As we know, language can be used to inform others, both in a positive or negative manner about a multitude of subjects on many different platforms. Social media platforms are both a blessing and a curse, in my opinion. They can be used positively, to educate and inform others, but they can also be used negatively, by bringing people down as well as giving false information to the public. The media can have both positive and negative effects on an individual in terms of their mental health, opinions, and how they receive information. The media can also influence our perspectives and views on certain subjects, which I believe is most prevalent within the news media.

Since we are in the middle of a pandemic, election, change of president, and civil unrest and uproar, politics seem to be all the news is talking about. Most news platforms are very informative, but some have a sort of bias to them based on their political view or religious beliefs. Though some news channels try to not show their stance, others are very vocal about what they believe in. With unbiased news stations, the information is received in a reliable manner, leaving viewers satisfied knowing that the information they just learned is in fact true. Examples of unbiased news sources include PBS, Wall Street Journal, CBS, Daily Mail, as well as others (Pryor). On the other hand, biased news stations may give false or misleading information to their viewers, in an attempt to sway people one way or the other. Examples of biased news sources include ABC, CNN, Fox News, New York Times, and many others (Pryor). Unbiased news sources are the most accurate when it comes to political topics, for example, because words of a political figure are not twisted to make them look better or worse. In regards to things other than politics, unbiased new sources can also be beneficial when learning more about COVID-19, for example. Younger teens and adults are more likely to receive their information from social media platforms, such as Instagram, whereas older individuals tend to watch or listen to the news or read the newspaper. Both of these have room for error though. Many social media accounts, though informative, are not always factually accurate, and usually have a bias associated with each post. News sources also contain a bias, but they are also more factually correct (Beusekom). 

Media as a whole has forever changed the way we communicate and will continue to communicate with others. We as a society have shifted from talking on the phone or in person to constantly texting others and having very little to no human interaction whatsoever other than on social media platforms (Edwards).  Though this is okay during the pandemic and having to stay home as much as possible, many people that have developed these bad habits will continue to live as if COVID-19 still existed once it is over. Social media has caused many individuals to develop something called FOMO, or fear of missing out. Though this may not seem like a huge issue to some, it can trigger anxiety in others and put them in a panic. Depression and anxiety are very often linked to the amount of social media usage and are a more talked about topic on social media platforms. Those who have these mental health illnesses can relate with others and have an outlet online which may not have been possible before in their normal lives (Robinson). 

Any form of media is detrimental to a number of things, a few of those being the way we receive information as well as our own mental health and wellbeing. Social media and technology are especially important during this time of COVID-19 to talk to friends and loved ones we are not able to see. One thing that all individuals should be cautious of no matter the circumstances is the amount of media you incorporate into your daily lives and its effects on you both positively and negatively. The media, if used correctly, can be a positive, very informative and safe outlet and tool for many people that can be used for years to come. 

Works Cited 

Beusekom, Mary Van | News Writer | CIDRAP News | Oct 14, 2020. “Trust in COVID Info 

Sources Varies by Demographics, Beliefs.” CIDRAP, 14 October 2020, 

www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/10/trust-covid-info-sources-varies-demogra

phics-beliefs.

Edwards, Mandy. “How Social Media Has Changed How We Communicate.” Future Of Work

17 March 2015, fowmedia.com/social-media-changed-communicate/.

Pryor, J.J. “Who Is the Least Biased News Source? Simplifying the News Bias Chart.” Medium

Towards Data Science, 11 January 2021, 

towardsdatascience.com/how-statistically-biased-is-our-news-f28f0fab3cb3.

Robinson, Lawrence. “Social Media and Mental Health.” HelpGuide.org

www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm.

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February 15, 2021 6:07 pm

Amanda,

I like how you touched on how we need to try our best to avoid only reaching out and talking to people over social media once the pandemic is over. Misleading information is very common nowadays and once an individual views that site they believe everything it said is true, which can be bad. I agree it’s important to really rationalize the amount of media we put into our lives daily because it consumes the majority of our lives.

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