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Social media has repercussions on teenagers

Although these freshman are in the same room, they are in their own worlds on their phones. Teenagers lack social interaction skills as they spend excessive amounts of time on social media.

Although these freshman are in the same room, they are in their own worlds on their phones. Teenagers lack social interaction skills as they spend excessive amounts of time on social media.

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On average, students at Patterson Mill High School spend four or more hours daily on social media. While social media is good way to communicate, it can also be stressful and addicting.

Social apps such as Instagram and Snapchat allow their users to post pictures and opinions. Posts about good grades, vacations, and even everyday images can cause jealousy or depression. These feelings can be caused through constantly being on social platforms. Staying updated on others’ lives allows comparison where users view their friends “perfect” images and updates. It was found, while completing a poll at Patterson Mill, that out of 200 students, 92% have Snapchat and 90% have Instagram. Out of these students, only 33% said they would be able to quit. Those who said they would not be able to do this shared that they were spending seven or more hours on social media. Out of these students, 45% said that they feel lonely after viewing posts. Teenagers become addicted to posting about their accomplishments and staying up to date on their friends’ posts that they constantly view social media, so they don’t miss anything. Teenagers become vulnerable as they believe these apps are an important factor in their social status. When a user does not get as many compliments as they would like, or as many virtual friends as they think they need, they may believe it is because they are not good enough because they don’t meet others’ standards.

Noah Harley, a freshman at Patterson Mill, states that by not having social media, “[he has] benefited because [he doesn’t] have to stress over being the best, and [he doesn’t] have to worry about bullying or mean comments.” He also shares that although it is hard to stay updated on his friends’ lives, it is easier for him to accomplish school work without having to feel the need to check his phone. Teenagers are known as having a hard time feeling secure and as Noah relates, “It can be hard coming to school after drama on social media. I wish people would know that they are different for a reason and that others’ gratification shouldn’t be needed to feel good about yourself.”

Having little interaction with social media results in less stress over maintaining streaks, receiving likes, and pleasing others. Mrs. Limpert, the health teacher at Patterson Mill, shares a similar idea, “[Teenagers today receive] their self-worth from others’ validation. The need to get ‘likes’ has a huge emphasis on each person’s self-esteem.” Those who struggle with confidence might scroll through their feed and see the difference between themselves and the perfect image or status posted. Many users choose to post only that which is considered “magazine-worthy,” instead of posting their everyday, average, not-so-perfect moments. Because their peers only see these types of posts, they can feel self-pity and depression over not being good enough. They can feel stress over the desire to be accepted and validated by others.

Students who decide to spend less time on social media would find it easier to have fun and love themselves. Mrs. Limpert relays that she believes that if Instagram and Snapchat were to have time limits, teenagers would get more work done and would be able to enjoy their life even more. She also believes that it would be even better if “Teenagers could set their own time limits.” The ability to say no to the habit of needing social media would help students to focus more and take care of themselves by being more self-disciplined. This would also help with face-to-face interaction; being behind a screen can cause some to feel more confident to share their opinions. This decreases teenagers’ comfort ability to share their beliefs anywhere else. This also explains why our generation is finding it harder to connect outside of their phones. Although feeling free enough to express your views is important, it is also binding as it becomes a habit to constantly share your thoughts.

Abigail Wagner
Meghan Culbertson, a freshman, demonstrates what some people may look like after drama on social media. Social media is straining and addicting to teenagers, as they must check it frequently to stay updated.

Social media not only causes depression, stress, and anxiety, but it also can influence decision making. It enhances peer pressure and causes teens to change their style or act a certain way. Doing any of these things can be due to the desire to please others or to stand out by being trendy. Seeing posts from friends can encourage their followers to buy new clothes or to wear more makeup to fit in. Friends’ posts that include crudity or drug use normalize these activities, which in turn increases participation by their peers. Criss Jami, an American poet, states, “Most people want so desperately to be an individual, yet are so easily shaped by the media.” Changing interests, appearance, and values for acceptance by others is unfair. Cutting time on social media would improve self-worth and individuality but also the ability to accept everyone’s uniqueness.

Debates and speeches are constantly occurring on social media leading to teens choosing a side. Mrs. Limpert shares, “Your generation is very active regarding fighting for what you believe in.” Because everyone has an opinion and it’s easier to post on social media in comparison to speaking, many teenagers become rude and disrespectful. The need for being correct makes it compelling to dispute others. Taking offense to such posts shows immaturity and a closed mind. Being able to see how others see the conflict is important as it allows for a greater understanding on how others think. On social media, this is useful as peers start to understand their friends more, relating on a better level. Being able to debate either side of a problem on social media can be significant as it lessens drama and strengthens relationships.

Social media is rampant among high schoolers, because, as stated previously, they want to constantly stay updated on their peers’ lives and they do not want to feel like they are missing out. Even though 33% of the 200 high school students polled claim that social media causes them to feel lonely, the majority would not give up their apps. Teenagers would benefit from more face-to-face interaction, being open minded about others’ differences, and realizing that social media posts do not usually portray average, everyday moments

 

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