What is Wrong With This Picture? Teens seem to always be surrounded by a device, mostly using social media. But why does it become dangerous to some teens?

Snap. Post. Like. Tag. Comment. These seem to be the only things teens are interested in these days. But why? Why have all of a sudden teens become anti-social? Maybe it’s because they can’t stand to spend at least 5 minutes away from their phones. It could also be because teens have the need to have a friend acknowledge them by tagging them in a picture, or to check whether they have more and more likes than they did before. But it could also just be that you just had a best friend that moved to California, for example, and you couldn’t communicate face to face. Then, you would just be using social media for simple communication. Although social media can be used in many different ways, it just gets bad when you decide to take a step too far.

Assorted Apps

First of all, many teens use different types of social media. These sites can differ from each other in many ways, and it is important to know what you might be sending to the receiver. Apps used by teens are mostly things like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. These apps are the most popular among teens, and even if they all have something to do with pictures, they all have different ways of communicating the message you are trying to send. For example, Facebook and Instagram keep whatever the post is, up permanently until deleted or blocked, but Snapchat only keeps the snap sent, up for only about 5 seconds. Just because of this, doesn’t mean that whatever is sent on Snapchat is different than whatever you send on another app, but it is an advantage to people who want to limit the most amount of rude comments as possible. There are also differences in how the sites or apps actually work. For instance, whereas Facebook is all about liking, commenting, and tagging, Instagram is all about followers, who you follow, and sharing or tagging people. Even though these sites are distinct, they do have similarities. In the end, there are many, many types of social media out there, mostly used by teens, and depending on how they use it is where the real problem might spark.

These are some the most popular apps that teens use for social media.

How Do They Use It?

Although many teens do use social media, it really depends on how they use it. It could be used just to contact an old friend or a relative that lives far away. But it could also be used in a negative way: cyberbullying. Yet sometimes it could only be that you are using social media too much, that you end up being dependent on it. Many teens don’t mean to use their phones as a weapon on other adolescents, but because you are behind a screen, you never know how the person is going to react to the thing you post or send. Yes, people can use social media just to let out their feelings, whether it’s anger, or excitement, it can affect the way the person reacts, causing them to get defensive or even get hurt from the message, even though you don’t mean it in that way. In the end, the way social media works and affects people can really only depend on if you decide to make whatever you are sending, posting, or commenting on, sound negative.

Negative Effects

Last but not least, there are negative effects of social media. The most common one is cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a way for people who are mad or upset about something, let their anger out through the internet. And they do this on innocent people. People that might have not done anything to upset the sender, yet they are still getting bullied. Common effects of negative social media are normally anxiety, and later on, depression. But when you are getting cyberbullied, effects could get worse, some leading to suicide. Some people just don’t understand how much is too much, and end up getting addicted to the screen.

“For girls in particular, they will say things to me like ‘Oh, my whole identity - I get my identity from my phone.’ ‘Like, what Snapchat - whose story I’m in? What Instagram post I have been tagged in.’” ~Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair

This means that many teens, especially girls, have a hard time when they aren’t mentioned in the posts of their friends. For example, many teens are getting depressed only because when someone doesn’t reply to their text or like their picture, they think the worst of themselves. Also, there is a very high chance for teens to easily get bullied even if they don't have social media. Carla Bella Crespo, a 23-year-old social media user, says that many teens are in danger of getting publicly harassed and then seeing themselves on social media in an disturbing picture of themselves.

“Everyone always has their phone out and it is very simple to easily take an embarrassing picture of someone without them even knowing. You’re in the spotlight constantly, and every move you make could be up on social media in an instant. I see my brother and his friends a lot on social media, and sometimes you can see that they don’t have the respect of someone else’s private life. Once the post is up, it will be seconds before everyone has seen it.” ~Carla Bella Crespo

Bully-Proof

In the end, just stay as far away as you can from bullies. For example, protect yourself by keeping all of your personal life and body in full protection. When you are changing in the locker room, you never know if someone is going to have their phone out. They could easily take a picture of you changing, and it would be up in instants, to late to take down without anyone seeing it. To keep yourself from accidentally becoming a cyberbully, take control over what pictures you post and think before you send; would this affect the receiver in a negative way. Don’t get yourself in a mess of social media bullying. “What I do to keep myself safe, is to block anyone who posts or leaves mean comments on my own posts,” says Carla. “I also limit my posts to only pictures about where I travel, because eventually social media is really there to show other people pictures of the nice places you’ve been and things you’ve made. It is also a different way to contact people who live long distances away. Not to hurt other human beings and make them feel bad about themselves.

"This is supposed to be a fun, social way of communicating with friends, and hopefully it stays that way.” ~Carla Bella Crespo
Stay safe from cyberbullies by keeping your own posts neutral!
Created By
Margaux Cowles
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