Two sides of social media

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2019

It has become second nature to pick up our phones and open our favorite social media apps immediately after waking up and multiple times throughout the day.

We scroll through hundreds, if not thousands of posts, interacting with the world throughout the day. Most of us view this as more of a positive than a negative.

Social media has become many people’s go-to place to find news and entertainment. Plus, all of us have downtime, and it’s a great way to kill boredom.

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However, it’s also starting to become an addiction. Imagine if you consumed alcohol and tobacco as much as you check your phone.

In May 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent say they are online “almost constantly.” Those are staggering numbers when you consider the number of teens in the United States. Many of these teens see social media as a positive place to communicate with friends and family as well as stay up to date with current trends and events.

What they do not see is the negative, nor should they at their ages.

Negatives include missing out on real-world moments, family time and other activities that can’t be found on a screen.  There are also other dangers involved with social media, many of them printed in the pages of this newspaper more often than any of us would like.

Last week, we wrote about a Brunswick, Georgia man who was arrested for allegedly communicating inappropriately with an 8-year-old in Valley.

The good and bad thing about the internet is that it brings us all closer together, so problems that might usually be reserved to a large metropolitan area can be found right here in Chambers County. It’s important for parents to stay involved in their child’s online life, know what they are doing while online and who they are communicating with.  Do not be afraid to talk to your child and to have an open and honest conversation.

Most importantly, if you find yourself dealing with any type of predator online, call law enforcement before turning to the original source of the problem — social media. As much as people on Facebook want to hear your problems and gossip and click “share,” they can’t actually solve the problem.

Law enforcement can.