How social media can take a toll

Emily DeMotte, Travel Section Editor

Social media is a unique platform that offers a creative way for individuals across the globe to interact and share with each other on a large scale. It’s ability to allow people to express themselves creatively offers an experience exclusive to its existence, which explains its rapid rise in popularity throughout the 21st century. For many teenagers, it becomes a habitual occurrence to check social media immediately after waking up, right before going to sleep, and continuously throughout the day. It offers a valuable way for people to feel less isolated and more connected to friends and loved ones in today’s society. But what is the impact?

 As teenagers, there is often an overwhelming pressure to fit into the world around you. Whether that is through clothes, interests, body type, looks, or anything else, there is a societal standard that impressionable teens often feel obligated to live up to in order to be seen as valid or worthy. Social media often reinforces these  pressures, resulting in feelings of insecurity and worthlessness over not meeting them. Because of this, social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat can become a harbor for negative emotions that can be detrimental to mental health. Truthfully, social media platforms have the tendency to serve as highlight reels of people’s lives, showcasing only the best photo of a batch, filtered and posted and not serving as an accurate portrayal of everyday life. Yet, everyday, people view posts and comments and wonder why they do not compare to or look like the people they are seeing.

 Many athletes in particular fall into the pit of self comparison on social media. Student athletes are continuously held to a high standard in practices and classes, filling up any free time not spent doing school or sleeping at their training facility, gym, or studio. Seeing other people on social media excelling at their sport or training harder can lead to a negative mindset of feeling unworthy by comparison and wondering if you will ever be good enough to “make it”.  Whether it is gymnasts, swimmers, dancers, volleyball players, etc., student athletes are typically already in an environment where they are constantly being compared to other classmates or teammates, and going onto social media and seeing other students posting photos and videos of them doing an extra workout or mastering something you have struggled with can be discouraging. 

However, no matter what, it is important to remember that everyone is on their own journey and comparing yourself to others on social media in any situation will not serve any good. Social media can serve as a creative place where people can share their passions and connect with people globally, but the impact it can have on teenanger’s self image and mental health is important to remember.