Appropriate Age for Social Media

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Table of contents

  1. The Advent of Social Media and Its Impact on Youth
  2. The Evolution of Social Media and the Rise of Online Hate
  3. Addiction to Social Media and Its Consequences
  4. Social Media and Body Image: Setting Unrealistic Standards
  5. The Pervasiveness of Social Media Among Younger Generations
  6. Addressing Mental Health Issues and the Role of Social Media
  7. Conclusion: Balancing the Pros and Cons of Social Media
  8. Work Cited

The Advent of Social Media and Its Impact on Youth

Most teens in modern society have some sort of technology within their reach. As social media has become the norm for the youth, many don’t see the negative impact it has on their lives. Social media can potentially be the cause of most issues that these teens struggle with like mental health, bullying, and low self-esteem. For example, in the article “Gen Z is quitting social media in droves because it makes them unhappy, study finds” Oliver McAteer says “In March 2018, it was reported that more than a third of the Generation Z individuals stated that they were quitting social media, 41% stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed”.(McAteer, Oliver) This means that social media is creating a problem for our future generations. Moreover, social media is creating a negative environment in our society since it has shown false expectations such as; affecting the mindset of young ones, to the extent of becoming addicted to some. We may think that teens know their way around networks and media but most teens do not realize the negativity that media is bringing to their minds. Let’s not forget that it has taken a toll on our daily lives because we spend every looking at our screens.

The Evolution of Social Media and the Rise of Online Hate

First, if we look at when social media began, we should reflect back to 1997 when the first ever blogging site was developed. In the article “The Complete History Of Social Media: Then and Now” by Hendricks Drew he states that“ Six degrees, was created…. [which] enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular” but it hasn't always been out of control. (Hendricks, Drew) As famous sites like MySpace and Tumblr started to connect people from all over. They allowed people to create an online community. That was the point of social media, in the beginning, to be able to create this circle of people who have the same interests as you or can relate to. As time has advanced people started to overlook the idea of a humble online community and have used it to either show off what they want others to think they have or to simply spread hate. For example, recent hate shooting against Jewish people sparked a commotion in the media. According to the article “On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media” by Sheera Frenkel “A search for the word “Jews” displayed 11,696 posts with the hashtag “#jewsdid911,” claiming that Jews had orchestrated the Sept. 11 terror attacks”, not only are these hatred comments spreading. (Frenkel, Sheera) But most of these social media companies don't do anything to regulate what these people are posting. People who often think it's acceptable to say hateful comments toward certain races are the ones who feel the most empowered because they hide behind a screen without facing any consequences.

Addiction to Social Media and Its Consequences

Furthermore, when we take a look at why social media has become so addictive we see that most people are always checking their phones, in the article “ Is your smartphone making you sick” by Carrier Clinic ̈ the average smartphone user checks their phone over 150 times each day”. (Carrier Clinic)This is one of the main concerns that is currently affecting teenagers all around the world. Because they are always on their phones and they forget to interact with one another to the point where a “hang out” becomes a let's go on our phones right next to each other. People can literally get into dangerous situations because they aren't checking their surroundings, for example, they stare down at their screens while they are walking to the point where they are causing accidents. In the article “Smartphones and the Rise of Child Accidents” by Jon Henley he states that “in America, towns have started fining pedestrians who use smartphones while they're walking”.(Henley, Jon) As bizarre as it sounds, it has come to a point where we now can not walk without having a phone in our hands. From personal experience, I have almost bumped into people because I was trying to send a text out and it does seem a bit excessive to be glued to your device.

Social Media and Body Image: Setting Unrealistic Standards

On the other hand, social media is also feeding teens wrong body expectations. This means that without even trying, your feed has become posts full of “healthy living” with Instagram models promoting fit teas and making sure we know what the “perfect” body looks like. According to an article “Eating Disorders” by Mental Health Foundation “1.25 million people in the UK suffer from disordered eating.''(Mental Health Foundation) And with posts of skinny bodies it's only feeding the number Teens shouldn't have any expectations of their bodies, they should be confident within their own skin and not be pressured into molding their bodies into “barbies”.

