Connect with us

College Voices

College Students and Social Media – The Why and How Much is Too Much?

College students are using social media these days for advocacy. But what is the impact of social media on their day-to-day lives? Find out here.

Avatar photo



BLM pix alongside George Floyd and unfollow requests on social media

Past generations could only dream about the ease of online connectivity and information accessibility that we have today. And now, for techie college students like ourselves, the internet is ours for the taking.

With the widespread use of platforms from Reddit to Pinterest, you can’t eat a meal or do your homework without thinking about the connection or purpose social media gives users like you.

When 98% of adults ages 18 to 24 use social media, it is worth understanding the benefits of every tweet, post, and 15-second video.

When used correctly, social media has educational, therapeutic, and even advocative effects for college students. It’s true — that tiny smartphone in your palms can unlock a catalog of abilities that experts are still discovering.

Do we know the true extent of social media usage in our day-to-day lives, or are we just wasting time on a fake, online world? Read on to discover the why, how, and how much of an online connection; they may surprise you.

Why Do College Students Use Social Media?

A person on social media on their phone and computer set on a desk

Related: How To Educate Ourselves On Black Lives Matter 

As young adults into the hottest new trends, we don’t think about why college students use social media; we just use it. We pick up a smartphone or open a new tab to indulge in internet connectivity, but there is more to it than that.

A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that 76% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Instagram, 75% of the same age range use Snapchat, and 55% use TikTok.

In contrast, older generations are more likely to use YouTube and Facebook. The same study found that 48% of 30- to 49-year-olds use Instagram, 24% of the same age range use Snapchat, and only 22% use TikTok. 

So, what are college students using Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok for, and why is our usage in these apps different from that of older generations?

According to a 2019 study from Marketing Charts, 33% of Generation Z participants recorded using social media to share pictures and updates, 30% of the same age range used social media to chat and hang out with friends, and 26% used social media to get inspired.

Following these top three reasons were 24% of Gen Z participants using social media to get news conveniently, 23% to get advice and how-to information, and 23% to follow celebrities.

The most popular social media usage among other generations was also to share pictures and updates, with 44% of millennials and 50% of Generation X participants saying it was one of the reasons they use social media.

However, Gen Z participants generally used social media for more reasons than other generations. For example, while 16% of Gen Z contributors said they used social media to influence, only 13% of millennials and 7% of Gen X contributors could say the same.

Gen Z respondents reported using social media more in every measured area of usage, except for sharing pictures and updates, getting news conveniently, expanding a professional network, getting news for dislike of mainstream media, and trolling/commenting.

What Are the Advantages of Using Social Media for Students?

A girl of color looking at her phone

Even when cautious parents warn against the brain-melting evil of technology, we college students know there is power with friends and facts at the touch of a virtual button. Besides; what can’t the Internet do?

Although excessive phone use and internet addiction can make social media more of a hindrance than a help, there are several advantages of using social media for students.

One of the most obvious aids is the connection to classmates and teachers. That tricky problem on integrals or that tough question about standard deviation can easily be resolved with a DM to a group member or a quick email to your professor. 

Even if classmates can’t help, social media sites grant easier access to information, whether that be through an online forum, a post in a Facebook group, or a message to your aunt.

More than just stay in contact with friends and family, social media can help you network with experts and future job employers. Sites like LinkedIn and MyOpportunity can give students the employment opportunities and business connections they need to get ahead in the workplace. 

According to the LinkedIn Pressroom, the site has 756 million members in 200 countries/regions around the world. With three people hired every minute on LinkedIn, you can’t go wrong with using the platform in your job search.

Increasing your skills and knowledge is another benefit of replacing paper textbooks with online resources. Nowadays, learning is as easy as following a painter’s Instagram account or liking a Facebook group with daily bird facts. 

Another advantage of social media is the increase in literacy skills like reading and writing. And the best part is we don’t even know they are improving, since browsing the internet seems more of a delight than a burden.  

