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OPINION: The impact of social media on teens is more negative rather than positive

By Athziry De La Peña

The impact social media can make on people is immense. This has been an issue brought up by plenty of teens. Social media is bad for every individual. It has benefits in the stance of society, but it’s overwhelmingly terrible.

The Montare Behavioral Health Hotline brought it to people’s attention in 2021 “Social media use can cause a lot of insecurities, especially in teens. Kids follow famous people on these sites and set unrealistic expectations for body image. Seeing people who are often popular and considered beautiful can give teens a negative body image or how they perceive themselves.” A negative body image can lead to low self-esteem and even eating disorders.  Many impacts can be made on a growing adolescent that just shambles people’s minds. Do people feel better after scrolling through socials? My guess is no. Social media leaves people feeling with doubt and second guessing themselves and the way they live their lives.” One study of teen girls found that the more time they spend using social media, the more likely they were to experience “body dissatisfaction and even depression.” This was voiced in an article published on the Cleveland Clinic website. Teens’ mental health is being more and more affected by the standards placed by celebrities.

Not only does this impact the teens, but this also leaves parents feeling distressed.“Parents have a range of concerns when it comes to their teenagers using social media, with access to explicit content and time-wasting ranking among those at the top of the list,” according to a Pew Research Center survey of parents of teens ages 13 to 17 conducted last spring. Parents are clearly worried for their children/ the generations to come. Being on a screen for so long is extremely damaging. The National Library of Medicine brought it up to people’s attention: “A majority of parents of adolescents say they are somewhat, very, or extremely worried that their child’s use of social media could lead to problems with anxiety or depression (53 percent), lower self-esteem (54 percent), being harassed or bullied by others (54 percent), feeling pressured to act a certain way (59 percent), and exposure to explicit content (71 percent”)” Parents express their concern for the teens being put through the tough side of social media.

Without a doubt social media has its benefits. Providing Communication in the sense of making calls, paying a bill, ordering services, messaging and quick access to research. Social media also is a great marketing tool.Social media Has many positive attributes that the youth can enjoy. “It can provide access to important information and create a space for self-expression. The ability to form and maintain friendships online and develop social connections are among the positive effects of social media use for youth,” according to an article from the National Library of Medicine. In an article published in November of 2022 by CNN Health it was expressed that “80 percent said social media gives them some level of connection to what is going on in their friends’ lives, 71 percent said it’s a place where they can show their creativity, 67 percent said social media reassures them that they have people to support them through tough times, and 58 percent said it makes them feel more accepted.” It is clear a lot of adolescents feel social media helps them navigate through tough times and allows them to express themselves.

Social media has in many ways helped me learn and grow but also made me feel more self- conscious about myself. I really found disconnecting helpful. This does not mean I don’t surround myself with social media. But in the mix of everything it is so easy to maneuver your way into the world and you don’t see how it can harm you as much as it can benefit you.

Ultimately, the goal is to keep our youth and the people in our community happy and healthy. I strongly encourage us to disconnect from the world. so many things are out of our hands, not in our power. The thing we can control is what we spend our time doing, and how we let it affect us.

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