Students speak out about the dangers of social media

By Jessica Babb | Broadcast Managing Editor

Social Media is something many college students can’t seem to live without. Beyond the likes and notifications many students seek, the dangers of it are often hidden.

“It just kind of contributed to this feeling of worthlessness,” said Houston senior Rachel Craft.

This is why Craft decided to open up and share her personal struggles on social media. She posted online writing “Instagram consistently reminds me that other people have it better because we post the happy moments and the good days. But what about the deep-dark-shame-moments and the overslept-running-late-can’t-do-anything-right days? What do we post then? Nothing.”

Craft said the point of the post was to address the idea that everyone struggles, but often hides it on social media. According to Craft, this was something she, herself, had fallen victim to.

“I want other people to think I have it all together and I want to keep up the illusion that my life is this great fun thing and that things just go smoothly all the time and that I don’t have issues,” Craft said.

And Craft isn’t the only person who feels this way. Based on findings from a Baylor study on cellphone activity, college students use their cell phones for about eight to 10 hours a day on average, and a large part of that time is on social networking sites.

Former Vanderbilt student Larissa May experienced this problem first hand during her time in college. To combat the stigmas on social media, she created the movement called #HalftheStory, where people can openly talk about the part of their lives that doesn’t usually make it on social media.

“Because the reality is, we actually have so much more in common with the people around us, and the people we are friends with than we actually know,” May said.

Even Baylor students have commonalities with one another. Of the people who went to the counseling center during the 2016-17 school year, 25 percent of students were dealing with depression, 20 percent were dealing with some form of anxiety, and 14 percent were dealing with relationship problems, according to Jim Marsh, the executive director for counseling services at Baylor.

For Craft, her half of the story is that for the past few years she has suffered from depression, anxiety and a bipolar II disorder.

“That’s meant failing classes, taking incompletes, taking semesters off, doing a lot of therapy, taking a lot of different medications, trying to figure out what to do and how to take care of myself,” Craft said.

Craft encourages others to open up and talk about their half of the story and to remember that social media doesn’t always reflect the truth.

“As hard as it is, reach out to someone,” Craft said. “Staying silent is easier but it is definitely more detrimental.”