Editor’s Note: The following essay won third place in the essay writing competition with the topic “Social Media as a Medium for Healing and Change” during the UB Academic Olympics held on September 29-30, 2016. It was lightly edited for clarity.
According to Aristotle, man is by a nature a social being. Having a healthy social life with good relationships is essential to mankind. In this modern age, the way we relay our thoughts and feelings to others has definitely changed.
Both the young and old generations are using social media, but it seems that it has ruled the young ones. Social media does not have the best reputation for healing and change, however. This is because we abuse it too much. How? Cyberbullying and online human trafficking are just a couple of examples.
Aside from cyberbullying and cyber sex, social media causes people to become shallow. Sometimes, it’s sad to see that some girls look like the dog filter on Snapchat, like it’s the best thing to happen to mankind. It seems that this generation is being ruled by petty standards and trends we see online.
A lot of us indulge ourselves in social media. But oftentimes, we fail to see how influential it is. It greatly shapes our beliefs, principles, clothing styles, even our personalities. Sometimes this happens so much that we lose sense of ourselves. We lose our individuality because we want to become like the trendy celebrities we see online, and if we fail to do so, we build insecurities, we loathe on ourselves, and we push ourselves to become the people that we are not.
The wrong usage of social media did not only lessen our individuality – it also made us lack compassion towards others. The constant need for us to be trendy and pretty made us focus so much on ourselves that we forgot how to be kind and compassionate towards others in real life.
Social media can definitely be a tool for healing and change as long as we use it in the right way. Social media isn’t just for dog filters, or tweets. We should start to realize that we shouldn’t use social media for getting validation from the number of likes we get on our pictures, or for wearing a trendy outfit.
Social media should be taken advantage of, but in the right way. Sharing more love and kindness, encouraging individuality, raising awareness, helping people in need, and building self-esteem are what we should use social media for. – Mia Arce
Mia Arce is a senior BA Communication student of the University of Baguio.