My name is Arnaz Amin, I am an eighth-grade student attending Brooklawn Middle School. I am writing this essay to inform people about how social media has and is still affecting my current generation. Several authors have written about this topic before, but to completely understand how social media affects today’s youth, you need an active social media member’s perspective on the subject. Social media has impacted many lives, and this is how it does.
Currently, the world’s population is 7.5 billion, 3.8 billion are internet users and 2.8 billion of them are social media users. 1.8 billion of the entire world population is made up by teenagers from the ages of 13-19 years old. Instagram alone has 500 million active monthly users. Instagram users have shared over 40 billion photos to date and share an average of 95 million photos and videos per day. Snapchat has 166 million daily users. Although adults do also use some social media, teenagers are the majority of users.
One of the most major impacts that social media has had on teenagers today is how we perform in school. It is one of the most distracting activities of everyday life. Recent experiments at UCLA have shown that nucleus accumbens (a part of the brain’s reward circuitry) was very active when teenagers saw that they had received a lot of likes on their photos that would influence to further use Instagram more often. This affects the loss of brain cells and further decreases better school performance. From my experience, I could be on social media for hours and hours at a time. The first year that I got social media was in 6th grade that was when I got my first smartphone. I did struggle to keep up with my school work and social media at the same time but as soon as I learned to refrain myself, school work became much easier and my grades improved greatly. Now, during the school year, I check social media less often because of homework and extracurricular activities after school. Even when I am doing my homework, it is still a struggle to refrain from checking all the notifications that are constantly being updated on my phone. When state testing time comes around, I am not allowed to have my phone with me after I come back from school because my parents want me to only focus on studying for the following day’s exam. As much as I dislike getting my phone taken away from me, I always come to understand that it has only helped me, especially with my school work.
Some other major impacts that social media has had on teenagers is peer pressure and cyber bullying. On any social media site, you can send a direct message to anyone that you want without even having to their phone number or having to follow them. This makes it so easy to cyber bully someone. Peer pressure has increased ever since social media has become popular. Teenagers look at pictures/videos of their peers doing illegal things such as drugs, drinking, etc. 55% of teens tried drugs for the first time because they felt pressured by their friends. 70% of teens who smoke say that they started smoking because their friends smoke or they felt peer pressure to try smoking. I myself have never been personally victimized by acts of peer pressure or cyber bullying through social media. Today these acts of bullying are taken very seriously and can lead to serious consequences. The school and police do get involved in some situations, but in order for things to be sorted out, the students have to speak up about the actual problem. That is, why our school encourage us to inform an adult about any bullying situations, and I am confident that it has helped.
The impact of social media on the current generation is becoming bigger and bigger every day. In my opinion, social media is just part of regular life now, everyone has it. Aside from all of the negative impact it has and continues to have, we really cannot live without it. We communicate through social media, we find out about important news through social media and so much more.