How social media affects self esteem in teens

By: Liv Miller

Image taken from: How social media affects self esteem in teens
https://mashable.com/article/social-media-self-esteem-protection

In the past decade social media has taken the world by storm. If you ask any teenager today they will tell you that they have at least one social media app downloaded on their mobile device. Social media is a great way to connect with friends, family, and meet new people. We are now able to share videos, photos, and ideas with one another faster than ever through these platforms.

Even though the creators of the most popular social media websites created the platforms to bring people together, there is a very serious issue developing through social media, specifically affecting this generation’s teen population.

With social media comes influencers. Urban dictionary defines influencer as “a prominent figure on a social media platform whom generally exchanges financial instruments or special benefits for enforcements.” While this is correct, there is another aspect of influencers on social media. To typically become an influencer you have to fit today’s societies standard of beauty.

Instagram influencers in particular focus their brand on themselves, or their looks if you will. These influencers gain a following because of how “perfect” they appear online. When people, especially young teen girls, see these influencers they start to compare themselves.

The thought process this encourages is “If she looks like that and has 100,000 followers telling her how perfect she looks, that is what I should look like to be viewed as attractive.”

Nobody is at fault for this outcome but it is what’s formed over the years on social media. A study done by a college student at Duquesne University shows to what extent teens are affected by this. When asked if they have ever been left with low self esteem after viewing someone else’s post on Instagram, 83.3 percent said yes.

This is true for other social media platforms as well. The newest and most popular social media app right now, TikTok, has various trends that people partake in. For the most part TikTok trends are harmless, usually dancing, acting challenges, ect. but these certain trends focus on unrealistic beauty standards. An example of this would be people comparing side profiles, waist size, bust, and butt size, ect. When these trends show up on teen girls pages they start comparing themselves to everyone they see, which is not good for self esteem.

Even though social media was created for good, these new issues need to be taken care of for the sake of the mental health of our youth.

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