A stack of newspapers can seem overwhelming to look through, but platforms like Facebook and Twitter casually suggest news articles for you to read that you didn’t know you wanted to.

After all the pragmatic uses comes an obvious one: using social media for friendship. After a frustrating day or monotonous weekend, a quick virtual chat with a friend may be just what you need to be sane in the pandemic. 

How Many Hours Do College Students Spend on Social Media?

A girl sitting on a bed with a phone and laptop on her lap

Related: How To Support The Black Lives Matter Movement In The Long Run

I guarantee you’ve wasted an afternoon on your phone or watched YouTube until midnight. Not even the occasional “Digital Wellbeing” TikTok could steal your interest from memes and satisfying hydraulic press squeezes.

We easily lose track of the time we spend online, especially when scrolling, swiping, and double-tapping take less effort than sitting up.

According to an aforementioned study by the Pew Research Center, 71% of 18- to 29-year-old Snapchat users reported using the app daily, with 60% using it multiple times a day. Similarly, 73% of 18- to 29-year-old Instagram users access the app daily, with 53% using it several times a day.

So, we love using the same apps consistently every day, rather than taking a break from our beloved streaks. But how does this contribute to overall usage, and how many hours do college students really spend on social media?

Digital Information World reported that in 2018, the average 16- to 64-year-old spent two hours and 22 minutes a day on social media.

However, the average 16- to 24-year-old spent three hours and one minute every day on social media, exceeding the combined average by 39 minutes.

This surpassed the usage of other generations, with 25- to 34-year-olds spending two hours and 37 minutes, while 35- to 44-year-olds spent two hours and four minutes a day on social media. 

So, while older age ranges are spending less time on social media, like the range of 55 to 64 spend one hour and 13 minutes, the range of 16 to 24 is spending more than three hours on social media.

Though hard to comprehend, if you are 16 to 24 and you use social media for fewer than three hours a day, you use it less frequently than the average.

Using Social Media for Digital Activism

Black Lives Matter

Related: Best Remote Jobs For College Students – The Ultimate 2021 Guide 

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and murders of Black individuals have sparked a new outcry on social media. College students and young people alike have been using their platforms to amplify BIPOC voices and educate their followers.

Social media has typically been a space where users can promote their own lives, lifestyles, and looks. However, recent months have proven to be politically fueled and tense, leading many users to utilize their social platforms to speak out about current issues.

The BLM movement in particular has seen extreme promotion and discussion on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. College students have been posting memes and graphics about points of controversy, as well as informational posts, in an effort to educate their followers.

College student and Instagram user Maggie has also been using social media to persist in promoting BLM. She remarked about how seeing others coming together to use their platforms for this movement inspired her to “focus less on the superficial, and more on issues that actually matter.”

Being a typical college student, Maggie admitted that she mostly uses her Instagram platform to post pictures of herself and her friends.

“I’ve never seen or used Instagram as a political space or a space for activism before, and to be honest have always just focused on how many likes or views I get on my pictures,” Maggie said.

In contrast, the prominence of BLM posts and resources on Instagram has shown Maggie that she does have a platform and a voice that can be used to advocate for the issues that matter. “Now, I see my platform as a privilege and something I can use to uplift others. I now know that social media must be used for something bigger,” Maggie said.

On the other hand, another college student and Instagram user, Jack, pointed out some negatives about people using Instagram as a means to promote BLM. Jack talked about how some people have allowed themselves to become “passive” in the movement by simply reposting resources and BLM graphics while not actually actively getting involved.

In other words, a precedent has been set by the influx of BLM content on social media. Many users may believe that simply reposting sources and screenshotting graphics for Instagram stories is enough to enact change and show support. In reality, spreading these resources is only the beginning of educating users about BLM and white privilege. 

Jack explained, “while it’s helpful for people to post what they see about BLM, it makes them think that just posting something is enough of a contribution. People need to educate themselves while also showing up for protests, having conversations with their families and friends, and donating to BLM organizations.”

