In modern society, personality and behavior are shaped through a variety of factors: family, friends, and other social interactions. Social is one of the biggest contributors to people’s disposition.
An American author, Amy Jo Martin, once said that “[Social media is] a dialogue, not a monologue, and some people don’t understand that. Social media is more like a telephone than a television.” She creates an analogy between social media and the telephone, stating that social media creates interactions and relationships between people.
Because people’s personalities and behaviors are changed throughout their lifetime, especially during adolescence, the effect of social media on teenagers is unimaginable. It can alter their thoughts and behaviors, or it can support their current character. The effect of celebrities on American youth is so influential that it can cause young people to fall into wrong paths, such as thinking that drugs would make them look cooler.
Additionally, in extreme cases, social media interactions can cause suicidal behavior. For example, according to the U.S National Library of Medicine, social media provides encouragements and guides for suicide through posting videos of self-harm, which is gaining popularity among teenagers.
Moreover, social media can cause people to become confused about their own identities. Some can try to act differently to gain people’s attention and some can reveal their true character that they couldn’t do with their friends in real life. One way or the other, they are still creating multiple personalities in reality and on the internet, causing them to be bewildered with who they really are.
On the other hand, Carissa Blasquez vouches for the benefits of social media by stating that “social media gives one an outlet to be a different person that one can’t really express in real life because of fear of people’s backlash. Also, there is no inhibition in telling a secret because they (online friends) don’t know one’s identity.” While social media can create confusion, it can also act as place for people to vent, allowing people to release their true opinions. Finally, social media can also persuade people towards positive behaviors, such as becoming a better parent through videos about healthy parent-child relationships.
There are conflicting views about effects of social media on people’s behavior and personality. Social media can result in beneficial outcomes for some people, however it can also cause drawbacks for others. Ironically, while social media increases online interactions, it may reduce communications in the real world. However, the fact that social media does alter people’s behaviors and personalities is unquestionable.