Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, and recently TikTok are platforms we use to connect with people and share different opinions and activities of our lives. Using social media means to create our account filled with personal information like name, address, e-mail, phone number, photo, etc. While we all agree on the benefits we have, which are a lot, there is a concerning issue regarding teenagers and the impact that social media has on their personality and behavior.
Nowadays, social media is a very important aspect of teen’s lives. They use it to have fun, chat with friends, and meet new people. It’s an extension of their face-to-face interactions. But the flipside is that often social media can be a place for bad things like cyberbullying. Most teens post photos online and use their real name, location, school address on their accounts. Sometimes, photos and videos posted can’t be taken once they are online and this may damage the reputation years later. Also, teens can be target of predators because of the personal information they have on their accounts, they are easily found.
Besides the above consequences that are more severe, social media provides teens with information, photos, videos, and details of other people’s lives. As we all know, real-life and the life we post online usually have a great gap between themselves. Some teens don’t know that fact. When they see other people’s photos (especially body shape and weight) and activities, they feel bad about their selves and try to be someone they are not, someone that is cool, liked, and accepted. Teens are in a phase when they experiment with their selves, try to be independent, and what they need most is love and acknowledgment from their friends, family, and people they consider cool or popular. Therefore, they compare their selves with famous people or influencers and feel bad. Sometimes, when a post, photo, or comment does not get many interactions they think they have no value.
All the trends, bullying, predators, and false reality can make teens anxious easily, and even depressed. Teens still don’t have strong self-esteem and confidence so they are easily affected. Studies have found a link between teen suicide attempts and the problematic use of social media, even though the measure of impact is unclear.
However, social media has also positive impacts as it increases teen’s social skills and creativity. Parents should be careful with their kids, to let them know that they love and appreciate them, and to encourage them in finding and being themselves.