The articles that stood out most to me in week ten of our class centered around the topic of teens and social media. The first article was entitled “Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018” and discusses how most teens have a “near constant” presence, and that the we (as a society) don’t yet understand the consequences of such a significant statistic. The second article on this topic entitled “Social Media and Teens: How Does it Affect Mental Health” goes into slightly further detail regarding the psychological aspects of social media and comes up with a similar conclusion that the jury is out on the affects of social media on teens.
This topic is close to my heart for a number of reasons. One being that I have children and I am always internally debating how much screen time should be allowed and what online activities are healthy (or at least not dangerous). Another reason this topic fascinates me is because I use social media and have wondered how healthy it is for fully grown humans (as we are also impressionable).
Both articles mention negative body image as a possible negative affect of social media platforms. Speaking as a woman, I can definitely see how this is possible. In the age of the selfie, Facebook, Instagram, and photoshop people can make it seem as if they are perfect. Perfect in their appearance, in their home life, perfect as a mom, and successful at work. Reality tells you that no one is perfect, but social media doesn’t exist in reality. It is all an illusion. It is incredibly easy to feel down about yourself because you see someone who appears as if they look better or are more successful than you.
The second article deals more with the phycological affects of social media and spends some time discussing how addictive these forms of interaction can be. This article discusses how certain aspects of social media stimulate the reward center of the brain and lead to a social media addiction. I can relate. I have to literally stop myself from checking my phone repeatedly. I want to see who liked my picture and who commented on my post. This constant need to log on distracts me from my daily life. I hate it.
So, if social media can create a negative body image and self-esteem issues, as well as become a highly addictive habit, can it be a healthy activity for anyone regardless of their age? Neither article can come up with a definitive answer. I personally think that social media is a very dangerous but necessary part of life these days. I feel like in order to make it a more reasonable form of communication we need to have a bullshit meter where we can detect when someone is full of it, not just for personal posts but for political ones as well. Then maybe it could be somewhat more tolerable, but I have cut back significantly on my social media activity in the last year and I feel much better.
Anderson, Monica, Jingjing Jiang, Monica Anderson, and Jingjing Jiang. “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. November 30, 2018. Accessed March 29, 2019.
“Social Media and Teens: How Does Social Media Affect Mental Health?” PsyCom.net – Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1986. Accessed March 29, 2019.