Social media correlated with negative life perception

Chloe Green, Staff Writer

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 In this day and age, the internet and social media are included in almost everyone’s daily routine, especially for the teenager population and more specifically, generation z. The population that was born from mid 1990s to early 2000s are part of generation z, and are the main contributors to social media.

It makes sense that teenagers around the world participate the most on social networks, and contribute to posts more than any other generation, considering they were brought up in a world with a focal point on internet interactions. With Facebook coming out in 2004, Instagram in 2010, and Snapchat in 2012, Generation Z grew up in the prime age to start using a smartphone and connecting on the internet.

Since teenagers’s brains aren’t fully developed, and often are not fully developed until age 25, they often think irrationally, “because the prefrontal cortex is still developing, they [teens] might rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala to make decisions and solve problems more than adults do. The amygdala is associated with emotions, impulses, aggression and instinctive behaviour”( Thus, social media can easily cause teenagers to act on impulses and feelings due to what they see on their screens.

One of the main influences social media has on people and mainly adolescents is eating disorders. The constant stream of models on social networks like instagram and snapchat influences young adults, who yearn to look like said models, and believe that their body type is the perfect one.

Social media influencers like that of Alexis Ren, Madison Beer, Kylie Jenner, Jay Alvarrez, and Cameron Dallas undoubtedly have marketed themselves to the masses, portraying the ideal lifestyle. Their flawless skin, chiseled features, lavish vacations, and glamorous lifestyles have been documented for the world to see, and teens are watching. Their posts have given teenagers an unrealistic expectation for what their lives should be like, and it is having a negative impact on their mentality.

 As a teen girl, I grew up idolizing Ren. Her popularity peaked when I was a 13 year old, and her petite frame, glowy complexion, and snatched waist left me envious. I wanted nothing more than to look like her, and live the same seemingly perfect life. I searched her diets, obsessed over her workout routine, and when I couldn’t get to her unrealistic size, I felt awful about myself. Sadly, this is the reality for many other girls, particularly millennials and adolescents around the age of 18. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, a recent study indicated that greater Instagram use was linked to increased self-objectification and body image concerns, especially among those who frequently viewed fitspiration images.

Negative body image is not the only pressing concern that emerges from social media, as depression, anxiety, and a lack of social interactions have also been correlated with social media use. This indicates that as teens social media use increases, as does their likelihood to be unsatisfied with their lives. With social media always being at access, it is much easier for people to cyberbully and cause others to become extremely depressed and feel as though they have no escape since they are always around the internet. Studies show that 14-24 year olds that social media has an impact on depression, body image, feeling of loneliness, and anxiety(ChildMindInstitute).

With all of this said, social media does allow worldwide communication and contribute to adolescents finding communities that support their beliefs. As well as positive body influencers such as bodyposipanda on instagram spreading body acceptance and healthy eating habits with their followers. However this does not outshine the negative impact social networking has on the developing teen brain and adults, causing eating disorders, depression, bullying, etc. There is a balance, as a society, we all need to find in order to control the usage and impact of social media to keep our minds healthy.