WEB EXCLUSIVE As Netflix releases a documentary questioning the intentions of social media companies, students are reflecting on how social media affects their lives.
“The Social Dilemma” focuses on exposing the overwhelming prevalence of social media in our daily lives, according to junior Lily Peta.
“Watching the documentary, I realized how different my life would be if I grew up in a time without social media,” Peta said. “Social media is such a large part of life now that we need to keep in mind that it can be harmful.”
The documentary highlights what many see as the dark side of social media, including the increase in self-harm, depression and suicide in teenagers .
U.S. hospital adimissions for non-fatal self harm in girls ages 15-19 have increased by 62%, as well as U.S. suicide rates in girls increasing by 70% from 2001-2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Social media’s popularity can cause users to view hyperconnectivity and the bodies of influencers and models as normal that can translate into normalizing unrealistic beauty standards and the feeling of constantly being judged.
“I definitely feel pressure from social media just because it’s so easy to compare yourself to others,” Peta said. “It is easy for some people to start thinking negatively about themselves because they see other people who make it seem like they have better lives.”
Since the popularity of social media, the number of social media users also increased reshaping how teenagers interact and communicate.
“Social media has both pros and cons to how its shaped our generation,” senior Sarah El Qadah said. “A con is that it brings so many insecurities and lowers self esteem.”
Social media platforms do not alter the content shared based on the age of the user. The vast amount of information these platforms provide teenagers access to can make it challenging to decipher between legitimate and fake news.
“There is a lot of information on the internet at my fingertips,” Peta said. “It can be incredibly damaging to impressionable minds and it is up to our generation to figure out a way to navigate it.”