By Kaylyn S. Jones
Social media is a good way to pass the time, as long as it doesn’t become time consuming.
Americans spend 121 billion minutes on social media sites according to The Washington Post. Seventy-five percent of teenagers currently have a profile on a social networking website while on in four use at least two daily.
Alexis Ford, a junior at Cato Campus Middle College who admits to spending 15 to 25 hours a week on social media, likes the websites for their social connections and entertainment. “I think the majority of teenagers are addicted to social networking because it is provoked by their peers and is used as a form of entertainment,” Ford said. “Twenty hours a week is an excessive amount of time to be on social media sites but it has become normal for many teenagers in today’s society.”
C. Ashton Hall, a social media associate at Jackson State University in Mississippi, believes that not all teens are addicted to social media and networking sites have their advantages. “Teens use social media as busy work and to keep them preoccupied with something to do,” she said. “Social networking does have its pros. It keeps them connected with friends and family.”
Ford Agrees. “Social networking is a good thing because it helps with interactions among teens but could also be bad, it’s very time consuming and sometimes it interferes with school and homework,”she said.
Raven English, a Vance High School junior, said she uses Instagram and the video site Vine, but manages her time by finding balance between social and academic pursuits. “The more I’m involved in activities, the less focused I am on networking sites,” she said.
Kimberly Williams, 42, is a god-mother to a teenager and concerned social media is becoming a substitute for face-to-face communication- a necessary skill in the real world. “I believe that the majority of teenagers are addicted to social media because it has become the new way they communicate with each other,” she said. “Some teens feel that social media has helped them become more outgoing and are too shy for face-to-face interactions.”
So, what defines social media overload? The need for digital communication and entertainment at the expense of personal interaction concerns Williams. “I perceive social media addiction to be when an individual feels the need to have their phone with them at all times,” she said. “If you feel the need to sleep with your phone and check your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or any other networking sites multiple times a day then you many be addicted. “Create a balance when it comes to social media. Don’t let social media cause us to lose our social skills.”