If we look at how these models get so thin, it creates a problem for the younger ones. Getting informed on how your body needs to be shaped at a young age, shouldn't be allowed. We already see that a “perfect” body is like the one Barbie has. we should add more pressure by showing bodies like Kim Kardashian, who has an unrealistic fake body due to surgeries. Then this brings up more problems and questions for young people like “Can I get surgery when I’m older or Why can’t I look like her?” Then this has now become a toxic environment for anyone who may have low self-esteem because they are now comparing themselves to people on these social media platforms.

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Social media is creating unrealistic expectations of a perfect life. Lives on social media are always displayed as better than what they really are because online you can show your life as whatever you want and hide the truth behind a screen. Social media can also make people feel isolated from the rest of the world. In the article “Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why” Katherine Hobson she states “For young adults, social media may not be social after all…... The images of other people’s seemingly perfect vacations, homes, and lives, even though those are not likely to represent reality, can make you feel like you're missing out”. (Hobson, Katherine)This indicates that the media can even make people feel lonely or like their life isn't adventurous or as exciting, which is not very healthy especially if young kids are on social media and are questioning why they might not have these luxurious lives. It’s causing a lot more mental health problems among teens. Most teens spend hours daily on social media which can affect them mentally. In the article “Is Social Media Bad for You? The Evidence and the Unknowns.” Jessica Brown, states that “two studies involving more than 700 students found that depressive symptoms, such as low mood and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, were linked to the quality of online interactions”.(Brown, Jessica) Cyberbullying is worse than bullying because you are being hurt mentally/emotionally and that can stay with you your whole life. Not only that but when it comes to online you can't really get away from it because we are living in a technology world where even refrigerators are becoming computers. The world is innovating which can only mean more people online and more depression and bullying can come with it.

For example, it is causing some teens to even lose sleep. Teen bodies need about 8-9 hours of sleep a day. In the article “Sleep for Teenagers” by National Sleep Foundation they discovered that “Most teens do not get enough sleep one study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 1/2 hours on a school night”.(National Sleep Foundation) If these teens are staying up all night on social media we can imagine how this can affect their school work. As a consequence, this can lead to sleeping in class, feeling tired, not focusing, and having mood swings. Parents/teachers can understand if a student needs to stay up to do work, they might have procrastinated but staying up to browse the internet isn't very acceptable. Not only that but then these teens can start to develop sleep deprivation and they are not even in college yet, which just goes to show how addictive it can be. It starts to become addicted to many. In the article “Social Media Addiction - Addiction Center.” by Addiction Center “psychologists estimate that as many as 5 to 10% of Americans meet the criteria for social media addiction today”.(Addiction Center) This means that people are consisting worrying about checking their social media and making sure they are on it 24/7. Not only is this highly unhealthy but this just starts to become absurd to be diagnosed with addiction over a phone literally is a crazy phenomenon. We let these networks control us to the point where doctors are not calling it an addiction. If no one sees a problem with media now, how far does it have to go until we finally take a stand together and help our kids for future generations?

The Pervasiveness of Social Media Among Younger Generations

The people just keep getting younger and younger on these social media apps in an article “What's the Age When Kids Start Social Media?” by Jaqueline Howard “ The report found that, overall, 56% of the children had their own social media accounts, based on the parents' survey responses”. (Howard, Jaqueline) This means that people online can literally be as young as 9 years old and we wouldn't even know it because online you can be whoever you want to be and I know that because I remember creating accounts using fake birthdays because there was a certain age requirement if I’m smart enough to get around the age restrictions imagine what kids nowadays are getting themselves into without even having to actually identify who they are and their age. This is becoming a big concern especially when there are adults on these social networks as well. Now some may argue that the media platforms can be a form to be creative, for example, in the article “Positive Effects of Social Media on Your Teen” by Lauren May she states that “ for young people who like to write or create graphics and digital designs, social media is an ideal place to share their work and get encouragement and feedback from others”.(May, Lauren) But what happens when they start getting negative comments or feedback? How do they process reality hitting them in the face with backlash about their “creativity”, it's not going to do them any good and they're young, they don't need to be getting feedback from people who are just going to tear them down they can wait until they get out in the real world.

