Social media affects students’ lives


Matthew Seiberlich

Snapchat is currently one of the most popular apps for teens.

Social media use amongst teenagers has been increasing rapidly in the last decade. According to news station WSLS, a “study showed that teens spend up to nine hours a day” on social media. This has been found to correlate with the increased development of technology and factors like the pandemic that limit face-to-face interactions.

Students at Homestead are no different. A survey conducted of 376 students grades 9-12 found that 88.4% of students surveyed use social media weekly, with Snapchat being the most used app at 55% of surveyed students using it, followed by Youtube (52%), Instagram (49.9%), Tik Tok (43.7%), and Google+ (21.2%).

Social media is extremely popular, and that popularity comes with a lot of criticism and controversy. Many people of all ages groups disagree on whether social media is a bad thing and should be limited or if it is a good thing, and to what extent the damage or benefits on either side extend.

The entertainment factor of social media is definitely a large draw of social media. Social Media’s primary intention and use, is as an entertainment platform.

“For me, it’s a way to like, not be bored, and so I use it a ton,” Owen Gudex, freshman social media user, said.

In addition to its entertainment value, social media also increases communication and the ability for users to meet people and see things.

“I think the interconnectedness of, not only students to other people their age in
other communities, but throughout the world is cool,” Drew Dixon, PE and freshman health teacher, said.

This interconnectedness is caused by the rapid evolution of social media. Just 60 years ago, cell phones didn’t even exist. Now nearly every teenager has one, and they use it to communicate not just with friends and family, but with people all over the Earth.

Social media is also a large source of information. Social media is one of the largest sources of news in the world, and many people use social media to discover the latest world updates.

“I think (Youtube) provides a good opportunity to research things. Oftentimes, students will find yoga apps and things like that to help stress reduction” Terry Carr, social-emotional coach, said.

Social media has its drawbacks though. Due to social media’s addictive nature and constantly updating format, students are constantly checking their feeds or pages to see what’s happening.

“I think it’s something that eats up a lot of attention and is probably a significant distraction for kids throughout the day,“ Dixon said when discussing social media’s effect on work.

Teenagers spend hours per day on social media, and many of them scroll through apps when they have homework to do or a test to study for.

In addition to being a distraction, there is an ever-increasing correlation between social media use and mental health issues such as anxiety and eating disorders.

Social media can introduce stress and pressure into a teenager’s life. This can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. There is also lots of evidence correlating social media’s perpetuation of beauty standards to an increase in eating disorders.

These mental health issues arrive from the “perfect life” that many social media stars seem to live. Teenagers see these people living their lives and are jealous and envious of them.

“If you’re tying your self worth to how you feel in comparison to this Instagram model who’s in like, Bora Bora, That’s a pretty tough sell for anybody, and they’re not even 100% honest,” Dixon said. “You get people like Kendall Jenner or Kylie Jenner or whoever, who they have been caught editing pictures, or whoever the celebrity is.”

Social media use is incredibly prevalent at Homestead and other high schools across the country. Social media is not inherently bad or good and definitely has its pros and cons when used correctly or incorrectly.

Social media is covered in many different classes at Homestead. From Freshman Health to Contemporary Computing, social media’s uses and impacts are widely explored in Homestead’s curriculum. Teaching about social media does face
some large challenges though.

“I think it’s really hard to do a truly spectacular and up-to-date job on educating about social media because it’s so dynamic, just like technology in the world is so dynamic, it’s always changing, and by the time you feel like you really get a grasp on things, it’s changed,” Dixon said.

Social media has a lot of great uses and benefits but can become a problem when used too much.

“It can be nice to be on social media, and I feel that, but it’s always good to have a break because it’s not something everyone should be relying on all the time,” Gudex said.

Social media is constantly evolving. New sites, trends, and stars are popping up on social media. How social media changes, and how the impacts change along with it, will only be told by time.