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  • Writer's pictureEast Spotlight Newspaper

Social Media Stomps on High Schoolers

58 out of 70 high school students say the first thing they do after they wake up in the morning is go on their phones. Jari Roomer, writing for Medium.com says that going on your phone in the first hour of your morning can increase your stress and anxiety, giving you no time and space to start your day calmly.

Big media companies like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tik Tok target vulnerable times in high school students’ lives. On the weekends: posting videos of themselves with friends or at parties. On the weekdays: aimlessly scroll through Instagram or Tik Tok brainlessly. Social media can feel nearly impossible to escape, and many kids are unwilling and unable to push themselves to delete these apps or recognize the problems at hand.

Technology as a whole is almost impossible to escape: school work, jobs, and college have now entered online platforms. Rates expanded after the pandemic: zoom meetings and video calls with friends increased the use of technology by 40% (says source Pew Research Center).

As technology advances, so does our time on it. According to Social Media and Suicide, cyberbullying and social media increase suicidal thoughts by 14.5%, and suicide attempts by 8.7%. At times when we are vulnerable, self-conscious, and overstimulated, social media targets our growing adolescent minds. Teens who may be getting excluded from their friend group can see that plastered onto Instagram, while kids can screenshot chats and private pictures on Snapchat making them and others aware that the picture was saved.

Even when entering college, social media and the internet can be very scary. Students who choose to post pictures of themselves saying racist slurs, harming others, or even holding substances of alcohol or nicotine, put their future in jeopardy as they can easily be rejected or dropped from colleges. The internet is forever, and for young teenagers whose brains are only just developing, it is hard to keep themselves in check. In March of 2021, a former student of the Loudoun County school district was recorded saying a racial slur. After the video went viral on social media, her future was in jeopardy. The college she had applied to and was prepared to possibly attend had received multiple emails and phone calls from alumni, and current students saying how she should not be allowed to attend. She eventually withdrew her application due to advice from admissions counselors. Because of the spread of the video and the choices she made, this student's future was hurt and extremely jeopardized.

With this has the continued spread of toxicity throughout children’s phones only to permeate their brains and expose them to hatred, gossip, and anxiety. While we may think that companies are aware and want to help, we turn out to be wrong. Quoted from Social Media Victims Law Center, ”Social media sites allow people to share their thoughts and feelings anonymously, making it easier to be mean or hurtful.” Looking at this loudly, social media explicitly adds features to somewhat enhance anonymous cyberbullying.

While some may think that social media can be very unhealthy for adolescents and a controlling factor in teen lives, others think teens should have the control to get off of it. When a teenager has a popular social media app, they can be faced with tough decisions. Deleting a social media app can mean missing out or not talking to friends as much. Because social media companies target visible vulnerable stages so heavily, it's easy for kids to dismiss feelings of depression, loneliness, and anxiety. Thus, kids don't understand the real effect that social media has on them and others.

That's why it is the job of parents and teenagers to educate others and help them understand what they can do to ensure that social media is being controlled by us and not the companies. We should choose when we want to get off the apps. There are multiple sides to social media and all need to be recognized so kids can have a healthy experience going onto apps. To teach control within the new world of technology the battle every day is vital to strong success within adolescence moving forward, especially within high schools.


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