two weeks; out of 18 votes, 72% said “no.”

Social media is one of the most, if not, the most incredible movement made in the twenty-first century.  If it wasn’t for social media, people would not be able to stay ‘in-touch’ with not only the country, but the world.  Although this is extraordinary, the United States needs to truly be cautious when it comes to the usage of social media.  Yes, there have been countless positives, but we must not forget the various ways social media can turn into an obsession.