Today, the majority of teens use social media in their everyday lives.
I am one of them.
Since about middle school, I have used social media daily to connect with my friends.
The positive side of social media includes communicating with friends, sharing aspects of one’s life, and staying up to date with what is going on in the world.
However, with the positives come the negative parts of social media. This includes pressure for one’s life to appear a certain way, cynical attitudes, and distraction from the real world.
Many people, myself included, are constantly comparing themselves to other people on social media whether it be a friend or a celebrity. Constantly looking at other people’s lives put pressure on our own to look as fun or glamorous as theirs.
According to research by Pew Research Center, 43% of teens feel pressure to only post content that makes them look good to others or will get a lot of likes and comments.
I have caught myself plenty of times feeling down on myself because I’m not as pretty as her and her life is better than mine.
However, just like my Instagram feed is a “highlight reel” of my life, so is hers. In those moments, I have to step back and remind myself of that. My “life” on social media is merely a fraction of my real life.
It’s almost like a dark hole I have to pull myself out of. It can be so blinding and consuming but once you learn to escape, remind yourself of all of the aspects of life you are grateful for and surround yourself with positive self-talk instead of negative.
Get on almost any social media platform and within seconds, one will see a negative or hateful post. Because they are behind the screen, people are more willing to express their opinions in a strong manner which can come off as hateful. To avoid this, one must be wary of what they say online and be mindful of the other people that will see their posts.
“59% of U.S. teens have personally experienced at least one of six types of abusive online behaviors,” said an article by Pew Research Center.
The most common behaviors included offensive name-calling and spreading of false rumors.
As for posts that can be somewhat depressing, sad stories you may come across on Facebook, or some aspects of the news, it is easy to think of what a bad world we live in. These posts flood our timelines and gain so much attention, it drowns out the good sometimes. Remember all the good that does happen in the world, the people making a positive impact rather than the negative. Share their posts as opposed to the ones that bring us down.
Finally, remember to look up from the phone screen and live in the real world. Social media can be addicting. But, keeping up with one’s own life is more important than keeping up with someone else’s through Instagram. Life flies by, so it is up to oneself to be in the moment and enjoy their own life.
If you ever feel like social media is taking over your life, look up and look at the world around you. Make sure you are happy in real life, not just social media.