December 23, 2015

Social Media Street Survey

Social Media Street Survey
Faye Hochberg ‘18

Social media at Golda Och Academy is on the rise. Students are constantly bombarded with a seemingly unlimited number of alerts from electronic devices, which are either positively or negatively affecting students’ lives.
One of the reasons social media, such as Instagram and Snapchat, attracts so many teenagers is simply because it is fun. For example, sophomore Shifra Zuckerman said she uses these apps because she “just wants to have fun with friends.”
For others it is also a great way to share their opinions.
“The point of my social media accounts were only to have fun and express myself in a cool platform,” sophomore Iris Berman said.
Another positive aspect of social media is that it can be used as a good vehicle for unwinding during downtime.
“It relieves my stress,” said sophomore Jessie Ruchman, “and [it] gives me a break from constantly doing work.”
However, there is a price to pay for the privilege of having fun. One of the most obvious negative aspects of social media for teenagers is the constant distraction it creates, as many students spend one or two hours on it everyday.
“Social media is one hundred percent a distraction from my homework,” added Zuckerman.
Berman goes even further by suggesting that social media is more than a distraction; it is also harmful to her performance in school.
Many students also experience regret after posting a picture or a comment.
“I have regretted my weird posts from my beginning days on the gram and I regret every post ‘cause they are weird and not clever,” sophomore Maya Robbins said.
In order to negate the negative aspects of social media use, students have devised effective methods to control their usage. In order to prevent distraction, for example, Zuckerman keeps her phone out of reach.
“When I have to do homework,” Zuckerman explains, “I must throw my phone to the other side of the room.”
Some students, like Ruchman, find it useful to set times for working while incorporating breaks in which they allow themselves to use social media. Former GOA student Ben Kubany uses an online program called “Self Control” which helps him block social media and stay focused on his homework. Berman, meanwhile, solved the problem by taking what some would consider the drastic step of deleting all of her social media accounts.
“They were too distracting and I realized that I didn’t care about 98 percent of the people that I followed,” she said. “It was a huge realization that hours of my life were dedicated to something that aggravated me.
“It’s been really positive for me and I don’t feel as if I’m missing anything… I am so much happier without social media.”
Even with all the available means of controlling social media use, some students, like sophomore Eran Shapiro, just prefer to remain passive. Shapiro said he prefers to do “nothing” and prefers to “just let it happen.”
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