A Cautionary Tale of Social Media

Photo+from+Unsplash.com

Photo from Unsplash.com

Kailee Abendroth (she/they) 11th Grade, Chief Editor

The majority of teens wake up and immediately check their phones to see what they missed while sleeping. Any news of any sort, new trends, celebrity drama, or just the latest Instagram post from their friends.

“Around 80% of my time on my phone [is on social media],” Middle schooler, Kali says.

That’s practically one of the requirements for those that fall into Gen Z, to constantly be in the know of everything. Pressure like that is honestly stressful. That’s where FOMO comes in; fear of missing out, the irony is that being more connected than ever can lead many to feel isolated and alone.

To no one’s surprise, the negative impacts of social media mainly affect young teenage girls. With many of today’s TikTok trends consisting of showing off one’s body, what they eat in a day, or extreme work-outs, these things are constantly shoved into young girls’ faces which is quite the slippery slope to eating disorders.

“There’s a lot of judgment and standards that people set,” Middle schooler, Diana says, “Sometimes it feels like I’m not good enough.”

These girls are at most risk since they are of impressionable age, you certainly cannot blame them. The blame needs to be placed upon these companies. Though TikTok has recently changed their community guidelines for “Minor Safety” which is a step in the right direction but many more companies have a long way to go, simply adding a screen time limiting feature isn’t enough.

Some believe that parents are at fault for not monitoring their child’s phone and/or online presence. While it might be difficult to be able to watch over everything the child does it’s definitely something that should have a decent amount of effort poured into it. Just one parent checking their child’s phone can also reduce the risk for other children, especially if the conflict is an internet predator. The average amount of people who fall victim to one single online predator is around 200 people. It’s extremely crucial for parents to talk to their children about the possible dangers that the internet carries and how to reach out to get the proper help.

“I think children should have their phones monitored occasionally.” Diana says, “…[My parents] talked about the possible dangers but didn’t go into much depth.”

Social media is seemingly inescapable, it’s captivating and consuming by design. It can be hard to put the phone down in general but adding in the competitive nature of social media it can be near impossible to ever take some time away from the phone.

“I feel like there’s so much fakeness overall on social media, which makes people start to think they have to fit the standard of social media,” Kali says.

With every negative situation though, there can be positives.

“I mainly use social media to stay in contact with my friends,” Diana says.

With the proper education on how to use social media and the impacts and dangers it can hold, social media can be a fun and engaging way to keep in contact with friends and family and also a source of entertainment. There’s a quick solution; more open lines of communication between parents and children. One conversation is all it takes to make a difference.