Opinion: Social media opens minds and opportunities

From capture the flag to Instagram, our generation is unique as we are the only one to have been raised with classic childhood games in elementary school and then transitioned to the influence of the Internet in middle and high school.

Like so many others growing up in the social media age, I eagerly took part right away in the new platforms and still continue to do so today. With social media, access to information and the ability to connect with people around the world has never been easier. On the other hand, no one knows what, if any, long term effects exist.

Using technology, you can talk to people anywhere in the world at any time with only a few clicks. This is crucial for networking or even just making friends. Many people use the Internet for support groups, or to find people who have things in common.

Another main advantage is how easily information and news spreads. Social media platforms, like Twitter or Instagram, are almost always the quickest way to hear about current events, since everything occurs in real time. This becomes helpful for events that are time sensitive that need constant updates, such as the recent fires or active shooters.

Social media facilitates change. Recent events like the Parkland shooting movement have in part become so well-known and viral because of the Internet. With social media, people are exposed to diversity and important political events that weren’t as widespread before the age of the Internet.

Gen Z and millenials are widely regarded as the most open-minded and diverse generations to date. This is something I believe to be a result of social media and the everyday exposure it provides of every type of person you could possibly find. Because of this, these generations have become the most accepting and willing to break down social stigmas and stereotypes.

The Internet has undoubtedly changed the world for the better. I believe social media will help disarm hatred and the fear of change. By being exposed to those we may not see every day, we are inadvertently becoming world citizens and embracing those different than us.