Social media has been a helpful tool for activism in recent months, but posts and Instagram stories are only the tip of the iceberg representing all that needs to be done to heal and uplift the Black community.

Similarly, college student, Tom, shared his feeling that some people have been able to hide behind social media as a way to assert that they are not racist. He said, “People have seen how much traction the BLM movement has gained on social media, all of their friends are posting, and they’re scared that if they don’t participate that they will be seen as racist.”

According to Tom, the current activist-driven space on Instagram is a way for people who don’t care about the movement to passively post just to “stay woke” or show that they “care.” Tom wants people to know that simply posting on social media isn’t enough to show that you care. BLM is a matter of supporting human rights, not “taking a political stance.”

The constant posts on social media have unfortunately caused people to confuse the difference between these two ideas. While posting is somewhat helpful, Tom believes that the fight for BIPOC rights and racial equality is one that must be won through concerted action.

Both Tom and Jack agree that social media is a great way to promote BLM and educate people on BIPOC struggles, but they also see it as lacking content that may actually cause institutional change.

In reality, the persistence to promote BLM must be seen not only on social media, but also in protests, donations, constructive conversations, and education.

That’s a wrap. This article was all about college students and social media.

Was it useful? Share the love on social media!

Other Posts You Might Like

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

College Voices

5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions in 2022

With 2021 finally over, and many making plans for a better year, these are some easy ways to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.



Fireworks above a city on New Year's.

The year 2021 is finally over, and we have a new year to look forward to! 

If you’re anything like the majority of the world’s population, you’ve made New Year’s resolutions in the past—and broken them within a month.

But you keep making them, because you enjoy the optimism: beginning a new year on the right foot, promising to be a better, more fit and a more skilled version of yourself. 

Here are ways you can stick to your New Year’s Resolutions in 2022

  1. Tell people about your resolution

Usually, we’re told that peer pressure is a bad thing. But in the case of a New Years’ Resolution, it might be just what you need. Positive reinforcement (encouragement and support) from your friends and family can push you to learn the guitar, lose the beer belly, or whatever it is you want to do in this new year.

Disappointment (or the fear of it) can also push you to work harder toward your goal. If the cost of failing on your resolution is a whole bunch of awkward and sad conversations, maybe that’ll keep you on the straight and narrow.

  1. Break it down into manageable chunks

This is something essentially everybody tells you about anything, but it’s true. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—and continues, step by step.

A New Years’ Resolution isn’t accomplished all at once, but rather gradually. Don’t push yourself too hard, and don’t get down on yourself if your goal is still a long way off.

Set realistic markers along the way, and at each one check in with yourself. That way, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment as you go, and you’ll see your progress stack up.

  1. Care for yourself

Treat your New Year’s Resolution as what it is: a gift. When you accomplish it, not only will you get the benefit of whatever your goal is, but you’ll feel more confidence and pride in yourself.

This feeling of accomplishment is full of benefits: it makes you better poised to chase down the next opportunity, better prepared to be a positive influence in the lives of others, and can even make you live longer.

In making a New Years’ Resolution, and caring about yourself, you’re giving the best present you can give yourself, so don’t think of it as correcting something that’s wrong about you, but giving yourself another thing that’s right about you.

  1. Forgive yourself, don’t define yourself 

When a friend who’s made a mistake comes to you for help, do you immediately tell them that they’re worthless, that everybody knows it, and that they should just give up already?

No, but this treatment is something of the norm when it comes to yourself. Unfortunately, many of us treat ourselves this way; we are quick to criticize and slow to forgive.

Strangely enough, this negative self-talk often gives us permission to betray our resolutions. 

If you resolve, in 2022, to cut down on carbs and one night you give in to the urge to order a bunch of pasta on Postmates, don’t beat yourself up for it the next morning.

Accept the mistake and continue working toward your goal the next day. Don’t decide you’re undisciplined, gluttonous, and have failed.

Everyone messes up a few times and forgiveness is the best way to move forward. 

