Consuming Social Media… Kind or Cruel?

We’ve all fallen for it. Social Media has consumed our lives, thoughts and actions creating an unfathomable fear of being accepted in a cyber world.

Yes, there are many careers, well-beings, and philanthropic advantages to social media, however, at what cost?

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One of the reasons everyone so easily signs up for all of the social networking sites in today’s world is because of the convenience it brings. Getting information to large groups of people, sharing what is going on for different companies and events around you. Even to share the brilliant news of becoming engaged, or starting a family. Everyone has one, but not everyone see’s the beneficial side.

When I say ‘beneficial,’ I mean the spreading of important information. However, to teens and even college girls, social media can be quite detrimental.

When looking at all of your Snapchat Stories, and your Facebook feed riddled with pictures of friends with other friends doing friend-like fun things, you being to feel like you’re not doing enough. And don’t say you’ve never fell into this trap. It’s a minefield of disguised posts put out there just to portray the idea that this hangout, oh boy, this hangout was the time of their life.

Not only that, but according to Rachel Ehmke’s research, the potential to always be connected can allude to the idea that kids and teens always SHOULD be connected. And when they’re not always connected, this can lead to anxiety. Ehmke explains, that never getting a break from your peers creates this anxiety, when it is actually important to spend time alone, with yourself.

Ehmke also claims that when it is so easy to have someone pop up on your screen to say hello, it is just as easy for them to disappear without any real explanation. This can lead to depressing thoughts, like “What did I do wrong?” and, as Ehmke puts it, “Imaging the worst about themselves,” when there is nothing wrong to begin with.

Social status and popularity is now defined online rather than in person. What ever happened to popularity based on who wore Abercrombie and Fitch? Now girls in their teens are stretching for hundreds of likes based off of role models in their mid 20’s. There are no more awkward phases anymore. Everyone looks the same.

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When I say ‘role models in their mid 20’s’ there is no other influence like the Kardashian influence. Kylie is one of the most in-tune to the young social world, however, the standards in which her fans crave to attain are unrealistic and even fake. The sexualization of her body is so normal now that a lot of the younger generations don’t see anything wrong in it.

Judith Johnson of Huffington Post attended an interview with Nancy Jo Sales to talk about her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers. What she found was Jaw dropping. A must read article.

Sales interviewed a 13 year old girl who claims that her parents were “out of touch when it comes to their concerns about the over-sexualization of teens.” She then went on to express her feelings of empowerment when sending nude photos. A THIRTEEN year old said this. When I was 13, I was thinking about when I could have my next PB&J sandwich.

There is something seriously wrong with how social media is now changing the normality of sexualization, as well as the constant connection and need to maintain a high social status through posts. The reliability on social media to create high self esteem when alone, or even with others, has become a seriously dangerous addiction affecting more than just teens, and their happiness.

But the most important question is, is should there be limitations to who can and cannot use phones? Should we seek higher government help in order to restrain the use of social media in kids so young, or is this an ongoing problem that must be adjusted and fixed gradually over time? Who knows.

 

 

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