I know it's not your fault. The major social media websites (Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter) were less pronounced for me at your age, and although our age gap is a mere two years, our different mindsets and activities deem it, indeed, a generational gap; most likely due to the rapid, technological takeover.
I get it, it's easier to just send a snap, tweet your thoughts (for some of you people, a diary investment is highly encouraged), and putting the headphones in while texting your friends; it's more convenient, but does it have the same meaning as physically being in one's presence? Today's forms of media tend to depersonalize our communication with others.
Despite its convenience and select benefits, studies have been raving about its downsides.
Screens cannot replace faces
With the smartphone takeover came an overwhelming drop in happiness and overall life satisfaction in teens, shown by a study done by the National Library of Medicine, finding that "face-to-face interactions enhance well-being". Not only are social skills disappearing, but it's hard living in a digital era, where every time you go to scroll on your favorite social media site, you're bombarded with "fake" beauty, where everyone seems to be living their best lives, and you get a bad case of FOMO as well as a blow to your self-esteem, because Instagram is certainly a culprit for comparison. Remember, they haven't created job interviews through texting just yet, and life satisfaction continues to plummet.
Take the dang headphones out
Trust me, you'll have time to plug in and tune out when you're away at college. You want to remember the interactions now, the essential social skills that stay with you forever; on job interviews, dates (an area I have no right to put my two sense into), and forming new friendships as well as relationships. You don't want to isolate yourself during the foundational years of your life, and by constantly having headphones in, you're missing out on the now. Essentially, stop ignoring us on car rides, because I know what we have to say is far more interesting than Billie Eilish or Juice Wrld.
Stop "selfying," start living!
Yes, a selfie a day may help keep the self-negativity away, but ask yourself, "What else could I be doing?" instead of allocating only God knows how much time taking selfies next to that window in dad's room I know you love, editing "the one," posting it, then continuing to check your likes throughout the day, you could be doing so much more with your time. Getting involved, studying, socializing, literally anything else that can give you a much more enduring sense of adequacy than a short-lived, self-esteem boost from likes on a picture.
We all like a healthy dose of social media. It's convenient, a distraction when appropriate, and provides a platform for socializing when we're too lazy to abandon our Netflix binge and get up off the couch. It's important to remember that screens cannot replace the authenticity of face-to-face communication (unless you're Theodore from "Her").
So little sister, this was written with good intentions, and I hope to wake up tomorrow with my fingers still intact.