Maddy Anderson, a seventh grader at Buffalo Community middle school, is only one of many examples of how social media is affecting young teens. “I feel like people judge you a lot based on your pictures and captions. Sometimes you feel like your posts are really stupid if you don’t get any comments or your instagram isn’t as pretty as others,” Anderson said.
Teenagers are especially targeted by society’s pressure of fitting in online. In 2015 a survey by “Statista” showed that 40 percent of kids felt pressure to only post content that made them look good to others, and 21 percent said they felt worse about their own lives because of what they see from other friends on social media.
“It’s easy to compare people’s feeds to yours and you get kind of self conscious. You feel pressured to make sure your posts are “cool” and fit in,” Anderson said. “I recently redid my instagram theme because I stressed out a lot about how everything looked, I was hoping to try and start adding some meaning to my posts and it made me feel better having everything flow. Plus I got some compliments so that made me feel good!”
Now that social media is introduced at such a young age it is even more important to get the message across that what you see online isn’t the whole truth. Some celebrities have made it their mission to help spread positive thinking across social media. Actress and singer, Zendaya, uses her spotlight to help relieve the pressures of society off the backs of young teens by her long posts encouraging body positivity and reminding teens that you shouldn’t define perfect by what you see online.
“I feel like if more public figures and people my age used social media to show all aspects of life it might catch on and more and more people could change the outlook on social media,” Anderson said.
Social media is supposed to be a good and positive thing to make people’s lives easier not more stressful. Hopefully in the near future social media will begin to fulfill it’s purpose, but for now the most important thing is to remind everyone to stay kind online.