By Stevi Valenzuela, student journalist for Minarets Press
Social media has been a big problem ever since its beginning. More recently, it has more or less taken over the lives of teenagers all over the globe. Apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Twitter, and Discord have ruled young minds for some time now. We need to talk about it.
Over time, different developers have come up with social media apps for all ages, mainly targeted towards teenagers and young adults. These apps have come to bring very negative effects while they’ve been around. In a survey sent out to the students and staff of Minarets, with roughly 100 people responding, nearly half said they thought the fact of social being negative or positive depends on the app and environment of followers and people you follow.
One student said, “I think that social media is neither positive nor negative. I think it is up to the people you have on your social media and the stuff going on around you. In my experience, I used to have lots of drama and people being negative but now I have just positive vibes.”
Students and staff have a wide variety of thoughts on social media and the apps they use. With 72.8% of students using Instagram the most and Snapchat closely following with 54.4%. Students have said Instagram has a healthier environment than most other apps, although the app still has its downfalls. Trying to get the most likes, comparing yourself to others, and is very time-consuming. Still, the positives outweigh the negatives. Instagram has numerous pages that help with mental health, athletic pages to help you get motivated, and even news sites that release information on events as they are happening.
Social studies teacher Ben Regonini shared his thoughts on social media and the effects it has on students and adults.
“There’s a lot of social clout kind of attached to it, numbers of followers, numbers of likes, numbers of views you get, whatever it might be. But again it also allows you to kind of express yourself and does things that people probably wouldn’t know you know how to do on your own, with all the dancing that comes with it.” Regonini has strong opinions about social media, as do other staff members.
Counselor Claudia Vandenbergh touched on the subject as well saying, “It’s both positive and negative; it can be very helpful for getting information out and for connection. AND it can be really negative too in terms of getting sucked in and addicted. And can have a big impact on self-esteem.” Self-esteem is a huge problem with all social media apps, in that people can cause you to think less of yourself, look down on your looks or clothing, and make you unhappy with everything. A way to prevent that from happening is by following people that will lift you up.
Senior Hailey Mansfield has some interesting points to make. She brings up the point that no matter the app you use, they all help you communicate with your friends and family and post things for all of them to see. They can also lift your spirits when you are upset and inspire you to be a better person and the best version of yourself you can be.
Social media has a wide variety of impacts and effects on everyone’s mind and life in general, looking into how people actually feel about it reveals the positives really outweigh the negative, depending on the environment you surround yourself with and how you decide to act online. Remember to be safe on the Internet and be the best you possible.