You’re watching a movie with a teenage girl who wakes up at 6 in the morning to get ready for school. Can you guess what the first thing she does?
She checks her phone and everything on it.
She looks at her group chats, texts, her friend’s morning TikTok, her cousin’s Instagram, and her boyfriend’s missed calls.
Okay, maybe it was in a different order, but what do they all have in common?
. . .
In 2016, PSYCOM did a report on teens and their cell phone habits. “The survey showed that 72 percent of teenagers feel the need to respond immediately to texts, social-networking messages, and other notifications… and 78 percent of teens check their devices at least hourly.”
With school starting back so suddenly for most, (high school for me) it’s so easy to get caught up in social media, and what others are doing. We become addicted to our body image, and being the new “it girl”, we look down on others, and try making names for ourselves without even realizing.
There is so much about this all which shows social media hurting teen girls.
It becomes part of our everyday lives, and we crave it more. It’s like a bottle of alcohol for our souls, and it consumes us more and more everyday.
Of course, social media can affect both males and females, but maybe there seems to be a specific effect on girls. Being a teenage girl myself, I feel the need to know what’s going on with my friends, my family, and the lives of celebrities too.
But let’s investigate what can happen when we subject ourselves to social media around the clock.
“In 2013, only about 43% of the teens in the study said they regularly checked social media multiple times per day. That rose to 59% in year two, and 68.5% in year three… frequent social-media use was associated with decreased mental health and well-being… responses to questions about psychological distress, life satisfaction, happiness and anxiety.”
What does this mean for teen girls? What happens when you take the phone away? Social media has seemed to be the answer for everything, which makes it a first responder to every bad feeling.
Not only will you want it more, but when our source of happiness disappears, it causes addiction, a need to feel connected to a phone, a need to know and feel jealous or hatred from seeing another person’s life.
Ultimately this tends to lead girls into a long life of unhappiness, and addiction to something that will never make you happy.
Cyberbullying can happen to anybody, but perhaps it has a bigger consequence on growing teenage girls. It creates a decline in self love, and eventually leading them to a lifetime of uncertainty about their own identity. This one is a big one for girls. Body image or what we see on social media, can be the worst factor on social media.
Everybody tends to send the most flattering pictures with filters, and makeup- things to cover up what we dislike about ourselves, which can be- anything.
Teenage girls tend to try measuring up to others’ beauty standards such as how your hair is supposed to look and what your body size should be.
It’s not uncommon for someone to look back and cringe at their pictures and hesitate to post something online for fear of judgment by others, judgment by yourself, and vulnerability putting yourself “out there” when clicking “POST”.
It could be different forms of bullying too. It could be racial issues, body shaming, trolling, public shaming, and more. This can result in depression, anxiety, and even dangerous things like suicide or self harm.
What This Means for Girls
Social media can always be a good thing for anybody; inspiration, good advice, and things to do. But how can we prevent social media hurting teen girls? Well first, not everything revolves around what you see on a post.
Not everybody’s lives are the same, and no matter how real it looks, everybody has trouble in their life, not just you.
Try to avoid spending all your life on Instagram. Create time away, or create a time limit on how much you can be on social media.
Next, know who you are.
It may sound complicated, but having a semi-clear idea of who you are is crucial. No one can tell you how dumb you are if you know you’re smart!
Finally, if you know someone who’s upset by what they see, hear and experience on social media, talk to them. Let them know that life is more than what the new fashion trend is. Look up from the phone!
There is so much more you can see than YouTube videos of puppies (though puppies are hard to beat). Explore, write a story, compliment someone, do something that you could never do on social media!
Don’t miss out on everything because of an unwanted phone addiction — live!
For more information and advice on this issue, visit this article from GirlSpring.