Social Media Challenges Society
November 11, 2019
Conform or rebel: that is the choice given to teenagers by a society they did not create. The goal of a society is to shape people into a productive force, but what happens when society hurts more than helps?
One of the negative traps of society is social media. Many social media apps teenagers subscribe to focus on analyzing and judging the outward appearance of people and their lifestyle choices. Access to this is particularly difficult for teenagers, who struggle to make sense of the content without understanding it completely because of a lack of brain development.
Lisa Ellis, journalism teacher, said, “people now have access to many things that I didn’t have access to growing up, like Youtube and 500 channels on television. The things that kids and teens are exposed to nowadays is way bigger than what your brain can handle. My thought is because you are exposed to all this stuff that you’re not mentally ready to work through, that is what’s leading to depression, that is what’s leading to stress, and all these issues that teenagers are dealing with that lead to mental things, that I didn’t even think about. If you don’t have somebody there who can sit and help you navigate what all this means, then you’re stuck trying to process what society is with a brain that isn’t fully developed and does not have the experience of being able to identify the lense that life is coming through.”
Kidguard.com states, “Self-image manipulation is one of the negative effects of social media on teen’s body image. These tendencies put pressure on teens, sending them a message that they need to be as good looking as possible or have the perfect body, to be accepted by society.”
As a teenager, it is hard to truly be yourself without getting judged. Teenagers slowly start to change and force themselves to fit into these standards. This can lead to eating disorders, depression, anxiety. Huffpost.com states, “For individuals struggling with an eating disorder, the constant streams of body and food-conscious posts may cause heightened levels of stress and anxiety surrounding the ‘perfect body image’.”
There are positive things that come of social media as well as negative.”
— Millie Bobby Brown
Philip Huang, 12th grade, said, “Society today has categories and I feel like people (by their looks) are put into those categories, and not by who they are and that’s how society influences your choices. It pressures you to fall into certain categories. I wouldn’t necessarily want to do anything to change society, because I feel like it wouldn’t change anything.”
Social media had pressured me, from little things like not wanting to wear a certain piece of clothing to not wanting to wear certain makeup.
Social media and media, in general, play a huge role in pressuring of teenagers. According to Newport Academy, “Constant comparisons to others on social media can damage self-esteem and body image and can lead to depression.”
The length that teenagers will go to, to fit is frightening. Ourbodiesourselves.org states, “In 2017, more than 229,000 cosmetic procedures were performed on patients between 13 and 19, including nearly 65,000 surgical procedures such as nose reshaping, breast lifts, breast augmentation, liposuction, and tummy tucks.”
These cultural phenomena such as surgical makeovers shown on social media and television programs, and merciless pressures on teens to conform to beauty standards make it increasingly difficult to agree on what constitutes a “normal” appearance.
Amaya Peyton, 10th grade, said, “Society influences our choices subtly with magazine covers, commercials, and product placement. If I could change one thing about society it would be the standards of beauty and views on differences.
Fighting again the negative sides of social media is difficult. People are slowly beginning to see that it is okay to be yourself. There are many movements and hashtags on social media that motivate people to show their true selves. Some examples of these hashtag activisms from Bustle.com are: #EffYourBeautyStandards, #HonorMyCurves, and #TCFStyle.