Social Media and its Lasting Impact on Teenagers
March 7, 2023
Today’s teenagers are the first among many other generations to have experienced the effects of social media, and this has left room for lots of error. The first social media website was launched in 1997, but it didn’t catch its wind until a few years later. School-aged individuals now make up a large chunk of the demographic. With the inclination of younger people on these platforms, teens now have the ability to access what is essentially the whole world. This has greatly affected the way that adolescents learn and interact with each other.
Social media can often cause disruptions in classroom settings. Students are now able to communicate with their friends from anywhere, and this has proved to be a huge source of distraction during class. Most teachers have implemented some sort of cell phone policy in their classroom to keep students on track. While this does reduce the amount of students who are on their phone during class, many of them still choose to disregard the policy. This is largely due to the fact that social media is curated to an individual’s specific interests, therefore proving to be a likely distraction.
One of the most prominent problems occuring on social media platforms is anonymous online harassment. This has proven to be a recurring problem in most schools, as making rude or inappropriate comments comes much easier when there is little chance of repercussion. Some students from Martinsville High School recently experienced bullying from a hate page on TikTok. This account was found to have been made by a student specifically to insult other students. These issues not only harm individuals, but the student body as a whole.
Face-altering filters have quickly become widespread on social media platforms. Self-image issues are something that many adolescents face, and these filters can further those problems. Filters that remove blemishes, change facial structure, or create unrealistic standards can give a person insight as to what their biggest “flaws” are. These filters can still be found on almost every social media platform after many years, so this issue may not be resolved anytime soon.
Because false news is spread all over social media platforms, this makes many teens more susceptible to believing false information. In recent years, one of the biggest pieces of misinformation revolved around the COVID-19 vaccine. There were reports of people online claiming that the vaccine caused heart problems, changed DNA, or was host to a tracker. All of these claims have been proven to be false since then. A healthcare worker, Brittany Teague, said, “So many people still believe these false things about the vaccine that they heard about online a year or two ago.”
Teenagers who live on social media are consumed by all the problems that come with it. Maybe with time, all of these issues will come to resolve themselves, or maybe they will get worse. Nevertheless, it’s always nice when teens can catch a break from their phones and live in the real world for a while.