Courtesy of Tribune News Service

Opinion: Students should change the way they use social media

Everyone on the University of South Carolina campus looks like a zombie. I don’t mean that everyone is a monster, I just think that everyone is simply going place to place. 

It's concerning to see everyone staring into their phones so much when college is supposed to be the best time of our lives. I walk into a class and everyone is on their smartphones. No one is talking, reading or doing anything with lasting interest. I'm guilty of this too. I am always listening to music, using Snapchat or browsing Reddit before class starts. 

The invention of Facebook was meant to bring college students together to talk to fellow students online. In my opinion, Facebook is dead now for teens, and the social media that replaced it doesn’t bring people together. Social media has gone away from making people friends. Now, social media is self-advertising. You can literally buy fake friends or followers for your social media accounts. 

Social media lost its genuine feel that it used to have. I remember in fifth grade how cool I thought it was to have a Facebook account and talk to all my friends online. That feeling is distant from social media now. 

In 2008, 17 percent of people in the UK had smartphones, and in 2018, 78 percent of people had them. This change since I was in fifth grade is also replicated in the U.S. through social media usage. Social media is more of an obligation to people now than it was before. 

People go to parties and they want to be on their smartphones the whole time or “flex for the 'gram.” If it's such a great time, just go have it. 

What are people even doing on their smartphones for all this time? The statistics for how much people use their smartphones are shocking. When we compare our phone usage as teens to what previous generations did, it brings up a question: What are we losing by being on our smartphones all the time? All of the time we spend on our smartphones we can spend doing something more productive. 

Smartphones can be really good resources. You have an infinite amount of books, music and knowledge just in your pocket. If we take advantage of what we have, we could really improve the world. Instead of using your phone for social media, you can use it to study, learn something or create something. Maybe we should buy into the professional opportunities of social media. We can use our smartphones to network and be innovators in our desired career paths. 

I don’t think college campuses will go back to what they used to be. I think people will continue to be on their phones being instantly awarded with dopamine for posting a cool selfie and getting hundreds of likes. The next time you decide to go on your phone in class, think about what else you could be doing.


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