How Social Media Impacts our Students
By Keziah Arellano
The Balance Small Business
*Warning: mentions of suicide and body issues.*
Teenagers are fierce, yet fragile. Social media has made them stronger, yet weaker. Social media has always been a controversial conversation to sit through, and for good reason. The pros that come with social media don't come alone, they come paired with cons. Social media can be a place one can post, a place anyone can post. Certain posts can create a false image of what a person is supposed to look like, creating an appearance issue. Cyber bullying has been a growing issue and has a huge affect on insecure teenagers. These examples are just two of many things social media contributes to.
Teens are going through puberty, meaning their emotions make more of an appearance than they normally would. Something as minor as simply scrolling on a social media app, such as Instagram, and seeing a model can tend to break a teenager’s confidence. Teenage girls tend to have higher expectations for themselves. Most of the time this expectation is for their bodies to be a perfect hourglass shape. Some have serious disagreements with themselves on how their body doesn’t look right. These models can be a constant reminder to these beautiful girls that they don’t like themselves. Teenage boys are also put on a spectrum of how “masculine” they have to be. Bodybuilders and male actors can have a negative effect on these boys who are still growing. On social media, ‘men’ are praised for being tall, “preferably over six feet”. Most teenage boys stay short until highschool, these expectations can damage their thought process about themselves and negatively affect their views on how they must be and act. These expectations can lead teenagers into a time of depression and hatefulness. After a while, their views on themselves can potentially get worse and worse, to the point of them hating themselves. Some decide they can’t handle it and make a decision that could potentially hurt them.
Cyber bullying has been around since social media has been around. People tend to find it easier to bully someone when they’re behind a screen. At school, you can get in major trouble, but what’s stopping them at home? Nothing. Teenagers have the ability to create new accounts or new tags, that are anonymous, with the goal of hurting someone. Around 37% of teens get cyberbullied. It’s a new and efficient way of making fun of someone’s insecurities. These kids don’t tend to think of the consequences their actions online can cause. Constant comments, texts, pictures that make fun of a fellow peer, that everyone can see can be mentally scarring. The embarrassment can get overbearing. Bad things can and will happen.
Teenagers are humans with just a bit more pain in their lives. They are being taught and learning on how they’re supposed to look like and act like online. Their peers mindset becomes more important than what they think of themselves. Things change once social media comes into the picture. It isn’t necessarily bad, it simply makes it easier for these teens’ confidence levels to go down even if all of them are truly beautiful.
Suicide prevention line: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide prevention options for hearing impared: 1-800-799-4889