Students say social media affects their self image


Siena Usui and Maia D'Amato

As you scroll through your Instagram, a jolt of fulfillment rises in you as the recent picture you posted has 199 likes. Some Mid-Pacific students said social media has affected the way they view themselves.

Being a teenager in the digital age has a lot of challenges. The younger generations have recognized that compared to their grandparents, the problems that they face are of entirely a different kind, according to a study from Pew Research Center. Such issues include social media.

One of those difficulties is having insecurities about their “popularity,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

For  one 11th grade student Kennedy Flores, the amount of Instagram followers she has  impacts the way she views herself. She owns an art page where she posts photos of her digital drawings, but she said she too can be influenced by the media.

“Business wise, maintaining the amount of Instagram followers I have matters,” said Flores, who has about 300 followers on Instagram.

Flores sells art using her Instagram page, and she also uses it as a portfolio. When her follower count drops, she said she begins to think that the public disliked her art and unfollowed her as a result.

Just like Flores, many students said most teenagers want to maintain their following or even increase their following. The obsession of gaining more followers can be a sign of seeking validation, said Flores.

On the other hand, not everyone thinks the amount of Instagram followers they have has a huge impact on them.

“It doesn’t really matter as much to me because it’s just an app, it shouldn’t be my biggest concern,” said 9th grader Ella Ann Wong.

Posting on your own Instagram account is entirely up to the owner.

“I post what I want and what I’m confident posting,” said 10th grader Mika Maii.

Instagram has a huge reach and connects millions of people to each other. Spending a lot of time being concerned with how much people follow you can get out of hand, resulting in mental and physical problems, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

A break is encouraged for students who feel like they’re obsessed with constantly checking Instagram. The pressure that’s put on them and the expectations they feel like they need to meet can be stressful, so taking a break may help to rejuvenate them.

Behavior analyst Jessie Mitchell offered some tips on how to unplug yourself from social media.

“Hobbies. Sports. Academics. Family relationships, friendships are way more important than social media,” said Mitchell.

Simply going on a hike or going to the beach can restore mental energy, according to Business Insider.

“Being outside is so calming. Why would you wanna miss out on that you know?” said Maii.