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 How international students view social media

Media has had many impacts on both an individual and societal level. Influences like stereotyping and standardizing beauty and body image change social dynamics.

Beauty and body standards count as one of the negative effects of media according to junior Christine Hadassa. “Body image is a big issue that I didn’t have before. Social media has made me sometimes feel unworthy,” she said.

Another student shared that body image was not a problem before her arrival to the United States. However, she has since grown increasingly conscious about body image.

In some countries, media is more conservative and reserved than it is in the U.S. Many cultures throughout the world are more reserved in displaying skin with liberated romantic relationships. However, western media often expresses liberal views towards romantic/non-romantic sexual relations, and are not afraid of displaying nudity.

  In the United States, adults spend 317 minutes every day on their mobile phone, laptop or desktop, according to Statista.  Common Sense Media polls say 50% of teens nowadays are addicted to their smartphone, while nearly 78% of teens check their phones hourly.  

Every second we check our phones, it takes us away from socializing with people. As Principians, we spend a lot of time on phones and laptops everyday. It is easy to imagine us spending over five hours a day with these devices.   

The assumption with social media is that it brings people together. But, in some cases, we can become distant. “Nowadays I feel like I don’t know how to communicate. I don’t socialize anymore because when I have my laptop or my phone, I feel a sense of completeness. I feel like [that] is a bad thing,” sophomore Julie Okonya said. “Social media doesn’t make you social. Now it’s phone-phone friends it’s not person-person friends.”

It’s easy to rely solely on media. It does not have the potential to hurt you unlike friends or the people we know. It takes us away from each other as much as it brings us together.

Media is helpful in many ways, but it also comes with its drawbacks. It affects us psychologically, socially, and spiritually. Hadassa said, “It depends on how you use it [social media]…it takes a lot of self-control.”

However, there is a quick fix to excessive social-media use. Junior Janeen Mathisen said, “Live in harmony with it. Live with balance. Utilize it and be smart in using it. Don’t get addicted to it.”