What are the Affects of the Internet on Our Social Skills and Brains?

Yesenia Vazquez, Staff Reporter

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The internet was first invented in 1983. However, according to History.com, the internet didn’t take off until after Tim-Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web in 1990. The internet has been one of the biggest advancements in human history, utilized by many, and evolving this very second. The internet has grown so much that it is now a part of most of our daily lives in the form of social media. Major platforms have been introduced to us in recent years such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The access that we have to these platforms and to the internet let’s it consume most of our time. It hasn’t been until recently that people started wondering if the internet takes up too much of our time, possibly making us lonely. There is even an internet addiction disorder, also  known as Problematic Internet Use (PIU). According to addictionrecov.org, internet addiction is “an impulsive control disorder,” that some users may develop and emotional attachment, possibly due to online friends or things they can do. Some symptoms of this disorder include anticipation of the next time you’ll be able to use the internet, feelings of moodiness, irritability, or depression when trying to cut back on internet use, and using the internet as a means to avoid their life problems.

Some of us use the internet and the social media platforms that come with it everyday, sometimes the whole day when there isn’t anything to do. However does this make us lonely? When asking Ms. Morales, one of Millennium Brooklyn High School’s (MBHS) sociology teacher, she expressed that she believed that the internet and social media platforms allow  people “to seclude themselves from others and do solitary things.” However she also explained that social media can also be great because “individuals [can] meet new people and therefore become more social beings.”  When asking faculty member Ms. Syetta, who teaches AP Psychology, Psychology, and government and economics, she had a similar perspective. She explained that social media  “can also give people access to causes and events that they are interested [in] and help to expand their social life in that manner.” She also pointed out that it could have negative effects, explaining that it “can put a lot of peer pressure on individuals to conform,” such as doing trendy things they might not first be comfortable with.

Jackeline Rubio is a very social Senior at MBHS. When asking her how social media has had an effects on her social life, she explained that social media allows her to “show the world some of my hobbies rather than telling people.” She finds it as a means of expression, a way of getting to know a different side of her that you other wise wouldn’t know of. However, a student who asked to remain anonymous explained that social media can be used as a means of isolation, something people usually turn to when conversations are dying out. They also expressed frustration with social media “ when [they] find [themselves] eating lunch with some of [their] friends they tend to find an escape within social media when the conversation seems to die out. They kind of awkwardly remove themselves instead of continuing the convo.”

All in all, having so much access to the internet and social media can be good and bad. It’s good for people as they are able to connect with friends and family. However, I do believe that the internet does affect our social abilities, depending on the person. I know some people who can socialize on social media and in person easily. But there are also other people who are unable to do that. I personally feel that social media can strain our social  skills because you’re always behind a screen. Therefore, you feel free to do or say anything that you might not say in person. Or it can make socializing in person 10 times awkward than it originally would be. Social media and the internet will grow to be a bigger part of our lives, we just have to wait and see how much it will affect our social lives.

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What are the Affects of the Internet on Our Social Skills and Brains?