Addressing Mental Health Issues and the Role of Social Media

Not only has the media created a toxic environment for most people online but it can cause mental health issues. For example, if you are trying to go to sleep and you happen to go online your mind is already in overdrive because you have broken that sleep cycle. Sleep deprivation can lead to a lot of anxiety, which is one of the most common mental health problems. People who spend more time on social media are a lot more prone to feel isolated. Isolation leads to one of the biggest epidemics that young people face right now, which is depression. The issue with this is that on social media, some people might think that it's “trendy” to be depressed because they might see people online expressing how sad their life is. This is not a good thought that people should be implementing in their minds. Networks are only going to grow from here. Most teens will have access to some sort of media but if we can start to change how teens interact online it can not only help with these mental illnesses but break the stigma online. Because what most people don't know is the media portrays mental illnesses as a bad thing or as jokes. We can not have people decide what depression means based off of what has been said online.

Conclusion: Balancing the Pros and Cons of Social Media

To conclude, social media has been a rapidly growing sensation since it was first discovered. Although it has its great benefits to help people connect from all over the world. Its negative impact overshines the positive ones which means it's becoming a problem for young people. Social media has a negative environment in our society because it has shown false expectations, such as; affecting the mindset of young ones, to the extent of becoming addicted to some. Overall, social media will continue to grow and progress but we can at least help avoid the negativity that it comes with. Social media is only as toxic as the people on there, these big companies need to be able to restrict things said online for the better of the teenagers or at least monitor their age limits and make sure that people who are under age are not online. In order for our teenagers and children to get a chance to have a normal childhood without the input of so much social media.

Work Cited

  1. Brown, Jessica. “Is Social Media Bad for You? The Evidence and the Unknowns.” BBC Future, BBC, 5 Jan. 2018, on October 6, 2019
  2. “Eating Disorders.” Mental Health Foundation, 28 May 2019, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  3. Frenkel, Sheera, et al. “On Instagram, 11,696 Examples of How Hate Thrives on Social Media.”
  4. The New York Times, The New York Times, 29 Oct. 2018, Accessed on November 5 2019 Accessed on October 6, 2019
  5. Hendricks, Drew. “The Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now.” Small Business Trends, 6 May 2013, Accessed on October 6, 2019
  6. Henley, Jon. “Smartphones and the Rise of Child Accidents.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 18 June 2013, Accessed on October 6, 2019
  7. Hobson, Katherine. “Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why.” NPR, NPR, 6 Mar. 2017, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  8. Howard, Jacqueline. “What's the Age When Kids Start Social Media?” CNN, Cable News Network, 22 June 2018, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  9. “Is Your Smartphone Making You Sick?” Carrier Clinic, 8 Aug. 2019, Accessed on October 6, 2019
  10. May, Lauren. “Positive Effects of Social Media on Your Teen.” Family Orbit Blog, 19 July 2019, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  11. McAteer, Oliver. “Gen Z Is Quitting Social Media in Droves Because It Makes Them Unhappy, Study Finds.” PR Week, PR Week Global, 4 Apr. 2019, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  12. “Sleep for Teenagers.” National Sleep Foundation, Accessed on November 5, 2019
  13. “Social Media Addiction - Addiction Center.” AddictionCenter, Accessed on November 5, 2019
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Appropriate Age for Social Media. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 20, 2024, from
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