On January 9, 2007, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a device that would change the world forever: the iPhone. With this new technology, people can connect in ways they never had before. The iPhone’s simple design and powerful internal components made communication much more accessible. However, with the invention of this new device, some adverse effects emerged.

Watch: Steve Jobs announces the first iPhone.

In the years following the phone’s release, social media companies jumped at the opportunity to market their apps. Facebook and Twitter (now X), which had already been running for a few years prior, created their mobile apps. Other apps were launched, too. In 2010, Instagram launched, and in 2011, Snapchat. These apps have made it easy to connect with almost anyone anywhere worldwide – as long as they have the app. But these apps also introduced the world to new problems that primarily affect children and adolescents.

Smartphone addiction is a problem in general. The features are purposely designed to keep users hooked. This triggers the brain to release dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone. This is done through likes, shares, comments, and views. By making their technology addictive, the app can show more targeted ads, which generate revenue for the company.

A specific example is Snapchat, which uses Streaks with friends. If you Snap your friend over a period of consecutive days, you have a Snapstreak of that number. This keeps users returning since most people don’t want to lose their streak.

This graphic shows the percentage of teens with four or more hours of screen time per day by age and gender.

Another troubling aspect of social media issues is that teens have become even more hyper-focused on what others think about them. It had already been a problem, but the apps have made it worse. Now, people anywhere can see what someone posts. So now teens worry constantly that they are being judged by the online world, which leads to severe anxiety. Teens’ ability to see into their peers’ lives is also a cause for concern. This is because most teens only post about the good things that are happening. This gives the impression that everyone else’s lives are better, and this leads to severe depression.

This graphic shows app usage by gender.

There are ways to remedy these solutions, though. The obvious one is to delete the social media apps. However, it is understandable that most people will not want to do this. The next best thing would be to limit usage of these apps. The best way to do this is through Screen Time limits, which block the app after a set time. It can serve as a reminder to take a break from the phone and participate in another activity away from the screen. The limits don’t just have to be for social media. If there is any app that you find you are using constantly throughout the day, you can put a time limit on it.

Social media has many positive effects, like the ability to connect with anyone anywhere. This wouldn’t have been in the picture thirty years ago. But with this new technology comes adverse effects, like addiction. In conclusion, I believe there are ways to enjoy these services’ positives while keeping the negatives at a minimum.

Tanner Brady is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

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