The Reality Of Today’s Youth And Social Media
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The Reality Of Today’s Youth And Social Media

Is social media more harming than helpful? The answer is "yes."

The Reality Of Today’s Youth And Social Media

I strongly believe that nowadays, children feel like they are forced to grow up so much faster, due to having social media already at such a young age. I'm only 20 years old, and I'm not old, but I remember when I was in elementary school, and middle school, I was not allowed to have any kind of social media accounts. Now that I am older and very knowledgeable about it, I can understand why my parents chose to do so. In the long run, it benefitted me, by not feeling some sort of pressure or influence from anything, or anybody.

Nowadays, I see so many CHILDREN, having access to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat all around. Without intention, sometimes, there are parents who just give their phones to their kids to occupy them, when they really do not know what's going on. Above all, I feel that Instagram is the biggest target of today's youth in many aspects. It can specifically harm a child's or teen's mindset such as their thought process, the actions they take, or their personal beliefs. No matter what any of these actions or thoughts are, usually, they pertain to a negative way of handling things.

With today's styles and trends, so many kids are being somewhat FORCED to look or act a certain way, or "society won't accept them." Although this might sound a bit ridiculous, it is certainly not. I see so many young girls at the mall and out at restaurants, dressing as if they are adults when they are probably between the ages of 13 and 17. There should be no reason for children to feel like they NEED to dress a certain way to "feel" older or to RUSH growing up. Children should enjoy all the years of their youth. Like I have mentioned, with Instagram becoming even more popular, what is this TRULY doing for today's youth? What kind of message is everything they are seeing sending to their minds? In my opinion, it's doing more harm than good.

To begin with, I didn't have a phone until I was in sixth grade. Many people in today's society could say that that is pretty "ridiculous" to get one "that late". Honestly, it was a blessing. I didn't have a smartphone, and I had just a basic slide phone with a keyboard, that only allowed me to text or call my parents or friends. In addition, without having access to the internet. Some would say that my parents have "shut me out" and "kept me in a box" or "excluded me" from exploring the world through the internet, but truly, all they were doing was protecting me from what is now happening in today's youth—chaos and frustration.

Years ago, when I was in sixth grade, my first thought wasn't about having social media. Although Facebook and Twitter were already created years before I entered my middle school years, I am lucky enough to say that I am grateful that Instagram and Snapchat were NOT created yet during that time. Instagram was launched in 2010 and Snapchat was founded in 2011. Don't get me wrong, as an adult, I love being able to see what my friends are up to and seeing the exciting things that are happening around the world, BUT, there are also potential risks to it all. There are times where I get stressed out and just feel like I need to check something when in reality, there really isn't a reason to. Think about this—if I'm feeling this way, imagine how these children are feeling, and I could only imagine what they are FACING in today's schools.

For some, many might get frustrated if they don't have "enough" likes on their posts. In my opinion, it would honestly feel great to just delete the apps at least for even a week, to see the difference, even though I do love the platforms, more than I have issues with them. My main concern that I am addressing, is how today's youth is handling their stress, worries, or frustrations, with themselves, others, and the way that they perceive their everyday lifestyle. In reality, they aren't handling it well, and I'm sure it's taking a toll on their lives and they don't even know it yet. There are times as well, where it can be too late.

In middle school, everyone wants to fit in. Didn't we all want to? Of course! But with social media continuously growing and expanding in content, many young girls specifically, feel that they "need" to look a certain way. Going back to when I was in middle school, I remember that at times, I compared myself to other girls whether it be how they looked, or their personality traits—which can be a common thing, and I'm sure that many of you who are reading this can agree also. My point is, that many young girls are targeted in a way in regard to their body image and wanting to look a certain way in that area as well. As a result of this, people on Instagram, women specifically, post pictures of themselves with an insane number of filters, including a ridiculous amount of editing, which truly is NOT what they REALLY look like in real life. This is just one aspect that has warped a lot of today's youth, feeling as if they "need" to look like that because the person has the "ideal" body.

This is the same for boys as well. Little boys or even teens for that matter, do NOT need to think that they need a six-pack or big arms, to attract someone they like. In most cases, a wonderful, genuine, and caring personality can outshine all of the physical appearances. People can put themselves out there on social media, in a way that is completely false and nowhere near realistic to who they are. In many cases, young children, and teens put UNREALISTIC expectations on themselves and become stressed over things that I never even thought about or considered, when I was their age, not too long ago. Time has truly flown by since I was in middle school, and I feel that social media is developing way too quickly, and it's only going to grow and continue from here.

Social media has also taken away a lot of a child's ability to learn how to socialize and communicate in the real world. I'll even say that there are times where it's just easier and feels more comfortable to send a text, rather than deciding to find a quiet place and to call someone on the phone. Nowadays, it's "I'll just make a Tweet," or "I'll just post a picture," or "I'll leave a comment." But how is that REALLY beneficial? Well, it's just not. Children are now unintentionally learning how to not communicate properly and respectfully to their peers, along with authority figures such as their parents or teachers. Furthermore, today's youth might find it difficult to make friends in the classroom as well, which is a sad but very true part of all of this. I'm sure that many kids can either say or have unfortunately been told in school, "he's not one of us," or "why do you want to hang with her? She's so lame," "we're the popular group," or even saying, "you can't sit with us, this seat is saved," at lunch. It's the little things that can truly harm and negatively impact the ways that a child thinks about themselves.

This world is expanding and enhancing incredibly quickly, that sometimes it's hard to keep up with today's trends and topics. The sad part about it all is that today's youth doesn't realize that they are being sucked into, and they are being unintentionally warped into what society "admires" or "aspires" them to be.

Coming from myself as a future educator, we need to continue to build up children and not tear them down. We need to encourage them to NOT look at the things that tell them they "should look a certain way." But rather, tell them each and every day, that they are ENOUGH, and that they are more than fantastic, talented, beautiful, handsome, incredible, and unique. Tell them to show the world who they are, and to believe in what they stand for, and what is right.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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