Living in a social media world

Living+in+a+social+media+world

Social media had long been looked at as a means of communication, a uniting factor in the midst of a socially distanced world.

However, is it possible that the increased usage of social media by young adults has heightened division, self criticization, and separation from reality? While social media is beneficial, the effects of constant comparison, self-obsession, and misinformation are detrimental to all people, especially the younger generation. 

The pandemic has been the saving grace for many social media platforms. With the emergence of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and countless other apps created to distract and stimulate, what better to do in a pandemic where time is the only opponent? 

Through looking at young students of La Quinta High School, the true effects of an increase in social media will show. How has social media changed in the pandemic, how has it affected the youth, and why is it so hard to put the phone down and disconnect

“It’s filling the void of the time where I have nothing to do,” said Alyssa Goodman ’21.

Social media, especially in a quarantined world, is being used as stimulation and entertainment. Many students use social media solely to pass time and to entertain. This is heightened considering how easy it is to access such large libraries of digital content on any technological device.

“Being able to connect with people I don’t usually see and haven’t been able to see within the quarantine. I get to interact and stay in contact with these people through social media,” said Goodman. 

“Over quarantine, I’ve gotten a lot more attached to it as it was really the only way to keep in touch with friends,” said Kaili Timberlake ’24.

The benefits of social media which are represented within these students are how easy it is to communicate and engage with friends through these apps. This too has been heightened through quarantine and we see people using social media mainly to stay in touch and communicate with people they are unable to see. 

“Realize that a lot of the stuff you see on social media isn’t real. People are showing this amazing Cabo vacation with all their best friends, obviously, it’s not fake, but all the bikini pictures are definitely altered. It’s important to quickly realize that a lot of social media isn’t real,” said Skyler Nuñez ’21.

This same viewpoint is carried by Goodman who said that social media can make anyone feel insecure about how one looks, acts, and accomplishes. 

“I know people post what they want others to see of them,” said Goodman. “It’s not their whole life and I know that, but sometimes seeing what other people post can cause insecurities and I try not to let myself get to that point, but sometimes it’s hard.”

Although there are benefits, it’s clear that social media initiates and heightens feelings of insecurity and self-criticism. Even with these threatening aspects of social media, these students seem to realize that a lot of what they see on these social apps aren’t real. 

However, it’s still difficult to not constantly compare.

“Jealousy will always be a part of social media, however, there are so many positives, especially in quarantine when a lot of relationships are being fulfilled online, and when you learn how to recognize that not everything you see on these apps is real, it’s easier to focus on said positives,” said Nuñez ‘21.

“I don’t get very caught up with the likes and attention that I receive when I post. Sometimes it still happens if something I post doesn’t do as well as I wanted,” said Goodman.

This reiterates the idea of self-criticism and self-obsession. The engagement and attention that comes with social media can be destructive to the younger generation.

However, these students have realized that letting numbers on a screen affect their perception of themselves is unhealthy and have taken steps to distance themselves from these feelings.

“I’ve turned off notifications for Instagram which has definitely helped, even to this day. It helps me stay more focused on the present,” said Goodman.

“I think I could last five days without social media, mainly because I would get bored especially now not being able to do a lot. I use social media mainly to interact with friends and entertain myself,” Nuñez said. “I don’t plan on taking a break from social media as I consider my overall relationship with social media as pretty healthy.” 

Although these young adults are very aware of the negative aspects of social media, there still exists a clear dependence and power these apps have over students. 

“While it’s easy to get down when you see someone having what you want, whether it is an experience, a materialistic item, a body, a face,” said Nuñez, “it’s incredibly important to realize that what you see most of the time isn’t real. Who you are and the things you have right in front of you are real. It’s important to love yourself before entering the world of performance that is social media.”