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YFS Panel – Social Media is Seriously Damaging Our Mental Health

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If you are in grade 10, it is very likely that last Friday you watched and were engaged with a panel discussion that was hosted by the Youth Forum. The motion for the panel was, ‘Social media is seriously damaging our mental health’ and although during the panel I was against the motion, I will approach the subject objectively, and present what was discussed.

 

First of all, almost every student in ISZL has some form of social media and it is undeniable that the presence of social media has a massive impact on all of our lives. The main discussion during the panel was whether this impact was 

positive or negative, and how it affected our mental health. People who were for the motion, argued that social media triggers many mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. They suggested that it pushes us to a state where we are seeking the approval of others constantly, and doing this by presenting a false, unrealistic, virtual version of ourselves. They also argued that social media causes us to live a life where we are dangerously attached to our phones. Furthermore, they argued that social media could lead to people comparing themselves with others and ultimately feeling bad about themselves and eventually falling into depression.

 

The people who were against the motion and stated that social media can have various positive impacts on our lives and our mental health, began by saying that it was a way to connect with people from all over the world. They argued that being in an international community, social media helps us significantly as it allows us to remain in touch with our friends and families from different countries. They also suggested that social media benefits our mental health by allowing us to interact with people who may relate to certain struggles that we are going through and that many people use social media in order to seek help for their mental health issues. An example that was given for this was, 7 Cups of Tea, a social media platform which allows people to talk to and get advice from listeners from all overthe world. Finally, people who were speaking against the motion, also said that social media was ultimately a great place for one to grow their careers, meet people with common interests and express their creativity.

 

Additionally, an argument that occurred throughout the panel was whether social media has turned into a platform which paves the way for bullying, since many people use it to attack others, as it allows them to hide behind a screen and perhaps remain anonymous. While most of the panelists agreed that social media did make bullying easier, they also stated that bullying has existed long before social media came along, and that the certain social media platforms in which bullying occured, often had many features which allowed the users to prevent the bullying.

 

Overall, the panelists agreed that while social media does have the potential to negatively impact mental health, it is also an incredible platform which could benefit our lives immensely. Whether its effects are negative or positive, ultimately depends on the ways in which we use it.

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