Writer – Gianna D. / Editor – Yazmin O.
Social media is a huge part of teen lives with some even spending almost nine hours a day in front of their screens. Teens normally spend up to ⅓ of their day on social media according to the Guardian. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of two hours of screen time a day to keep being as healthy a possible. Social media is very influential to us and can play positive and negative effects.
Social Media plays many negative effects on teens. Cyberbullying is a huge issue and being on social media creates a place for it to happen. The Cyberbullying Research Center says, “About half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and ten to twenty percent experience it regularly.” Cyberbullying can lower an adolescent’s self-esteem and has caused some teens to feel physically ill. Social media can also cause stress and anxiety. According to the Child Mind Institute, some teens may turn their likes and followers into a popularity contest and feel like they need to have the most to be popular even if they don’t realize they’re doing it. Body image can also be affected by social media because of celebrities. While on social media, teens see all of their favorite celebrities looking perfect which can raise their expectation of what they’re supposed to look like. In summary, social media can play a negative role on teens through cyberbullying, stress, and self-esteem.
Even though there are many negative effects of social media, that shouldn’t stop teens from using it, but they should protect themselves from harmful posts. Teens spend so much time on social media that they are losing a lot of sleep. Spending less time on social media gives you more time to sleep and do homework. Also, having a private account can protect you from online predators and cyberbullies. Not to mention, If someone who is already following you starts to post mean comments, blocking them will rid your life of their negativity. Additionally, you should have a trusted adult in your life who you would feel comfortable going to if something was happening to you online. It’s okay to follow celebrities who you aspire, but following positive people who post inspiring messages can help bring up your self-esteem. Social media can turn into a negative space, but if you protect yourself then it can be a safe place.
Even though there are many negative effects of social media some things can be positive. Social media can be used as a way of communication for teens. Many teens have formed study groups through social media and shared information to students who may have been absent. Social media can also help teens stay in touch with past friends through changes in their life such as school switches. It is important for teens to share their talents and social media can be the place to do it. Many celebrities were discovered on social media, so having a place to display their creativity benefits teens in tons of ways. Many people also utilize social media as a way to spread awareness and kindness. Celebrities can post messages about mental health and self-care which can help teens all over the world. Sometimes even teens share positive messages about kindness and that proves that social media can be used in a positive way.
According to PEW Research Center, 72% of teens say they use Instagram and 69% say they use Snapchat. Social media is such a huge part of adolescents’ lives and they use it constantly for various reasons. Ever since social media was invented, there have been many risks that have increased over the years. This just shows that teens have to be more careful with what we do on social media. If they keep themselves safe on social media, it can be a very positive place with inspiring messages. Overall, social media or online access is a part of 94% of our lives and as long as they’re safe and responsible, social media can be a positive place.