mental health

Guest Post: Teens on Social Media

Today, we have a guest post from an awesome teen girl, Elizabeth, from Princeton, New Jersey!

Social media, which has become ubiquitous in today's society, feels to me both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, these networking sites, particularly Snapchat and Instagram, facilitate connections. I love that I can keep in contact with friends who have gone to college or who have moved away. Furthermore, I am addicted to the "Snapchat Discover" page- it's how I get all of my news! I think what's great about receiving information through this channel is that it comes in small doses; in the middle of a busy day, I rarely have ample time to read a long article, but the engaging, interactive nature of the Discover displays permit me, and many of my friends, to remain informed about topics that pique our interests.

My personal favorites are the Food Network, Cosmopolitan, and Refinery 29 stories.

Carly, a close friend and high school junior, summarizes the benefits of social media: "Social media allows me to stay in touch with family and friends and stay in touch with the world at large. Without it I do not believe I would be nearly as up-to-date on national and global issues as I am with it." In stark contrast, constantly being exposed to the "perfect" lives presented by celebrities and peers can not only lead to feelings of inadequacy, but can also be overwhelming. Among my friends, I am known as the girl who will delete the Snapchat app at least twice a month, because "I'm just so tired of it." (Am I the only one who finds maintaining streaks completely exhausting?!)

Gwen, a high school sophomore, concurs that social media can have detrimental effects, citing stunted social and communicative skills. Overall, sites such as Instagram play a critical role in the social hierarchy of our generation. "It's how I find everything out, which is both good and bad," says Bridget, also a high school junior. All of this is not to say that social media is some sort of evil construct designed to hone in on our insecurities and prey on our jealous instincts. However, it is to say that once in a while, it's nice to take a break. You can start by deleting Snapchat from your phone, like me, or take the full plunge and completely power down for a day. At first, it's definitely scary to be so disconnected, but it's so worth it. 

Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for sharing your thoughts on social media. We hope to have you back on the blog soon!