In the midst of Facebook’s latest scandal regarding the toxic effects of social media, two students debate the effects social media might have on teens today.
Social Media Negatively Affects Teens
By: Mariel Barnes (9th)
From as early as Myspace, to apps like Snapchat and TikTok, social media has become more and more popular over the years. Whether used for work, information, or pure entertainment, social media is a part of almost everyone’s life. It has set standards and trends for people all over the world, changing society’s mindset. By scrolling through each edited, perfect face and body, people have developed a beauty standard they believe to be the norm, leading to negative effects. When people do not fit this ideal beauty standard, they may be attacked on their social media for not having certain features that society values. This can harm an individual's self-esteem, causing them to obsess over their appearance and feel the need to change. On the other hand, constantly receiving compliments on one’s appearance, as some do on social media, can create an unhealthy mindset where people constantly need validation from others.
Social media has influenced so many people, and many studies have been conducted to understand its effects. For instance, studies have been done in JAMA Psychiatry, showing that young people who spend more than three hours on social media are more inclined to develop many serious mental issues. Doctors, like Dr. Alexandra Hamlet (a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute), have looked into what social media can do to one's self-image. She says in an article on Childmind.org that, “Many girls are bombarded with their friends posting the most perfect pictures of themselves, or they’re following celebrities and influencers who do a lot of Photoshopping and have makeup and hair teams. If that’s their model for what is normal, it can be very hard on their self-confidence.” This proves that the unnatural beauty seen on social media can affect young girls, convincing them that they need to look like what they see in social media to be pretty.
This constant comparison of oneself to others is not healthy, as people hold expectations for themselves that are impossible to meet. In conclusion, social media has many negative consequences, hurting people’s self-esteem and confidence. Everything is okay in moderation, so social media usage should not be cut out completely. However, we need to make sure that we watch how much time we spend on social media, and are aware of the harmful effects it can have on us.
Social Media Positively Affects Teens
By: Liza Lugo (9th)
Social media plays a huge role in almost everyone’s lives. With our phones always in our hands, we are constantly exposed to the world through the lens of what we see online. Of course, social media has its cons, but people tend to forget about its pros and all the benefits that come with it. The advice column in Berkeley’s college greater good science center put it best: “Yes, social media is contributing to a new era of adolescent social stress, but when we accept that it is here to stay, we can also see it as a new opportunity for connection and mindfulness.”
Social media holds such great opportunities, which we sometimes forget amidst all the harsh attacks on it. For instance, apps like Facebook and Instagram can be a great way to connect with friends and family. Posting pictures with cute little captions allows people to get a glimpse into your life, leading to stronger bonds between those who might not talk every day. Another good aspect of social media is how it can unite people who feel alone. There are numerous relatable accounts that make people feel more comfortable about themselves because they see others having similar experiences.
Moreover, you can find helpful tips and tricks for life all over social media. From baking advice to cleaning hacks, you can discover so many new ideas you may never even thought about before. Body positive and self-care accounts can really motivate people to focus on their health and happiness. Overall, social media has many overlooked positive aspects to it, and when used correctly, can be a great way to connect, explore, and learn about the world around us.