Nowadays, the internet, especially social media, has become the focal point across the globe, particularly amongst teenagers. A staggering 67% of teenagers are said to be spending a considerable amount of their day on TikTok alone, with a whopping 16% stating that they use the app constantly, which is very concerning for our health.

While social media platforms are very useful for connecting family and friends across the globe by providing a seamless exchange of photos and ideas in real time, and also serving educational purposes such as connecting with teachers like we did during the Covid Lockdowns, where apps like Teams or Zoom played a crucial role in delivering lectures and schoolwork, it can also be detrimental to our health, especially our vision.

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According to recent studies, there has been a shocking 15% increase in teenagers who wear glasses from years 2012 to 2018, despite eye test numbers surprisingly remaining the same, evidently due to the blue light we are constantly exposing ourselves to every single day. Neck and back pain are also on the rise from excessive hunching for extended periods of time. Face-to-face interactions are also fading away. People now text one another in the same house. They even do it at the dinner table!

Moreover, with every teenager owning a smartphone where several apps and websites are available around the clock, making it possible to indulge in endless scrolling whenever and wherever, we are being steered away from our daily priorities and even our fundamentals such as sleep. As a result, an alarming number of teenagers are only managing 6-7 hours of sleep despite requiring at least 9 hours of sleep per night, posing potential risks to our growth and health.

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I recently conducted an observation at my school and was shocked to discover that 80% of the students immersed themselves in apps like YouTube Shorts and TikTok throughout all their spare time even when they were sitting in a group; everyone was only interacting with their own device, ignoring any ongoing things around them. I fear this can have a huge impact on our social skills and even outward confidence if not addressed.

In conclusion, just as a knife serves multiple purposes—from crafting beautiful sculptures to preparing meals—it can also be misused for harmful actions. Similarly, social media, while offering connectivity and entertainment as discussed, can negatively impact our well-being when used in the wrong manner. This shows the importance of mindfulness when using social media, emphasizing the fact that, like a knife, it’s not the tool itself that matters but how we use the tool that determines its impact. Therefore, it is crucial that we limit our time on social media so that we can use it for its many benefits rather than succumbing to our own obsession.