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13 Teenage Girls On The Impact Of Social Media

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Cynthia Rowley, Photographed By Kisha Bari

It’s no secret that technology and the digital age we’re currently operating within is affecting us all. Parents, cousins, in-laws, children—we’re so interconnected through the World Wide Web and the apps that come with it that you’d be hard pressed to find an individual who doesn’t engage in a digital experience on the daily. However, it appears that those impacted the most are our teens, specifically teenage girls. There have been countless articles on teenagers and social media use, from secret social media lives to studies of spikes in anxiety. We’ve even covered Teens and Tech here on Mother. With so much information readily available, it can be difficult to decipher what’s what when it comes to our kids and technology, which is why we’ve decided to go straight to the source and find out just how participating in popular apps like Snapchat and Instagram contributes to our youth. We posed the question: How does social media affect you on a day-to-day basis? Read the responses of over a dozen teenage girls, below.

“Social media is addictive. I’m constantly looking at my phone for ‘likes’ or ‘snaps’. It’s a great way to connect with new friends and people, however my attention span does go down a lot. Having social media, along with sports and other activities can be very helpful and useful. If I want to chill out with my softball friends outside of school, or if I need to talk and connect with coaches for athletic purposes, I can do that through Twitter specifically. I enjoy social media, but it does affect performances in school and can cause a lot of drama. In the end, I believe social media is both a blessing and a curse.” -Lauren, 15

“Social media has a big impact on my life. I use it to read or listen to events that happen all over the world. It keeps me connected and updated on my friends. Bragging and posting about my experiences helps me remember and document for later. Two of my favorite social media platforms are Snapchat and Instagram. I get to look at food, dogs, and other cute animals. On Snapchat, I get to communicate with my friends using photos which is very convenient. There’s also a bad side to social media. Sometimes people send unwanted, scandalous things which is a big no-no. But, it’s easy to block people and sometimes prevent it from happening. I dislike posting photos of myself because I feel like I’ll get judged harshly. Sometimes seeing other people makes me feel like I’m not good enough.” -Alyssa, 17

“There’s a lot of discrimination and racism within the world. As a black, gay, young woman in America, it’s something I have to be aware of because it personally affects me, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be as aware of it without social media because I have only had a few real-life moments where I have had to face it. Seeing it all over social media makes me realize that it happens a lot more than I see. It’s something that makes me sad and I find that it contributes to my anxiety and depression. But at the same time, if I wasn’t aware then I wouldn’t be able to make a change. Social media shows us all of the bad in the world and it’s up to us to change it. That’s just one example of how social media affects me day-to-day. There isn’t a day that I don’t see discrimination on social media and there isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t make me angry. There also isn’t a day that goes by where I would say it doesn’t fuel me to fight against the wrong and also try to be a nicer person because the world needs good, nice people in it because it seems like there just simply aren’t a lot of them.” -Lottie, 16

“The upside to social media for me is that I remain more connected. I don’t really watch the news, so I get my news updates from social media. I also like being able to see what my friends are up to. The down side to social media is that it forms this subconscious idea in your head about what you think you should look like or act like. Also, it’s really easy to spend way to much time on it. So, overall, I think it can be a really good thing, but I also think you have to be careful to not take it too seriously and to know your worth outside of social media.” -Theresa, 15

“Social media has affected me on a day-to-day basis by somewhat breaking me down, but also building me up. I see all of these stunning models and girls with perfect skin and hair, and that makes me feel overly insecure. On other days, however, I experience confidence-building through social media when girls choose to show that it’s okay to get acne and be larger than a size four. I also try and choose to not to let the negative social media users affect me in any way. You could say that social media also made me stronger after posting a few things that not everyone took liking to. I was called out on Twitter by people claiming that I was ‘too big to be a cheerleader’, and it made me feel terrible about myself at first. But, after speaking to many close friends and having others support me on my accounts, I realized that I shouldn’t care what others think, and that negative opinions are irrelevant.” -Ashtin, 18

“Social media affects my daily life because it’s something that connects me to the world around me, good or bad. It helps me see what different people I know are doing and what makes them happy. For my basketball team specifically, it lets us all communicate with each other and keep in contact after the season is over. I think that social media is a good thing to have, but sometimes it is used in negative ways.” -Taylor, 16

“The ways that social media positively affect me is that I get to communicate with my friends on a daily basis and make future plans. Plus, it provides entertainment. But, social media also affects me in a lot of negative ways. It makes me feel excluded and left out when I see friends of mine having fun without me. Things get miscommunicated over the phone, which can end up resulting in an argument. Social media also makes me feel bad when I see that people are more successful or more well off, and makes me feel discouraged at times, like I won’t be able to get to where they are myself.” -Alice, 15

“Social media is very consistent throughout my entire day from the moment I wake up until the moment I close my eyes. Social media is amazing because it lets people interact with everyone and know what people are up to, but at the same time it’s a constant invasion of privacy. Instagram has gotten very popular, but it affects my self confidence, because some posts are putting out an image that just ruins your idea of body image.” -Diana, 17

“Social media affects me positively more than negatively. The positive tends to happen more with pictures and things I post on Instagram. Some negativity has come from Twitter, yet I don’t really let whatever happens bothers me. The reason it doesn’t bother me is because most of the time other people’s opinions of me don’t matter, and I could care less what they think. Although, I am on social media everyday just because I feel the need to stay connected to what’s going on in other states, and to stay up-to-date with current news.” -Jenna, 16

“I feel like social media affects me positively because it’s easy to keep in contact with my friends and family, but it affects me negatively by allowing me to compare myself to other people.” -Kylie, 15

“Social media affects me on a day-to-day basis because every post makes me feel differently. Some could be funny, sad, or happy—you never know. People judge each other every day based on what they post, and that can make people feel insecure or unwanted. For me, personally, I just want everyone to enjoy what I post and if someone were to respond negatively, that would make me feel badly. I go on at least one social media app a day, and spend a good amount of time on it. So, social media takes up much of my time.” -Alexia, 16

“I primarily used social media as a way to communicate with people I wouldn’t have been able to talk to otherwise. I’ve met a lot of people like myself out there, like those that do art and love to cosplay. They’re my kind of people, and being able to find so many people that relate to me just feels really nice. Not very many people where I live relate to that.” -Sammantha, 16

“Social media has created so many disadvantages for me in my life. It makes me always want to check my phone to see what everyone else is doing and makes me feel bad if I’m not there or if I’m not having as much fun. It can also, eventually, cut you off from friendships. This happens because it’s so easy to text and ‘snap’ without having to actually have conversations with people. Girls are spending more time on their phones instead of actually living their lives, and the thought of ‘not being good enough’ is constantly going through their minds. I it see all the time on social media, girls going out of there way to do over the top things just for a photo. Social media has effected my life so much and I didn’t join any of these social networks until I was in high school. I can’t imagine how it will effect the younger generation.” -Katie, 18

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