Face Off: Does social media bring people closer together?

Joanne MaIris Lee

Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint. This week …

Joanne MaIris Lee |

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Iris Lee, 16, Hong Kong International School

Social media platforms have a bad rep for being a place where bullying and fake news occurs. But, although these things seem to thrive online, they existed long before the arrival of sites like Facebook. Getting rid of social media won’t solve these problems. It would just deprive us of all the benefits they can bring.

One of the many good points of social media is that it brings people together. No matter where in the world someone goes, they are able to stay in contact with their friends. Real-life interaction will always be better, but sometimes you have no other choice if you want to stay in touch with someone – like, for example, if your best friend moves overseas.

Social media also strengthens professional connections, and helps the spread of knowledge. News outlets use social media platforms all the time to relay information from all around the world. Charities and NGOs use social media regularly to raise awareness of certain issues, and to encourage more people to support their cause.

We need to see social media as a means to bring people together and use it for that purpose, not as a way of tearing them apart.

How social media is harmful to teenagers and how young Hongkongers cope with it 

Joshua Cheng, 17, HKUGA College

No, I think it does the opposite – it pushes people further apart. Social media keeps people glued to their phones and laptops, and stops them from having real contact with others.

People have become so occupied with scrolling through their Instagram feed, or taking the perfect selfie to post on Snapchat, that they don’t notice what’s happening around them.

Sure, it allows us to connect with people from all corners of the world, but what use is that if we can’t even give the person sitting across from us at lunch our full attention? Although social media allows us to talk to our friends at any time of the day with the click of a button, our online conversations lack quality and are less genuine. There’s only so much you can communicate  through pictures and emojis.

It’s better to meet people and interact with them face-to-face. You can watch them smile and hear them laugh. Plus, real hugs are so much better than the virtual variety.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne