Social Media Impacts Teenagers

Robby Luceno, Reporter

     As time has gone on, humans have come up with new ways to communicate and relay messages to each other, from Alexander Graham Bell inventing the first telephone in 1876, to June 29, 2007, when Steve Jobs and Apple released the first iPhone. Our generation has grown up with technology our parents couldn’t have possibly imagined: touch screen devices, smart watches, virtual reality, and social media. This new tech has influenced teenagers in so many ways, and social media in particular has had the biggest impact on the adolescent brain. 

     A Pew Research Center Survey reported that 97% of people ages 13-17 use a social media platform. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok are by far the most widely used forms of communication among teenagers. 

     “If I’m around people I don’t know that well in social settings I tend to go on my phone, it’s an easy distraction from meeting new people,” said Crystal Priske, a Hellgate junior.

     Social media tends to be an escape from reality. It’s easy to pull out a phone and scroll through timelines and stories in awkward situations, but this doesn’t mean it limits your ability to make new friends.

     “It’s a great way to meet new people online, there are friendships I wouldn’t have without social media, and it helps me connect with other people,” Priske said.

     Another Hellgate junior, Alex Musco agrees, “I think social media is a good way to connect with friends, it’s way easier to ask quick questions and message people,” but points out,  “it’s not a replacement for face-to-face conversations.”

     Social media, especially during the lockdown we’ve gone through this year, has been replacing the time we spend with family and friends face-to-face, and it’s often easier to talk to someone through a screen than meeting up with them.

     Although you may never meet people you find on social media in real life, lasting friendships can form on these sites. However, sometimes social media can negatively impact someone’s self-esteem.

     “If I go on it too much I get really bad anxiety and I feel like I’m not doing enough with my life, it puts pressure on people to be perfect, you see them going to cool places, and doing big things, it only shows the best side of someone’s life,” Priske said.

      “Bullying is everywhere on social media, people can take it super seriously and it can hurt people, it can be dangerous,” Musco said.

     On the other hand, sites like Instagram offer a way for people to create a gallery of past experiences and pictures, and it makes it easy for us to look back on different parts of our lives.

     “My first experience with social media was Instagram, I just posted funny pictures, and I keep those on my profile because it’s cool to look back on it and see who I was back then, and some people never get that experience,” Musco said.

     Another platform, TikTok, has taken over the internet, with hundreds of millions of users utilizing it to share ideas and to connect with others. Even celebrities like Jack Black and David Spade use the platform.

     “TikTok is the most impactful social media platform, it lets us express who we are,” Musco said.

     “Yes I do use TikTok. I check it throughout the day whenever I get bored, I usually see sports and random trends and dumb videos. It’s so easy to share videos among friends and it’s easy for trends to start up careers for people, it’s a good way to get your name out there and share unique ideas with others,” said Hellgate junior, Darian Davalos.

     Sharing TikTok videos has become a common activity among friends and family, and it has also become a way for creative individuals to create content that can be shared on a global scale.

     As social media continues to impact the lives of teenagers all across the world, TikTok has become the newest form of content sharing and creating, and lets users express their ideas and share videos among friends and family. Even though social media can be a harmful place, and it’s not a replacement for human contact, it offers many upsides that can help us connect with others in the most convenient way possible.