How Social Media Can Impact the Mental Health of Teens of Today
Being a teenager is easily one of the most challenging times in life that you’ll ever have to experience. It’s difficult dealing with raging hormones-everything around you seems to change completely. Your body is changing both mentally and physically, and your view on the world begins to alter.. As we grow older, we learn that the world is much scarier than we think, and we need to be careful. Mental illness has been the second leading cause of death for young Canadians aged 15- 24. Over 3.2 million Canadians aged 12-19 are at risk of developing depression. It’s difficult because this is the age where things are starting to change, and we’re faced with more responsibilities as we get closer to adulthood…
Now life is getting more complicated. We begin to realize we must grow up, everyone knows this, but when it really hits you, it all becomes real and terrifying. I think that the reason it’s been particularly hard for today’s generation of teens is because our generation had to grow up alongside the rise and popularity of social media., We’re all addicted to it-even I’ll admit I can’t go very long without taking a scroll through Instagram. The problem with social media is that a lot of the time, we teenagers feel like we have to look like what we see on the internet, and if we don’t, we automatically see ourselves as “less than” everyone else around us. It can turn into a vicious cycle. Sometimes we do get competitive with each other, and we don’t even realize it. It’s this constant need to look “good” in a post on social media. This adds on to the social issues that we face at school or around other teens sometimes because teenagers can be petty, often times.
I remember growing up watching classic Disney movies such as “High School Musical” and thinking that it would be like that once I got to high school and it made me idolize every teenager I met.. I used to love the idea of being a teenager; I thought all teens seemed so cool and independent. To me, being a teenager was basically like being an adult and I used to hate the idea of being treated as a kid…
Then, I became a teenager myself, and being a teenager in the age where social media is huge is quite challenging. I think today on social media, a lot of the idea of being “perfect” comes in to play. Sometimes we think that we must dress or look a certain way to come off as attractive or appealing to our fellow classmates and peers. As social media advances it gets worse and we think that we’re not good enough for anyone, including ourselves. Teenagers go through a lot; school itself is very stressful and causes most (but not all) teens anxiety. Sometimes our parents never really seem to understand how much pressure and stress school can cause. On top of that, teens also deal with a lot of social problems when it comes to the people in school and around them and it can be tough to fit in. When I was in elementary school, everyone seemed carefree and happy; this changed when I started going to high school. It was like suddenly everyone had problems and was horribly sad- I didn’t understand the change at first. Now, I figured out that everyone has problems in their lives, even as kids. As we get older, we become more self-aware and pay more attention to the little details in our lives.. The great part of all this though, is that we can always improve ourselves and make things better.
A lot of the time we let out our feelings by posting it on social media, or we listen to a lot of depressing music. Based on personal experience, music helps a lot because you don’t feel so alone and, in a sense, you feel like someone understands the situations in your life and what you’re going through. Even if we’re all alone, we’re together in that too. If you look to the better side of things in your life (there is always a brighter side) than you will start to feel better; it is all about perspective.
Social media is a big part of a teenager’s life, today. It is hard to ignore and hard not to participate in it because everyone uses it for a number of different reasons. No matter how you use social media, for contact with friends, to make a statement or otherwise, always remember that it is not solely who you are. Don’t feel dragged down by it for if you allow it to “influence” you too much, you may find yourself feeling confused about your true identity. As cliché as it sounds, never compare yourself to others because there is only one you- this thought alone should give you all the confidence you need. You are unique in your own way and no social media post could ever change that!