Social Media & Its Effect on Teenagers

January 20, 2021

Social media is arguably one of the biggest time consumers in teenagers’ daily lives. A 2018 Pew Research Center Study found about 750 thirteen to seventeen-year-olds showed that about 45% are continuously online and 97% use any type of social media platform (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat). As this was almost three years ago, we can assume that as social media and technology advanced, so did teen’s dedication to their phones.

There are many positive qualities to social media, however, just like many other things, there’s a lot of baggage that comes along with it. One of the biggest concerns is self-esteem issues. For instance, you’re scrolling through Instagram and see a model. You compare this model’s features to your own and determine that you are “unworthy” because your attributes don’t align perfectly. Scenarios like this happen daily and lead to a decrease in self-worth. To add to this, things like eating disorders and other issues can develop without teens realizing it. People don’t always register that things on social media aren’t always genuine. Many things people view on social media are edited or aren’t real at all. Additionally, influencers post their best self; you don’t know what goes on behind the screen. Many influencers aren’t as perfect as they portray on social media. Social media nowadays presents an idealistic rather than a realistic perception of life which is very unhealthy for some people.

Another big issue is how addicting social media can be. A quick “catch up” with a friend can easily turn into hours of scrolling. It becomes a new reality, however a very fraudulent one. It takes over your life. You start forgetting to do things and become more distant from friends and family because you’re so attached to your phone. You may also forget to do other important things like sleeping or eating. Instead of interacting with the real world, you always have a phone within reach. It can be overwhelming for teenagers to live their life while maintaining their online presence.

Teens usually find it easier to make degrading comments behind screens rather than to people’s faces. Many don’t realize the effects of rude remarks until they are on the receiving end. Cyberbullying can create significant emotional damage like depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and more. What makes it worse is that you can’t control what you view or what others post on social media.

In my opinion, the negative effects of social media outweigh the positive aspects by far. People are becoming more aware of the significant downsides of using social media and are hopefully becoming more responsible in its use.

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