Social media is definitely a big deal. We all know it, we’ve all heard of it, most of us use it and most of us are addicted to it. Did you just shake your head? You’re not addicted? Sounds like you’re in denial to me. It’s okay to admit it. You have to embrace yourself first before you can make a change.
I certainly believe that I am. I can barely do one task before grabbing my phone, scrolling through Instagram and seeing the same ten posts I had just scrolled through. Or jumping onto Snapchat, flicking through a bunch of stories before growing tired of everyone having more fun than me and planting my phone down on the table.
I wanted to know if it had affected people in the same way as it had me so I quizzed my friends for their opinions on the major platforms.
“Do you think you’re addicted to social media?” I asked, expecting the worst.
“A little bit – ‘cause I’m really bored,” she said.
I looked at her and nodded. Understandable given the situation now.
I looked at the other expectantly.
“Hell no! Not Insta and Snap, I barely use them,” she said confidently, “the issue lies when it gets to Netflix and Wattpad.”
I mean who can disagree with the latter.
‘Do you think they have a negative impact?’
‘Yes, it kinda does if your mental health is already low.’
The other turned to me, ‘For me personally, I don’t think it has a negative impact per se, like, I just use it as a past time – in the grand scheme of things it could have a negative impact on people missing out on key development because they get addicted from a young age.’
The impact of social media, influencers and body image already has had a damaging effect on most users of the apps. What if children were exposed to it earlier than any of Generation Z? We have all been exposed, but Gen Z has essentially seen the internet’s birth into society. I remember holding a brick Nokia phone and, within what seemed like minutes, seeing a sleek iPhone. The internet age has progressed so rapidly, most people aren’t even sure of the next generation of iPhone, iPad, laptop before they have bought it. With this rapidly growing movement, the damages are unforeseeable.
Children should be the most supervised, most people in my generation got a smartphone at around thirteen, but now these new electronics are so readily available for much younger ages. So much so that parents must take heed. The damage on teenagers now is already drastic, the younger generation needs to be able to experience life without the ideas of the ‘perfect body’ being shoved upon them. That could have devastating effects.
Now, before you judge: I’m not saying social media is altogether a bad thing. It can definitely have some positive effects like connecting with friends and sharing parts of your life with others. You can also get body positive influencers to help with any insecurities you may have developed from others. Sometimes following people that you know will help your insecurities is better than following people you aspire to look like. So, all that remains to be said is: Accept yourself. You are beautiful! Don’t let any trend, any person, any thing let you believe otherwise.
If you want to share how social media has affected you, please feel free to comment below.
By Maria Benseler-Reid
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