Penne pasta in a pot.
  1. Use your resolution as a chance to explore new horizons 

We all have ideas about who we’d like to be, and we all face the realities of who we are.

While a person who wakes up every morning at 6 a.m. and works out in order to get a clean, fresh start to the day is certainly admirable, that person might not be you. In making resolutions, pick goals that flow organically from who you are.

If you don’t know who you are (because who really does?) then go into a resolution with flexibility. 

If, for example, your resolution is to get fit, don’t force yourself into a box with it. Instead, try different exercises, intensities, and intervals.

Don’t stick yourself in the gym for a 45-minute routine with weights when what you’d really enjoy doing is going to a yoga class or going for a run.

Realize that everybody is different, and rather than changing yourself into somebody new, your resolution can be a way of discovering who you might already be.

Think of it as an exploration. Let things develop, and commit to remaining open and focused.

A list of Woody Guthrie's New Year's Resolutions on a lined notebook.
Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions — a good role model

The year, 2022 will likely be another challenging year. You already know why, so there’s no reason to repeat it here.

But remember that you got through 2021, and if your resolution for 2022 is to just survive it sane, healthy, and maybe a little wiser—that’s totally fine.

It’ll take some doing, but you’re definitely further along than you think you are. 



Continue Reading

College Voices

The Overwhelming Mental Health Impact of Climate Change

Avatar photo




People across the globe are being affected by climate change. Global warming and climate change are having detrimental effects on the Earth such as increased flooding, hotter temperatures, wildfires, and droughts. Wildlife and ecosystems are being destroyed. Sea levels are rising. The list goes on and it can be overwhelming to take in the effects of climate change. This is why mental health is being greatly affected by climate change, particularly in teenagers and college students.

Climate Anxiety

Anxiety related to the global climate and fear of environmental doom is often referred to as eco-anxiety or climate anxiety. This anxiety is a legitimate reaction to a serious problem. A large population of Generation Z is burdened by climate anxiety. This is because they are concerned about their futures considering the state of the Earth and the fatal implications of climate change. 

A contributing factor to climate anxiety is the lack of action currently being taken by political leaders. Many leaders in positions of power are avoiding climate issues rather than solving them. This has prompted members of younger generations to step up and fight for change. Young activists like Greta Thunberg have taken the lead in protesting climate injustices. But watching older generations sit back while climate change is destroying the planet can lead to feelings of frustration and anger, which are common symptoms of climate anxiety.

The mental health effect of climate change

Climate change can be a controversial topic and there is a fair amount of conflict surrounding it. Everyone reacts differently to the topic: many people shut down when climate change is brought up and they avoid the subject altogether. Others are fearful of the effects of climate change and want to help but feel powerless. And some people are eager to take action and do their part in combating climate change. 

Many teenagers and college students have made efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by making lifestyle changes. Going vegan, carpooling, and shopping sustainably are some of the many ways to cut down on carbon emissions. But unfortunately, big corporations are some of the main contributors to climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions––a major contributor to climate change––are the highest they’ve ever been. This leaves young generations as they have difficulty believing that they can make a difference. 

How Climate Change Affects Mental Health

Every continent on the Earth is now affected by climate change. Meaning, climate anxiety is a global issue and can affect anyone, regardless of location, wealth, or privilege.

A polar bear walking.

Many people are mentally affected by climate change because they have been faced with natural disasters, such as wildfires, serious storms, or flooding. While everyone reacts and copes differently, many survivors of these environmental disasters have some sort of lasting psychological trauma. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and grief are some of the many mental health issues that people who have lived through natural disasters struggle with. 

But you don’t need to be directly faced with a natural disaster to feel climate anxiety or despair over the state of the Earth. Just witnessing and learning about climate change is enough to cause mental health issues. There’s a sense of impending doom or existential dread that can wash over you when reflecting on climate change and its effects. 

Why Climate Anxiety is Often Overlooked

Climate anxiety is often overlooked or brushed off. This is because it can be difficult to discuss mental health concerns because there are still stigmas surrounding mental health. Climate anxiety is also typically not taken as seriously as other anxieties or mental health issues. This is because many people do not understand the serious, detrimental impacts of climate change. 

