“As I looked around me, it was obvious that the most plugged in of my friends were consistently the most anxious and insecure.”
While social media has allowed young people to connect with each other in new ways, it has brought with it a whole new set of pressures and problems.
A young woman named Rikki Schlott writes at the New York Post:
Gen Z former social media addict knows Instagram destroys young lives
At age 11, I opened up an Instagram account. All my friends were there, so why not?
It started out innocently enough as I shared photos of sunsets and my dogs with a couple dozen followers. But, as Instagram became more ubiquitous and adolescence set in, my experience morphed into something altogether different. I would lay in bed nightly, illuminated by the blue glow of my iPhone, just scrolling. The minutes — sometimes hours — would disappear as I browsed the highlight reels of everybody else’s lives. I began to idolize perfectly proportioned influencers, holding my developing frame up to photoshopped ideals. My likes and my follower count became demented metrics of self-worth. Like any teen girl, I had my insecurities and Instagram seemed only to exacerbate them.
As I looked around me, it was obvious that the most plugged in of my friends were consistently the most anxious and insecure. It soon became clear to me that Instagram was not a force for good, so in high school I resolved to reclaim my youth by limiting my time on social media.
Because I’ve experienced firsthand the toxic mixture of social media and adolescent angst, I was horrified by a recent Wall Street Journal exposé that revealed Facebook, which owns Instagram, knows its platforms are damaging to teenage mental health. Posted to the company’s internal message boards were damning statistics like “teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression” and “we make body image worse for one in three teen girls.”
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