Social Media’s Unintended Consequences

By ARIANNA SCAVONE

You wake up, roll over and before doing anything else check the notifications on your phone. With no texts, Facebook notifications or Snapchats from your best friends, you start to feel the rejection before you even get out of bed. You wonder if everyone feels this way. Very often the answer is yes. Insecurity is becoming woven into teenagers’ lives and holds a suspicious correlation to social media.

AP Psychology teacher Ms. Hynes regularly tells her students, “Correlation does not imply causation.” However, students can’t help but blame a lot of their problems on social media. Jericho senior, Nikki B. said “I think social media has a largely negative effect on people because most of what people put out there isn’t real.” Seeing the best of others’ bodies, vacations and daily adventures can minimize the satisfaction one feels about his or her own activities. According to Ms. Hynes, there is ample research that shows social media increases narcissistic tendencies in some and intensifies insecurity in others. “It seems to me that exposure to social media polarizes people’s self-esteem—in other words, social media doesn’t create narcissism or insecurities, but instead intensifies whatever was already there,” said Ms. Hynes.

Essena O'Neill, former Instagram "celebrity" edited captions on old photos to reveal what she felt she should have been really saying.

Social media star Essena O’Neil advocates against use of sites such as Instagram. “Anyone addicted to social media fame like I once was, is not in a conscious state,” wrote O’Neil in a caption on Instagram. In her videos, O’Neil talks about how insecure her social media career has made her feel.

Some students are able to express the insecurity that social media breeds. Senior Alexis C. said, “When people have cool lives it makes me unhappy with my own.” On the other hand, Nikki B. feels secure with her social media presence since she believes that people only publish what they want others to see, not the whole picture. Senior Leah S. agrees and said, “You’re supposed to put your real face forward. Facetuning and Photoshopping your body are more degrading to yourself than anyone else.” 

Many wish for this trend to cease.  Jericho Social Worker Mr. Benjamin said, “I hope that as a community, teens in Jericho can learn the emotional skills to be true to themselves, value good friends and embrace a healthy lifestyle that is not dictated by social media.”

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One Comment

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  • Bela Kirpalani
    27 May 2016 at 11:24 am - Reply

    A very interesting and thought-provoking article Arianna!

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