More Than Likes and Followers: The Pressure of Social Media

Our Everly Mag Writing Leaders were asked the question, what do you think is the biggest pressure teens your age are facing today?  We wanted to know what different types of pressure different teens might face and how we can all help each other with relieving some of this pressure. 

This article was written by our writing leader Eunseo.  Get to know our Summer 2018 Leaders here!

One of the biggest pressures teens my age are facing today is to look perfect on social media. Nowadays, social media can make a bigger impression than your actions. This causes unhealthy expectations.

Sometimes, we forget that social media is just your best moments. We forget how unhealthy it is to compare someone’s best moment to our life, when we don’t know what goes on when the camera isn’t on. If you look at your own social media profile, you know for a fact that social media does not reflect your whole personality. It can only capture so much. Social media is good to some extent, but can also be toxic if used too much.

One of my personal experiences is taking down a photo because it didn’t get enough “likes”. I let some random number determine my self worth. I remember constantly updating my page to check if I got enough “likes” to look good. I beat myself up, wondering to myself, “Why doesn’t this photo have 50 likes?”, I began to question my self worth and base my judgement of myself based on a “rating” or a “like” someone online gave me. Looking back at it, I don’t understand how that little number affected me so much.

Image: Elijah O’Donell via Unsplash

You are more than just a like on an Instagram post or a view on a Snapchat story. Those views and numbers are two dimensional and can only affect you if you let them. Those numbers do not determine your self worth. Your actions and how you treat others are the things that truly determine who you are and your true emotions and intentions.

Another personal experience I have had is trying to be someone else on social media. By that, I don’t mean pretending to be a completely different person, but creating a persona on social media that didn’t reflect who I really was as a person. Instead of making me happier like I thought, it instead made me more nervous when posting and about keeping that fake personality. Social media will only work if you present yourself just like you are in real life.

To adults, make sure your kids know social media is only part of the picture. Help them remember that even if they don’t look like that TV show star that they absolutely adore, or sound like that creative music account, they have their own beauty. When they get overly stressed over a small experience, encourage them to take a break and do something in real life. Encourage them to hang out with friends in person, or even just to go outside or read a book. Social media should be a supplement to their life, not the majority of it.

Image: Angela Franklin via Unsplash

To preteens and teens, remember social media does not result to all your real life actions. Remember that social media should be an extension of who you are in real life, not a completely different person. If you look genuine and authentic and happy on social media, it will make you look even more beautiful.

Social media should be a place of positivity and love, not a place for judgement and toxic figures. You are more than just an Instagram profile, the number of followers you have, or how many likes you get on a photo. You are a community member, a friend, a son or daughter, and you have an important place in the world.

Have you ever tried to be someone else on social media? Comment below!  

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