Social Media, So Overrated.

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Social Media, So Overrated.

Carly Stenger, Author

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      As teenagers, we use social media all the time. Has posting online become an obsession? It absolutely has, and it is quite frightening. 

     The average age that kids start engaging in social media is eleven years young. Someone who is eleven years old is a child, not a teenager, and not an adult. Think about the content posted on social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat on a day-to-day basis. For young girls especially, social media can be an unsafe and upsetting environment. As little girls, we grew up playing with skinny, blonde hair and blue-eyed Barbie dolls smothered in layers of makeup; perfect cheekbones and straight, white, teeth. As young kids, we lived in the real world. We spent our time socializing face-to-face with other individuals. We knew that literally no one looked like a Barbie doll. Therefore, we didn’t expect ourselves to look like a Barbie doll either. What happens now, when children are living in a fantasy, technology driven world? They log into Instagram to see a boat load of female models, whom in reality, have just been “done-up” by a team of cosmetic professionals, have utilized Photoshop to erase their imperfections, and have applied at least five filters to their photos. Young girls analyze these posts and think, “Why can’t I look like that?” Though their self-esteem dramatically decreases, they click the follow button on these models’ profiles because they’re pretty. Though, these little girls are surely beautiful themselves, they don’t feel beautiful because their expectations have been altered to an unrealistic high. As teenagers, we know this feeling all too well. Now children are experiencing these issues too. 

        Naturally, this creates a drive within children and teenagers to achieve perfection; a startlingly unrealistic and unhealthy goal. Girls will refrain from posting an image online due to a minor imperfection. Not just this, but teenagers will get dolled up with nowhere to go, just so they can post a selfie online. Or, when they do go out, they make sure to post a bunch of pictures to show how much fun they’re having and how good they look. This leads to missing out on meaningful conversations and events. 

      This leads us into another aspect of the social media obsession…picture taking. Instead of enjoying the “here and now” of life, young adults are too caught up in finding a good background for photos, editing photos, and finding the perfect angle for photos. All to post online, of course. Many would argue that social media is a great tool for adolescents to explore, as it keeps them in touch with friends and can be a lot of fun. I am certainly not arguing this stance, as it is true. I myself enjoy social media and think it is a lot of fun, if and only if it is used in a healthy manner. 

         Overall, there needs to be less pressure put upon adolescents regarding social media. By this I mean less judgement over one’s physical appearance. Instead of teaching our daughters, sisters, friends, etc. to be “pretty” let’s teach them to be pretty kind, pretty compassionate, pretty smart, and pretty happy human beings. As mentors, let’s teach them to live in the moment and encourage a reduced amount of screen time. To my fellow teenagers, take a break from the media and go spend time with those you love, in sweatpants, with your hair a mess, because appearance is really not as important as social media would make it seem.