Is Social Media Affecting the Lives of Young Teens?

What is social media? Social media are sites such as Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, where people create online accounts to communicate with others through videos, pictures or personal messages. Although social media is beneficial when it comes to connecting to family and friends and communication with others, it has made a negligent effect on the well-being of young teens.

As more and more teens continue to be on social media, it increases addiction. The addition of social media is often compared to an alcohol or smoking addiction, or worse. Teenagers worry too much about being “popular” with followers and like getting them worked up and more anxious. Since most teens have a phone, it is more common for them to have social media. In 2017, a Pew survey found that ninety-four to ninety percent of teens that have a phone go on social media daily. Often, they don’t realize how much they are on the sites!

Being a teen is already tough as it is, so when teenagers, especially girls, are bombarded with pictures of “perfect” or “flawless” women and men, it makes them feel self-conscious. Americans spend an average of two hours every day on social media where teens are exposed to unrealistic ideas of beauty. This has led to eating disorders and unhealthy living. People that want to share their story of dealing with anorexia or other body issues in the past often post it on sites such as Instagram. This isn’t very good as it gives some teens a new way to get attention by being severely unhealthy.

Researchers and scientists have begun establishing links of depression to social media. According to Google, depression is “a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life”. Teenagers usually allow people from school to follow them on social media. The people that follow them can comment on posts saying both kinds or mean things. Those who say mean things are called cyberbullies and call others ugly, fat, and other rude names. This can cause signs of low self-esteem creating additional symptoms of depression. Some teens are very sensitive and don’t know how to deal with bullies making them harm themselves.

While social media is a good way to keep in touch and communicating with friends and family, it causes communication issues with others. Teens always have their phones in front of their faces and never put it down. Instead of having face-to-face conversations, they will text or call. With so many teens checking statuses on social media, they forget to interact with those right in front of them. For this reason, dating relationships and friendships suffer.

Overall, social media’s influence in the daily lives of teenagers has affected their way of living, in a poor manner. Social media shows teens images of an unhealthy lifestyle and allows them to think it is okay. Social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram, allow others to comment on photos allowing teens to cyberbully one another. This creates problems with mental health creating disorders like depression. Social media also affects the way teenagers speak to others making them seem rude because of not having polite manners. Due to these reasons, social media has affected the lives of young teens.