The Impact of Social Media

June 14, 2021

The media–particularly social media–is a large part of any adolescent’s life. And unsurprisingly, it has had effects on all genders and types of people.

Historically, teenage years have always been a time where people felt judged for their looks and body by friends, family and society. However, with the rise of social media, our generation is placed in a situation of constant comparison. The importance of being “picture perfect” now takes center stage in our lives.

“We spend so much time looking at other people who may be putting filters on their photos or positioning themselves in a way where you can’t tell what their body actually looks like,” Cohen said.

With the help of filters and photo editing apps, individuals can erase their minor imperfections and present themselves as what society deems to be perfect.

“I used to edit my photos because it was so accessible–right at my fingertips. Even with the smallest imperfection, I was able to fix it within seconds,” Klein said. “For most of us, hating our bodies and photoshopping our photos go hand in hand.”

For most of us, hating our bodies and photoshopping our photos go hand in hand.”

— Samantha Klein, 10

In a world where appearances can be edited to perfection, media platforms present an unrealistic Barbie-doll comparison for the female population. However, it’s not only women anymore: continuous exposure to the media has heightened male insecurities as well.

“In the Instagram-consumed, airbrushed world we live in, how you look has been elevated so much for both men and women. There are a lot more guys that are self-conscious about their bodies than many realize,” Anderson said.

Social media creates a never-ending cycle of negativity for many students. Whether it’s comparing one photo to another or striving to get more likes, there’s constantly an unattainable cloud of what your body should look like hovering above this generation.

For some, the hardest part of keeping a good self-image is trying not to compare said self-image to others. But if there’s one thing everyone should remember, it’s that social media isn’t the end-all be-all. Appearance isn’t the end-all-be-all.

“The issue has been turned up a notch because you’re all taking on so much information explaining what life should be, and that can create a lot of insecurity,” Anderson said. “I feel for high schoolers nowadays.They have pressure I never had to think about.”

 

*Source: Park Nicollet Melrose Center, https://www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf

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