Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. These are just a few of the countless social media outlets used by teens that allows them to have an online platform to express themselves. Social media users log into their favorite apps hoping to freely interact with other users. However, many are met with backlash and ridicule from others online, raising the question, is social media an unsafe environment for teens?
Junior Meridian McCall believes that social media can be harmful. “It glamorizes the wrong things about people,” she said, “and I think that the artificial lifestyle sold to us on sites like Instagram and Twitter definitely shows what our generation values today.”
As social media platforms have grown, there have been multiple media figures, such as Kylie Jenner and Sommer Ray, who have served as powerful female influencers.
Though they are supporting and expanding their own platforms, it leads to lowered self-esteem in many teens. A female junior who wishes to remain anonymous said, “Social media has been so detrimental to my mental and physical health, and it leads me to compare my image to that of so-called Instagram models. By constantly seeing these beautiful women, I am left to compare myself to an image I can never achieve. It destroys self-confidence and leaves space for insecurity to grow.”
On Instagram, a poll was assembled for 24 hours, where students submitted their answers in response to questions related to the negative effects of social media. The poll highlighted how teenagers actually view their social media platforms as they answered the question: “Do you believe social media to be more beneficial or detrimental?” The poll revealed that half of the pollers believe social media to be detrimental.
The vast majority of these poll takers were high school students in Howard County, many from Wilde Lake, and it showed just how big of an impact social media can have on teens.
However, junior Amari Wragg sees the benefits of social media. “Social media has positively impacted my life because I get to know more about the events that happen in local and worldwide areas,” she said.
Social media is undeniably a large part of most high school students’ lives, however the more influential it becomes the more students question how healthy it is to be so connected.
Media specialist Ms. Palmateer sees social media from both sides of the table. “Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a great platform for sharing information, but on the other, it can make students feel like they’re somehow worth less than others.”