The Negatives of Digital Life

Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, it seems like every day there is a new social media platform that gets created. When going out in public, it is hard to find someone that is not on a phone. It is the age of technology and it is hard to escape it. Social media is such a popular platform for teenagers, it is almost an addiction. Posting the perfect picture, getting enough likes, and gaining followers are the daily worries of teens on social media.

Teenagers tend to get lost online and forget what is going on in the world around them. Oftentimes, social media seems like it might be doing more harm than good. It is hard to know what teens are doing online and how everything that occurs is going to affect them. Social media can cause a bad environment for these teens and they might not even notice it. Slowly, it can be creating jealousy, loads of comparison, and taking away their real-life connections.

In order to end social media’s destructive ways on teens’ minds and bodies, parents should limit the time their kids spend online to create a healthier lifestyle for them.

Social media is expanding into many different platforms and teens are starting to rely on it as an everyday part of their lives. Social media was created as a way to interact and stay connected with people online. It has grown tremendously over the past years and is still growing today. Studies have shown that 75 percent of teenagers have one, if not more, active social media account (Pruitt).

These platforms reach many different teens all around the world. It has become a part of their daily lives as an addiction. In fact, half of those users with an active account check it at least once a day, if not many more times (Pruitt). Checking their social media account(s) is just a routine in their day. It is now normal for teens to check it frequently every single day.

Instagram is one of the most popular sites for teenagers to use. Instagram was launched in 2010 and has been growing insanely fast with around one billion users (Jones). Teenagers enjoy sharing their lives with others, getting likes, and gaining followers. It allows them to stay in touch with friends and not miss anything that is going on around them. Teens find themselves getting sucked into Instagram and being on there for hours. On average, teenagers spend nine hours a day online (Pruitt). They tend to lose track of time and get caught up in a fake, online world. When they spend this much time online, it is easy to see pictures and comments that might be perceived as hurtful and painful. It is important to not spend too much time on social media and always remember that it isn’t real life.

The effects of social media on the mental state of a teen can be very damaging, parents should pay attention to how their kid might be feeling. Instagram is a platform for teens to post pictures and see what everyone is up to. Instagram is a good source for old friends to reconnect or for new friends to stay in touch. Through pictures and comments, friends can see what everyone is up to. This can be a good thing, but the effect of having no privacy can be damaging to a young child. Teens usually feel the need to post a picture for every event they go to. Seeing pictures of everything can be a good way to stay updated with new and old friends. Even though it can be good, it has the tendency to create jealousy in teenagers and they start to feel left out. It is important for teens to get an invite to everything. They want to feel like their friends want to spend time with them. Posting pictures of every event can create jealousy by making teens feel like they aren’t important. According to E.J. Mundell, social media can create FOMO in teenagers, which means a fear of missing out. Teens get so worried that they are missing out on important social events that they start to get anxious.

Parents should check on their teens and be certain that anxiety isn’t forming in them because of social media. Anxiety can occur in several different ways through social media, the main problem is not being invited to events. Instagram provides teens with a platform to see what they are missing out on. Teens will start constantly checking their online platforms to make sure they don’t miss any important updates and this can create an unhealthy routine (Shafer). Anxiety can also form when teens decide to post a picture on Instagram. “Feeling pressure to get comments and likes on your posts is a social media stressor,” says Kara DuBois. Getting enough likes, comments, or followers is so important to some teens that it can cause them stress. These different thoughts and habits can cause problems with not only the mental health of a teenager but also the physical health.

