Teens should cherish their youth, social media says otherwise


Photo Credit: Photo credit via Flickr (Lars Plougmann)

Social media and technology is all around us. This generation of kids and teens have been exposed to more things on the internet than any other generation.

By: Katherine Albuquerque, Editor

In today’s day and age, social media determines society’s trends and beauty standards. Filters that change your appearance, clothing styles, and audio trends are the main focus of adolescents.

The social media trends of this century certainly have changed the mindset of youngsters. Advertisements from makeup brands and clothing stores are pouring into their Instagram, Snapchat, and Tiktok accounts. This is causing an absolute frenzy and obsession with looking perfect and older.

According to the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “ninety percent of teens ages 13-17 have used social media.” As a result, most have an active social profile, which consumes most of their time. The Pew Research Center reports that over fifty percent of teens visit social media several times a day. 

Many wonder why teens are online so frequently. The reason is simple, self-esteem and peer pressure. Teens often equate their self-worth and image to their online presence. Having a lot of followers, getting compliments, and being acknowledged for keeping up with trends can make teens feel good about themselves. In addition, wanting to fit in with what their friends are doing may push them to have a stronger social media presence. 

However, keeping up with these trends may be detrimental to a young teen’s life. Filters across all social media platforms often change one’s facial features as well as adding more mature makeup. These filters can cause insecurities and put pressure on adolescents to look in a more grown-up way.

Social Media Trends

Fashion trends, such as crop tops and revealing clothing are also affecting tweens. Social media impacts the fashion industry tremendously. In most stores targeted to teenagers, it’s difficult to find a normal-length shirt since everything is cropped, ripped, or skin-tight. 

Having a lack of fashion options can push adolescents to feel pressured to buy these types of clothing in order to fit in. I remember when I was 12, I was still wearing neon-colored leggings and animal printed shirts from Justice. Now kids are wearing crop tops that show their entire stomachs. 

Lastly, suggestive trends, often found on Tiktok, can further push teenagers into sexualizing themselves. This once again puts them in harm’s way. Trending audios that include suggestive sounds and inappropriate lyrics, as well as inappropriate dance trends negatively influence teenagers on a daily basis. 

Final Thoughts

I think the difference in today’s adolescents versus older generations is obvious- the increase of social media and technology. While social media can help adolescents in many ways (keeping up with news, more validation towards mental health, etc.), the trends and beauty standards it creates often prevent young teens from enjoying their youth. It forces them to grow up faster than they should- their time as young teenagers only happen once. 

Social media should portray a minor role in shaping adolescents’ lives. Teens should not live in the shadows of social media, but rather shine a light on their own unique reality.