Is Social Media Toxic for Teens?

August 3, 2017

Many teens nowadays are on social media. It is a forum to connect to friends, share pictures, and for recreational use. Although social media could be described as fun there are also many negative effects that it can have on a teens mental health and self esteem. Teens can gain a false impression of what beauty is and looks like based on what the media portrays. There is also the problem of cyberbullying which is popular because it can be done anonymously and the person doesn’t have to say it to the others person’s face. Social media addiction can be developed by being on your phone too much, this can result in little sleep and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Because of these reasons, social media, although fun, is not healthy for teens mental health.

These days the media projects the idea that teens should look “perfect”. This means being a size double zero and weighing a certain amount. This doesn’t just apply to females, but males as well. They have to be muscular and “fit” to be able to get a girl or to be accepted in school. This puts a lot of pressure on kids and their mental health. Eating disorders are a common problem that teens develop to be able to fit these stereotypes. They cut down on the amount of food they are eating to get skinnier, developing anorexia. This can be super destructive to your body including osteoporosis, infertility for females, brain damage, and shutdown of major body systems. Anorexia is not the only type of eating disorder there is orthorexia, which is the obsession of eating only healthy foods, and bulimia, which is the process of eating a surplus of food and purging afterwards.


Another thing that the media portrays is the idea that adolescents need to be provocative on Social Media. Many models and celebrities post pictures of themselves in little of no clothing. This presents the idea of child pornography. Superstars such as Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber post pictures on their social media that show them in provocative poses. These pictures also tend to get a lot of like. Teens feel like they have to post things like this in order to get likes. Likes are the symbol of popularity and determine a person's self worth in the mind of an adolescent. Drug use could also be acquired from seeing famous people post pictures of them smoking weed or using hard drugs.

Furthermore social media has often been an outlet where teens can talk to their friends and even family. There are multiple chat rooms and other ways to replace text on social media  as well as comments can be put on the pictures posted on someone’s page. Some teens, however, have taken a different approach to talking online. Because it is online a lot of teens use this as a way to say what they want to without having to say it directly to the person. This causes cyberbullying which is when someone bullies another online.

There are multiple cases where kids have experienced cyberbullying and it has resulted in self harm, eating disorders and even suicide. Many different programs have been made to try and stop cyberbullying and try to educate teens on the effects their words have on others. Usually social media contributes to self doubt and negative thoughts but with the added addition of cyberbullying it intensifies the feelings one has towards themselves. Without  social media we wouldn’t have this problem since people wouldn’t have a screen to hide behind and would probably be less likely to bully others.

 

One social media that has continually been a problem for cyberbullying is Snapchat. Snapchat is an app where users can send pictures to others with a time limit and then have the picture disappear. This means that people can send hurtful comments to other peers and then have it vanish allowing the other person to avoid being caught for bullying. Teens have also used this as a way to send nude pictures to significant others which could easily be turned against them when the other person screenshots the pictures and shares them on other social media forums

 

Lastly, social media has created an addiction that is more common than one might think. According to Adweek there are two billion social media users worldwide and out of that, eighteen percent of them can’t go even a couple hours without checking their social media and twenty five percent feel the need to check their phones in the morning. This doesn’t only include teens as well, adults are also just as likely to be addicted to their phones. Social media has created a forum where people can use it on a daily basis and for multiple hours a day, so it’s not surprising that there are a lot of people using their  accounts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

There are multiple physical effects of social media that sprout from users using their accounts for long periods of time. A survey conducted by MedicalNewsToday showed that two thirds of the participants had difficulty sleeping or relaxing after they used social media and fifty five percent felt worried or uncomfortable after using their phones. Because of this stress and lack of sleep, teens can feel tired and not do as well on their school work or in social situations.

 

In conclusion, social media is a detrimental device for teens who use it. Cyberbullying occurs and damages self worth and causes negative thoughts for teens about their body or even their personality. Social media addiction causes problems with sleep and also affects other areas of life such as social interactions. Finally social media can cause false ideas of beauty and what a body is supposed to look like. This can result in eating disorders, self harm, or even suicide. In general social media, if used for the correct purposes could be a fun idea but in general, because of the way our society has evolved, it is in general pretty destructive for a teens life and mental health.
 






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