Teens struggle to balance social media

Marisela Rechner ‘19

Bleep. The girl from English class just liked your Instagram photo of your trip to Aruba. Buzz. Your friend just sent you a Snapchat of her friends doing the Running Man Challenge. For some, this is a constant in their lives. The familiar buzz of a notification sounds and everyone in the room can probably identify which app it was. Social media has become an integral part of teenager’s lives with some teens devoting more time to it than their schoolwork, which is evident by its mark on society.

It is also the way trends become widely known, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge two summers ago, or the Running Man Challenge from the past couple weeks. Some people cannot go a day without it. The use of social media is bouncing from country to country.

The pressure to always make themselves available on social media has negatively affected teenagers’ lifestyles. Livescience.com reports that it has led to an inadequate amount of sleep, depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Social media has been connected to an increased risk of poor mental health. It has also increased bullying, and “cyber bullying.”  CyberBullyHotline.com states 4,500 kids commit suicide annually.

Freshman Emerald Academy student Paige Shaika is not okay with the impact social media has had on her life, especially with her academics. “I am struggling academically because of social media. I get distracted very easily, and it takes me away from what’s important.” Social media is designed to be habit-forming and addictive. “At my gymnastics, we’re not allowed to have our phones with us anymore because we would be on social media while we were supposed to be practicing.”

Shannon McKee, a 9th grader who made honor roll this year, agrees, “There’s a lot more bad that comes out of it than good. Bad involves cyber bullying, addiction, and taking away from academic focus. Good involves connecting with family and entertainment.”

However, the good in social media has been very prominent in some cases. The ability to communicate with those across the globe has sparked mass movements on important issues such as political or religious views. Also, some companies are using social media as a way to advertise themselves. It has also been used to reconnect friends and acquaintances. It’s as if social media is a platform of bridges that connects one area to any other on the entire globe.

With its downfalls and its perks, social media is one of the most impactful forms of technology, and its grip on society does not look like it will loosen anytime soon.

About Marisela Rechner

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