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Clear your mind. Imagine your life without social media. No Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. What would you do with your time instead of wasting it on all these lifeless sites? You could accomplish many things from going for a weekly hike with the family to traveling the world and meeting different people. As reported by socialmediatoday.comsocialmediatoday.com, the average teenager spends around 76 hours a month on social media sites, that’s 38 days a year! Social media is a great way to catch up with friends and family abroad. Likewise, you can find out what’s happening hundreds of miles away in a matter of seconds sounds very astonishing if you think about it. Technology has improved over the past few years and it is taking over our lives. Most people, while using social media resemble statues – sitting, staring at their phone for hours straight. Health experts mention that sitting down for long periods of time causes not only weight gain, but is linked to heart disease. Dr. James Levine a doctor trained in clinical nutrition as a scholar at the University of Cambridge describes sitting as the new smoking. The average teenager today spends 72% of the year sleeping or sitting down. This means that if we continue using social media the same way we are today, the next generations will suffer from the many diseases linked to the lack of movement; Ataxia, Dystonia, Essential tremor, types of cancers, etc.…  If we only exercised, only half as much of the time as we spend on social media, we would all be fighting fit, not to mention much healthier inside too. Social media has also exacerbated the epidemic of eating disorders amongst women. All the images of the super skinny models on social media reinforced the notion of an ideal body size. This has caused many beautiful women to have feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness and leading to increased isolation, which has caused them to hate their bodies. An article by ‘The Guardians’ suggests that academic researchers found that women compare their body image to that of their peers on social media. They have also found that most women diet and over-exercise when they don’t need to, not because they want to be more healthy but because they want to be like those women, they see on social media. This clarifies that something very unnecessary social media is causing major mental and physical health problems in many women.  Social media isn’t only awful for your physical health it is dreadful for your mental health. Firstly, it is addictive. All social network companies and social content creators, are working hard every day to make their networks so addictive that you can’t resist them, this is what they do for a living. According to infosci.cornell.eduinfosci.cornell.edu, Cornell Information Science, published research earlier this month, which looked at the difficulty some people have in quitting Facebook and other social networks. The study used data from a site called 99DaysofFreedom.com, which encourages people to stop using Facebook for 99 days. The site and study are interesting because they revealed the difficulty people have quitting Facebook because of addiction. Participants intended, wanted and believed they could quit, but many couldn’t make more than a few days. Most of us nowadays have a fear of missing out this obsession causes us to always want to look at our Facebook feed. We are preoccupied with people’s lives more than our own! Another very dangerous thing that is caused by social media is cyberbullying. In April 2016, after years of ruthless bullying in school and on social media, 17-year-old Felix Alexander committed suicide. Soon after, his mother Lucy wrote that the bullying “began with unkindness and social isolation, and over the years with the advent of social media, it became cruel and overwhelming”. Tragically, Felix’s experience seems to be more common than you would have thought. According to McAfee poll of 11-to 17-year-olds, in 2014, 35% reported that they had experienced cyberbullying, up from 16% the year before. This shows that the psychological Problems associated with social media and cyberbullying can have massively adverse effects on us and our children in the future if it is allowed to continue unabated.  That is not all social media can also cause you to deteriorate severe depression. Social media is a different world to ours, a world where everyone is trying hard to seem as perfect as they could, which have caused many people to be depressed. David Baker, a trainee clinical psychologist at Lancaster University, has analyzed 30 different studies about the link between Facebook and depression. His studies found that people who compared themselves with others online were more likely to suffer depression than those who don’t, which are the minority. This shows that social media can have huge impacts on our wellbeing if not used correctly.  As wonderful as social media may seem, it is a reality that it’s causing many severe problems in our society. Such complications can affect you and your loved ones at any second. Please, use your social media carefully, make sure you aren’t causing anyone to suffer. Take a look at your priorities and see what you can use your time for. Remember that this life is worth more than spending it on things that are not important. That the minute that you will spend on something that isn’t making you happy is not going to come back. That your health is more important than how you look. Remember that your pain is also hurting the many people who love you.

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