“Present Yourself For Who You Are” – Faking Our Lives, Socially

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With social media at the fingertips of every teenager, this generation has grown up influenced by the images they see every day. Unfortunately, social media can be filled with false information which causes students to set unreasonable expectations for themselves to live up to.

“I think that [social media] can peer pressure people. It’s so dumb. It’s so stupid,” said sophomore Ian Ortman. “If you photoshop your picture on social media, you shouldn’t be on social media. Just present yourself for who you are. People will love you for who you are.”

Many people look up to role models and influencers on social media, even if they aren’t their true selves.

“I don’t think people should look up to fake role models because they’re not actually real. You should look up to people who are good role models and who will help you be a better person,” said Ortman.

Social media being so easily accessible may increase the exposure to elements that might not be beneficial for mental health.

According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Time spent on social media may increase the risk of experiencing cyberbullying.” Seeing other people on social media “may also expose adolescents to idealized self-presentations that negatively influence body image and encourage social comparisons.”
Influencers on social media can sometimes make other people feel worse about themselves since they don’t believe they can live up to a certain standard.

“I don’t think [comparing yourself to others is] a good influence, clearly. Because sometimes these social media influencers, they advocate poor values and sometimes unrealistic expectations on people,” said sophomore Jake Milanski.

Milanski is not alone in his opinion about social media influencers. .

“I think it’s mainly about how they’re affecting other people,” said senior Maggie Fox. “If there’s younger people that are looking up to them and they’re promoting something that’s not a healthy lifestyle, especially setting standards that are impossible to reach, it’s unhealthy for other people that will look up to them.”

It is human instinct to try to impress other people and social media is an easy gateway to do so.

“There is absolutely no reason to be fake. If you’re fake then you’re just lying to yourself and everyone else, so why would you want to be mean to yourself like that and lie? It’s a fraud,” said sophomore Grace Reivich.

Adults also see the unrealistic expectations students believe they need to live up to.

“I think what’s dangerous about that is everybody just posts all the good things that happen and not reality […] I think that’s really dangerous and I think that’s where a lot of depression comes in,” said Kelly Fano, a volunteer choir assistant.

Social media is available to everyone, and is sometimes a huge part of people’s lives. Without integrity online, it can take a toll on students.

According to a study by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, teenagers who spend more than 3 hours a day on social media are exposed to the risk of depression, anxiety and other illnesses and are more likely to form bad feelings about themselves.