The physical effects of social media can be very harsh on a teen, so parents should watch how it might be affecting them. Posting the best picture and looking undeniably perfect is something teens try to strive for on Instagram every time they post a picture. The only problem is, who defines what perfect looks like? Is it perfect to be tall or short, brunette or blond, thin or thick? No one really knows what perfect should look like and that creates an issue with defining it. Being perfect is different in everyone’s eyes. There is no one body type, shape, or color that is more perfect than another. Teenagers often get wrapped up in social media and forget that everyone is unique in their own way. They take millions of pictures just to get one that they can consider the “perfect” picture. They edit pictures to give the illusion of clear skin or a tan complexion. Teens work so hard to look a certain way. They seem to forget that the way they look is perfect in its own way. Trying to look a certain way can also lead to a comparison between other people posting on Instagram. Constantly comparing oneself to another person can be detrimental to teens physical health. This can create envy for others and insecurity about their own bodies (Mundell). Social media provides a space for teens to not only question their own body image but also destroy others.

Parents should make sure their kids are being kind online. Not only are teens unappreciative of their own bodies, but they can also be rude to others. Posting a picture online for everyone to see provides people with the opportunities to be harsh to others. Social media can provide a place for teens to be positive and hype up their friends, but that is not always the situation. No one can control what someone might say online. It is hard to avoid negative comments that a teen might receive, this can also damage how teens feel about themselves. Even if no one would say anything bad to their face, social media provides a technology barrier that gives people more confidence to say what they want. This is usually a bad thing and these negative comments can also tremendously affect a teen’s self-consciousness.

Parents should make sure teens aren’t spending too much time on social media so they don’t start losing track of what really matters. Through technology, it is often hard to portray emotions and let people know exactly how someone is feeling. This leaves it up to teens to jump to conclusions and decide what emotions they want someone else to be feeling. These misconceptions can lead to false connections or big arguments. Not being able to show emotions makes it extremely difficult to have conversations and know how another person is feeling. Social media makes it hard for emotions to be shown through technology. This can create unrealistic connections between teens on these platforms. Teenagers often spend so much time online that they start to forget what is what it is like to have a real-life connection. They usually forget about what is going on around them because they are distracted by social media content. It is said that being online can be a good escape from the real world, it is easy to get lost in all the pictures. This can be a positive thing if something bad might be going on, but it can also create more harm than it solves. When getting lost in social media, teens get stuck in a fake world where they communicate through their technology and not face-to-face with real people. Katherine Clementine says that this can create a lack of socializing skills for teens and affect how they communicate in social settings. Teenagers get used to talking through social media and when they finally have to talk in person, it is very different and sometimes difficult for them. Social media can damage a teens ability to communicate well in real life. It is important for teens to not spend all day on technology and to remember that there is still a world going on around them.

Parents can help their teenagers stay healthier and happier by limiting their social media use based on each day. It is unhealthy for teenagers to be spending an average of nine hours online every day. Parents should make sure their kid isn’t a part of that statistic, by setting limits and boundaries for their teen. This can lead to a healthier and happier lifestyle. There are many ways to help reduce the use of social media for a teenager. David Pruitt says to have “No screen times,” set it aside when at the dinner table, don’t use in their bedroom, or not on it until homework is done. This can help control the effects that might be occurring from phone usage. Another idea for limitation is to turn off notifications for at least a few hours a day (Mir and Novas). This can provide a teen with a few hours of relaxation and less anxiety in their life. The main goal of helping their child is just to set a few boundaries. With just a few tweaks in their daily routines, they could start living a whole new life. They might see the world through a whole new perspective and be happier while doing it.

Teenagers have a hard time knowing what is best for themselves and that is why it is wonderful to have parents. Parents can help make sure their child is doing ok and provide help when it is needed. When it comes to social media, there are a lot of negative sides to it. Social media can create jealousy, loads of comparison, and no real-life connections. It is hard to notice these effects on oneself, but they are almost always there. Slowly social media starts to destroy self-confidence and self-worth. By taking a break from being online daily, it can help to reduce the damage and effects of it. Parents should help enforce these boundaries to keep their teens healthier. Even though the world today revolves around technology and social media, it is still good to make an effort to not be a part of the addiction. The thought of being able to escape social media is very unlikely. That is why taking action and setting limitations is the most helpful thing to do. Teens deserve to live a happy, healthy life without worrying about their bodies or being jealous of others. Setting boundaries on social media use will help teens live the life they deserve.

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