The Effects Of Growing Up Around Social Media


Gracie Green, Editor-in-Chief

Technology is one of the most successful innovations to ever enter society. As of 2022, almost fifty percent of the earth’s population carries a smartphone. That means that half of the world can check the weather, receive phone calls, use a dictionary, and keep up with the latest gossip at any point in the day. However, it is hard to tell whether or not the presence of technology is beneficial to the young adults who have access to it. According to a poll ran by the Pew Research team, ninety-five percent of teenagers, aged thirteen to seventeen, use a cell phone. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry also ran a survey, in which seventy-five percent of teenagers reported having at least one active social media account and at least fifty-one percent reported visiting a social media account daily.

There are many positive aspects to growing up in a technologically advanced world, such as having internet access that has never been so readily available. It’s also more convenient to talk to friends or make new ones, express opinions about art, literature, and music, and additionally find a new community that has shared interests. On the other hand, the access to such a wide variety of different websites, good and bad, poses a threat to young minds when they are not properly taught how to use what they have been given. One of the most dangerous aspects of giving technology to teenagers and children is the access to social media.

Social media is one of the most controversial topics of conversation between adults and teenagers. It is misunderstood by most adults and misused by most teenagers. Often, adults do not fully understand how to use social media themselves since most websites and apps did not appear until a majority of millennials were entering their twenties. This leaves a gap between the older and younger generation, meaning that a fifteen year old may be more capable of managing their online presence than their parent or guardian. The content provided online can be harmful to a young mind, giving that it may contain examples of harmful habits that become more glamorized when shared amongst large groups. Some examples of these negative behaviors are drug abuse, the glorification of sex, forming friendships with unnamed strangers, and body image issues.

There are Pinterest boards and Tumblr accounts dedicated to providing pictures of what is considered the “perfect” body. The convenience of FaceTune and other photo editing apps also provide these same false images of what the human body is “supposed to” look like compared to the reality behind the filter. Shows such as HBO Max’s Euphoria are also the cause behind some of the delinquent behaviors exhibited by teens, as it paints a “fun” picture of drug abuse and teenage promiscuity.

According to the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, the main reason behind the misuse of the internet among young adults is that they are not taught how to properly use it as children. If guardians could learn how to use the apps that their children are provided before their child is given access, then perhaps the negative behaviors online would not be such a worrisome presence.