Social media and what its doing to teens

Social media and what its doing to teens

by GRACE VAUGHN, Staff Writer 

Social Media

According to the Mayo Clinic, most American teens use social media; that number currently sits at 97 percent. 2018 data shows teens between the ages of 13-17 use at least one social media platform. As a teen, I wonder what's happening behind the scenes while I use social media. Do you know what's happening every time you click on something? Or shop online? Well, I can tell you. 

When you open a social media platform or like a post on Instagram, do you know where that data is going? Do you know how it's being used? Every picture you like, every article you read, and every website you open is saved for later usage through cookies. Not the kind you eat but a small piece of data that keeps information from your web browser to give you a more enjoyable experience while surfing the web. 

When using cookies, you must give the website permission, but the website has access to information like a credit card number, password, or shipping address once you do. This sensitive information is saved to that database through an IP address. What some people don't know is that cookies are tracking everything you do online. Google uses that information to pull up advertisements similar to whatever website you are currently on. 

Cookies don't sound inherently concerning, but when cookies are accepted on every social media platform, it creates a very biased web page where everything on your phone is meant to intrigue you. You will not want to exit the podium if all of your interests are always popping up and keeping you engaged. Social media companies do this on purpose. They want you to use social media as a way to relate to life and other people, but that slowly preys on your insecurities and your fears, causing you to start looking for validation from other people. But social media is not all that bad. Teenagers can also gain better social skills and bond with their friends. They can also use it as a way of being creative and sharing their creativity with friends. Social media has its benefits but also has many downsides for young teens. 

Social media started as a way to create new friends and bond with people, but as companies continued to make more money, they discovered small ways to make people stay on the app. Overuse of social media among teens creates a negative outlook on life. Studies have shown that social media has caused sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and symptoms of ADHD. Social media has also caused people to interact less in person, and instead, they text or "snap" people. 

Teens use social media as a temporary confidence boost by posting on Instagram and getting "likes" or using Snapchat as a way to feel less lonely and search for validation. Social media platforms are great ways to socialize and stay up to date with celebrities and things you enjoy, but they can also cause a massive breach in your privacy.