I hate social media. I spend roughly five or so hours on various platforms almost every day, but I hate social media.
According to a study done by CTRL Care Behavioral Health, 90% of teenagers use at least one form of social media. Influencers and social media stars have created a romanticized life that teenagers, like myself, are taught to believe is realistic and attainable.
But in reality, social media has created a game of “whose life looks more fun.” It has become a way for us to constantly compare ourselves to other people. We, as social media users, are used to seeing carefully curated highlight reels of other people’s lives, which can make you feel like your life is not “measuring up” to others.
As someone who has grown up with social media, I can’t say all social media is bad, and if used correctly, it can be a way to connect with others and express yourself. However, the decrease in mental health that social media has caused in numerous teenagers is not comparable to the good social media can give.
According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, “Social media can be linked to adverse effects, including depression and anxiety, inadequate sleep, low self-esteem, poor body image, eating disorder behaviors and online harassment.”
In young teenage girls especially, body issues and low self-esteem come heavily with social media. Seeing women who have paid a large amount of money to shape their bodies into unrealistic figures can cause young girls to think that they need to look like that to be seen as “beautiful.”
I find myself constantly comparing myself and my body to others on social media because growing up, it is all I have seen. I have been a social media user since middle school, but I only started to notice the toll social media can have on you at the end of high school and the beginning of college.
I find myself scrolling through TikTok or Instagram for hours a day, seeing other people’s lives that I wish to be my own. Living vicariously through others on social media seems much easier than trying to obtain the life that they have.
Young kids have also started to use social media more and more, even at extremely young ages. Annie E. Casey Foundation did a survey that showed that 40% of kids eight to twelve have social media.
Social media has changed the way the world views us, but most importantly, it has immensely changed the way we view ourselves. If there is no change to the effects of social media, then young minds will continue to grow up in a world of comparison and unrealistic standards of life.