What to do About Climate Anxiety

  1. Talk to friends and family about climate change. 

Listen to their thoughts on the matter and discuss your own thoughts. Talk about the negative impacts and grieve with them. It can be healing and helpful to share your concerns with others.  

  1. Become a part of the solution

It is important to stay informed on environmental topics and to use your knowledge for good. Join a climate justice organization at your school or in your community. Connecting with others who also care about climate change can ease your worries and fears about the Earth’s future. Climate organizations are making a difference in your community and educating others on climate change. 

An oil plant dispersing white smoke into the air.
  1. Join protests. 

If there are protests near you, make a sign and join in. Marching with other people who care about climate injustices is empowering. Protests help spark change by informing others and raising awareness. 

  1. Do what you can to help the environment. 

It is important to do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint, but don’t become overly consumed with it. Eat a more plant-based diet, bike or carpool when you can, and use reusable bags. But try not to worry about how each of your actions will impact the environment. Those who experience climate anxiety often feel guilty about taking part in activities that affect the environment, like driving. Just do what you can and that will be enough.

Continue Reading

College Voices

How Social Unrest America Mirrors Social Unrest Abroad

Avatar photo



A closeup of a man with a mask on next to virus cells.

With all of America’s recent and pressing events, it is easy to inadvertently ignore major happenings abroad. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest are not limited to American soil. 

When the coronavirus began spreading across the globe earlier this year, world leaders reacted to the virus as they saw fit. Fast forward to today, and the virus continues to ravage many parts of the world, increasing the number of total cases to over 50 million people. With the addition of social unrest due to racial injustice, the world seems to have a daunting amount of crises. 

Throughout this difficult time, countries imposed restrictions and limitations on their citizens in order to curb the contagion. In certain places, these limitations persist today. Subsequently, people are growing increasingly impatient as the pandemic remains as present and dangerous as it was in March. Indeed, many experts claim that the feared next wave of the virus is now in effect.

The prevailing threat and restrictions put in place have led citizens in some countries to protest. In Spain, for example, citizens have flooded city streets touting messages such as “Stop the dictatorship” or “Madrid says enough.” Unfortunately, certain rabble-rousers have taken it upon themselves to escalate these protests into less peaceful demonstrations of social unrest.

A man holding his hands in the air while being approached by SWAT officers.

In Madrid, rioters turned unnecessarily violent, setting fires in the city, smashing windows of local shops, and assaulting police officers. These riots do not appear to be the result of spontaneous action but rather a coordinated effort planned through social media.

If the story of peaceful protests being undermined by violent extremists sounds familiar, you may be remembering the various riots that took place in America. The George Floyd protests, unfortunately, broke down into senseless social unrest, resulting in property damage and theft to numerous cities throughout America.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic is not isolated to this country, public assemblies due to racial injustice have also formed globally. As protests advocating for social justice started in American cities, foreign citizens heard the rallying cries. Demonstrations from South America to Europe, to Africa, have echoed the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding justice and equality for all citizens, regardless of skin color. A spokesperson for the Belgian Network for Black Lives, Stephanie Collingwoode-Williams reflected, “people think about how it was relevant where we are.” 

A march for diversity in Washington.

Although American protesters set positive trends to confront one crisis, its leaders have not been as successful in combatting the coronavirus. Out of the roughly 1.27 million deaths suffered worldwide, 239,000 of them were American.

This is by far the largest death toll of any country; in addition, America also holds the record for the most cases, by well over one million. These eye-opening statistics naturally lead to critics pointing to this nation’s shortcomings in dealing with the virus. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, worldwide perceptions of America have been in decline. Recent violent outbursts from police officers, coupled with the mismanagement of the pandemic, have exacerbated this fall.

Continue Reading


College Money



free email series 


      Tips & Resources to make hundreds

                  and save BIG in college