How social media has affected the youth

Being a teenager anywhere in the world is never easy. Not only are you going through hormonal and physical changes, you are also struggling to find your place against the backdrop of high school. There will be factions divided into what is seen as “cool” and what is considered “not” and it is up to the individual to decide whether they want to participate in the popularity contest or be unaffected. Amidst the confusion, it does not help that social media is also a platform that increases pressure on teenagers to stand out from their peers. 

Everyone wants to get on the latest trends

From fashion to food, if more than one person is posting about it, then teens will begin to feel pressured to take part. Peer pressure is not a joke. It might cause teenagers to act in ways that do not align with the beliefs that they hold, or have an incessant fear of being excluded which may cause anxiety to develop. There was one year when hot pants were all the rage, and teenagers all hopped on the bandwagon whether or not they were fans of the fashion statement, all so that they could join their friends and be a part of the group. 

The pressure to always look good

Social media paints a pretty picture of an ugly truth. Edited pictures or photos processed with multiple apps (and sometimes even software such as Photoshop) to make it look perfect, have become commonplace in our everyday lives. However, for teenagers to be constantly exposed to such imagery might warp their sense of beauty. 

Sick of perpetuating these skin-deep, false images, 18 year old Australian model and social media influencer Essena O’Neill edited her Instagram posts to reflect the truth: what she really thought when the pictures were being taken and under what circumstances they were taken or posted under. 

Where’s the party at? 

One leading factor of culture is cultivated from a young age: the love for drinking and partying. Scannable fake id abundant in the youth scene and is popular with everyone, from the nerdy goody-two-shoes to the outrageous party animals. There is nothing a teenager cannot do to get to a good party. They really know how to have fun and that’s because there are plenty of music festivals and raves which are part and parcel of not only the teen’s life, but it also makes up a huge part of an adult. However, drinking is expensive at events and many teenagers organize house parties in order to save on costs before heading out at night. This trend, normalized by sharing through social media, has become the norm. 

While social media has its pros, if used incorrectly and with the wrong perception, there might be certain downfalls. Teenagers or impressionable youths, should limit their use to avoid being pressured into doing what they are not comfortable with or being led into a toxic culture of living under constant stress to look good, look cool and have fun. 

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