Social media connects in a time of distancing

Quarantined+at+home%2C+junior+Drew+Milholland+scrolls+through+Instagram+for+inspiration+and+entertainment.+Social+media+is+what+many+students+have+used+to+distract+themselves+from+boredom.+%22%5BNot+having+social+media%5D+would+severely+impact+the+mental+state+of+everyone%2C+regardless+of+how+much+they+use+social+media%2C%22+Milholland+said.+%22I%27d+be+a+million+times+more+irritable+and+sick+of+quarantine+if+it+weren%27t+for+these+apps+that+let+me+stay+connected+with+the+outside+world.%22

Courtesy of Drew Milholland

Quarantined at home, junior Drew Milholland scrolls through Instagram for inspiration and entertainment. Social media is what many students have used to distract themselves from boredom. "[Not having social media] would severely impact the mental state of everyone, regardless of how much they use social media," Milholland said. "I'd be a million times more irritable and sick of quarantine if it weren't for these apps that let me stay connected with the outside world."

Nowadays, just a single tap on a phone can lead teens into a black hole, consuming hours of their day. According to care.com, parents fear the risks of social media such as sharing personal information, cyberbullying, predators and false marketing. At a time like this, however, many people are grateful for social media apps like Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. 

“I’m usually in contact with people almost all day whether it be calling or texting so I use [social media] to stay in touch with my friends and to meet new people as well,” junior Drew Milholland said. 

Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ally Carter and Candace Cameron-Bure are sharing messages on their accounts about positivity. These influencers are also sharing entertaining posts such as live book talks, spending time with pets, doing live concerts and showing at-home workouts. While famous YouTubers are focusing on the importance of staying home, they are using the tag #WithMe to let people know we are in this together.

An article by Verywell Family states that social media can strengthen friendships, encourage people to do good, show personal expression and authentic support, gather information and reduce feelings of isolation.

It makes me proud of the community knowing that people are being responsible during this time and trying to influence others to stay positive,”

— junior Maddy Truka

“Not being able to leave the house much is negatively affecting how I think and feel [but] drawing and gaming is what I’ve been doing a lot of and talking with people online is what helps me stay positive,” Milholland said.

Social media allows students to spread awareness and kindness in times of mutual struggle. For example, Instagram users are sharing kindness challenges, appreciation posts for those important to them and kind messages for their followers to see. 

“I feel like people having ways to stay connected has made the fact that we can’t leave our houses easier to manage,” freshman Caroline Fry said. “Instagram has helped me stay connected because I can text my friends and I can see things going on in their lives.”

Students claim they turn to social media for entertainment and inspiration when they are bored, so Instagram challenges, to help people interact and connect, and celebrities spreading awareness are trying to help the situation.

“Most people aren’t taking social distancing well, which is understandable. It’s hard to not feel lonely at times like this,” freshman Madison Cauley said. “I think the best part about social media is getting to see what other people create and being able to interact with people you may not have been able to interact with otherwise.”