Trending: Log out of Facebook

By Josiah VanWingerden Social media outlets became one of the most popular communication methods among millennials at the turn of the 21st century. Several studies from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine and other sources indicate millennials check social media up to forty-three times a day and spend as many as six hours on websites like Facebook and Instagram.

This data is alarming and with the advent of the smartphone unlimited access is even easier obtain. The fact in the matter is, millennials spend way too much time on social media and it has recently been linked to various health issues.

The Huffington Post interviewed Dr. Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga about a study that he led on the effects of social media on teens. Researchers found that teens who spend more than two hours a day on social media are more likely to have mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

“The relationship between the use of social networking sites and mental health issues is complex,” Sampasa-Kanyinga said.

The relationship may be complex, but social media is connected to mental health issues. The National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2012 conducted a study that also found a significant correlation between social media use and depression in teens.

In addition to mental health concerns, social media use could be linked to obesity and other potentially harmful eating habits, according to a study by Harvard University.

As if things couldn’t be any worse for Whitworth students, grades are also affected by time spent on social media. Students with lower grades spent more time on social media than those with higher grades.

A study by the University of New Hampshire found that, “Students who have accessed social media sites during class often had lower grade point averages than students who never visit social media sites in class.”

The Pew Research Center echoed all of these concerns and noted this evolution in communication could have a negative effect on physical intimacy long term.

I did some research over Jan Term to see how all of this information related to Whitworth students. I issued a survey to twenty-six students and asked how often they get distracted by social media while doing homework.

Results indicated that most students (21) were distracted by sites like Facebook and Instagram. Whitworth students are not immune to this distraction. However, there are ways to fight it.

A simple solution is deleting social media applications of off your mobile device. Studies show that this not only increases the phone’s battery life by 20 percent, according to the Guardian, but also decreases the time spent on social media sites.

I am not calling for us to swear off social media forever because let’s face it, I love my social media as much as the next person. I am simply saying that we should be aware of how we spend our time and the harmful effects that too much social media can have on our health. After all, you could save a life… your battery life (zing)!

So, my fellow millennials: save your battery, raise your grades and hug someone near you. More importantly, close your phone and conquer the world!

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