Don’t Like Social Media? Get off.

By Kareem McLeod

The first ever social media site was created in 1997. It was used to create profiles, for emailing, voice chat, message boards and much more. It had about 3,500,00 registered members.  Flash-forward 26 years later in the 21st century, and social media has spread widely throughout the world.  A study done by Pew Research, shows that about 95% of teens between the ages of 13-17 use at least one social media app. This is more than the 82% of adults between the ages of 18-49 that use social media.  
I think part of the reason that so many teens are on social media is the fact that it provides comfort. You’re able to have fun, be entertained, contact friends, family and so much more.
“I love social media as it keeps me updated with current trends, news, family and friends. I also get to explore my interests and look for inspiration,” said 11th grader Anoushka Iyer.
Many of my friends at Leman can say this, not to mention that social media algorithms are designed specifically for each person. All social media apps sort posts on a user’s feed based on what would be relevant to that specific user. So every time we comment, like or share a video, we are helping the algorithm to determine what content will show up on our feed.
While social media does provide comfort, many argue that it does the opposite. With the rise of influencers, so many teens and even adults look up to them, even idolize them. So many people are wrapped up in the lives of these celebrities and influencers that they soon become unhappy with themselves and find discomfort in their life. They begin to ask themselves “why can’t I look like that?” or tell themselves things like “if I looked like that, I would never complain”. Because of so many teens doing this, it has become popular for so many adults to blame influencers, but in my opinion influencers aren’t the ones to be blamed here.
While many influencers and celebrities do post their luxurious lifestyles and post their “perfect” bodies for many viewers to watch, it’s their obligation to as they’re being paid thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars for it. It’s the viewers’ job to interpret it. If you look at an obviously edited photo of a beauty influencer and feel insecure about it, then it is a personal responsibility to reflect on those insecurities and where they stem from rather than projecting them onto others. Unless an influencer is promoting bad or unsafe behaviors, your problems aren’t necessarily anyone else’s problem.
Many teens complain about how much time they spend on social media, or how draining it is and even saying they don’t like it. If that is the case, get off of social media. While social media apps are at fault for new concepts to keep users on these apps to give us instant gratification, the decision is yours to make. You are responsible for your time usage, who you unfollow, clicking the “uninterested” button and whether or not you delete the apps. You must be able to hold yourself accountable enough to know when enough is enough.
Overall, I think as we grow up, we have to know what’s good for us. If social media doesn’t provide comfort, or make us feel safe or even happy, we have to get off of it in order to benefit ourselves. I love using social media but even I have had to take a detox from it in the past. An important question to ask ourselves is if social media is worth our mental health. I urge you to step back from the screen and take time for yourself. You are worth so much more than likes, follows, comments and views.