Texting! That’s all you see walking through a high school of over 2,000 students. Phones pushed up against their faces as they walk to their next class, bumping into people and walls, dropping their books and not caring, all because of a cell phone.

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites are available through smartphones such as an android or iPhone/iPod. Smartphones have become students’ lives. A student’s friend is through the phone and not in person. Many teens say that these social media sites keep them in touch with everyone, but do they really? Okay, so on Snapchat and Instagram, you can see the person, but it’s not the same as if you were really with them. Social media isn’t really social, the sites make you sit around all day talking to someone, hiding behind the phone.

These handheld devices have caused a domino effect of problems. Some people don’t want to leave their houses, or even want to go to bed. Many people stay awake all night long on these sites, making themselves insomniac or nocturnal. Many teens don’t go to bed to close to 4 in the morning. That’s very dangerous for your health. A teen has to sleep between 8 to 12 hours a night, and I mean at night.

The Huffington Post states, “Kids between the ages of 12 and 17 text a median of 60 times a day — up from 50 in 2009.” Girls raise the bar on all of that, “a median of 100 a day, compared to 50 for boys.” From the Washington Post, “Many U.S. teens say they are addicted to social media and texting and often want to unplug.” Some teens want to unplug, but can’t. They’re way too stubborn and stuck in the grips of corporate businesses.

Facebook is the top used social media site with “900,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors” (www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites). The least used social media site is ClassMates having only, “10,000,000 – Estimated Unique Monthly Visitors.” Facebook has this grab on teens and even adults that nobody can break until they actually have the ability to delete their account. I’ve only met one person to delete their account, but they created a brand new one just to get away from some people. Some people will tell you that they can get off of those sites, but lets be honest, nobody can really get off of those sites without getting every electronic they own taken away from them. We can’t escape social media completely, but we can try to wean ourselves off of them, little by little.

What has happened to our lives? Relying on the internet just to stay connected to others. I’ve found teachers sitting in their classroom, playing like Candy Crush Saga or Words With Friends on their phones. So many addicting social media sites have been added every day and games usually are a package deal. Not only are we being sucked in with the social media crowd, they add an excitement factor, using different “fun” games to intrigue to keep coming to their site, to gather money from the consumers, for their own benefit.

No wonder Mark Zuckerberg is so rich, his net worth went from “Rs 3.1 billion to 29.7 billion after the social networking giant’s shares surged on strong fourth quarter performance.” (economictimes.indiatimes.com)

 – Words & Research by Alicia Pfaff

 – Image by Jessi Proulx