Has Social Media Harmed These Teens? | Middle Ground


More recently, i did have a hate account on instagram. They um like told me, to kill myself and told me that i like was ugly and i looked like a clown, but then i realized they’re. Only making fun of me because i’m, giving them attention about it: [, Music, ].

I’m, a pro social media because i like to send memes to my grandma i like to keep connected with my friends but, most importantly, i think it’s. A useful platform and tool. I didn’t know what a trans guy was before i was on tik tok.

I just thought i was like a masculine like girl, [ Music ]. I have social media, but, like i, don’t use them. I kind of just have enough posts that doesn’t make me seem like a loser: [, Music ]. I find it really toxic because um everything’s based off numbers.

I just want to see how, if pro social media has helped their life, because it hasn’t really helped me as a person [, Music ]. I’m, a content creator on tick tock, instagram snapchat, i’d, say that i would make like thirty to forty thousand dollars a month.

I’m anti-social media because of the present algorithms in place. No, i think tick. Tock is because it’s, manipulating their users and taking so much information from them and they’re, showing that through the 4u page and people don’t care hi.

I’m alexa. I’m 18 years old and i’m pro-social media and i love social media just because of the culture it brings hi i’m phillips, plural. I am on the pro side and i just like to spread awareness. Hi i’m, alex i’m 16.

. I’m on instagram tiktok and a little bit of youtube and i am pro-social media because it helped me meet a lot of other trans kids. When i was struggling hi. I’m ella. I’m 15 and i’m anti-social media because i find it really toxic and competitive for myself hi.

I’m emma. I’m 18 and i am anti-social media and i’m, the ceo of a movement that works to kind of promote a healthier existence on social media. My name is emmy. I’m 16.. I’m. Anti-Social media because of personal experience and, like general anxiety, going to read out the prompt if you agree step forward and if you disagree stay put, i spend more than three hours on social media.

I definitely find myself scrolling for hours when i’m bored and i definitely get sucked in and i can’t stop for me. Um, a lot of my school stuff got pushed to social media, all the clubs and orgs another one that’s more personal to me is that keeps you in touch with your family.

All my family’s in vietnam, so yeah yeah, a lot of my friends are online and i’m just like on their accounts. You know like hyping them up or just like texting them on instagram, because i don’t. I don’t like to use regular text.

It’s. Definitely my number one source of entertainment. I don’t watch as much youtube or netflix, and i kind of just go through tick, tock and like that’s. What brings me joy, sometimes yeah, tick tock is easy short attention spans.

Oh yeah, you get sucked in like you. Go on for like 30 minutes and then you’re just there forever, and that happens to me all the time, but sometimes i spend more time comparing myself to others. Oh, i’m, not getting that many likes and it kind of brings me down but um.

If i went on tick tock – and i kind of just analyzed everyone and just was like trying to compare myself, then it would definitely bring me down, but just as a content creator, i just have the mindset of like oh.

This is what you make, and maybe i can make it differently prior to a movement. I started called log off. I spent about five hours on social media day and it was to talk with my sister, who was in college, but i also got really bad repercussions about my body and i felt really terrible after scrolling.

But you know, after i rethought about how i wanted to spend my time on there. It became much more productive, so i still spend time on like instagram it’s. Just like get a meme from my college sister or to like talk with friends that really bring me up.

I have an instagram. I have a tick tock but, like i never opened the app like ever i’m. Clearly, not the skinniest and, like i have alopecia, so i’m, losing my hair and, like i’ll, look on social media and, like i’ll, see some like kpop star and they’re, like a Double zero with the longest hair on the planet and they’re, like still like their skin, is silk smooth and when i take pictures, no matter what i do, you can see the whites of my scalp.

So i don’t. Take photos and because i don’t take photos. I don’t, have anything to post and because i don’t have anything to post. I don’t, see a point in opening the app plus. I’d, rather spend my time.

Reading i used to be more um, meek and mild. I was just like: oh no, they’re gonna comment. I’m ugly and they’re gonna hate. On me, but then um when tik tok started blowing up. One of my videos blew up and i was just like hey.

They don’t hate me, and i was just like: oh okay, the confidence it’s coming in yeah. Again, i get a hundred notifications a day from my best friend saying i found this new video, you would love and i’ll click on it occasionally, and i love the video because it’s, funny it’s short And it like matches my personality, but it makes me really upset when, like i facetime with my friend and she’s scrolling through tick tock, it’s really scary, to see my friends kind of disconnect with me and just connect with These people, they’ve, never met.

What do you think is the misconception that we’re narcs and that we kind of hate social media like parents, hate social media? I don’t think they really know our stories and know why exactly we don’t want to exist on the platforms in the way that they are.

I’ve, had hurtful things posted about me and the thing about the internet. It’s, it’s there forever and it’s, not like a word that was just said to me on the playground. It’s, something that’s out there and other people can see social media makes you anti-social.

There can be communities found within social media, but my personal experience with it and from a lot of stories that i’ve heard through log off, is that a lot of kids have lost people because of social media.

And i think that that constant, mindless scrolling allows you to kind of go into this bubble and just hunker down and to not really talk with people. I know a bunch of kids that, like don’t know how to communicate outside of like an emoji or like outside, of like a picture or like only have one picture face and like we’ll repeatedly.

Take the same like we’ll, stop everyone in the friend group to pick a wall and just sit there and pose and take 100 photos and stand there and wait like no. No, i’ll. Take one more. I definitely like would base like entire friend groups to hang out and just take pictures like we wouldn’t communicate.

It would just be pictures just to post on instagram, and then i would find myself that, like we didn’t even connect when we were hanging out wasn’t quality time, because i feel like oh, i have to get that perfect.

Photo of all this, all of us, looking like we’re having fun even if we’re. Not i just need to get that, so i can post it after a while. You feel the pressure and everything people start being people and they’re, just empty profile.

Pictures people will come to me and they won’t know my name. They’ll, go by my screen name and then i’m. Just like am i human. I like to ask questions in comments and ask like oh: where’d, you get that or you know like what hair dye did you use or something like that, because i think it’s a lot more engaging or i like to Sometimes i’ll, make my like my posts.

I’ll, make it a question like the the caption i like to interact with, like a lot of my followers through comments, because i’m uncomfortable, you know messaging them personally. It’s good to like interact with the people that support you.

But what would you say to like bigger influencers like kylie jenner, like kim kardashian, that can’t? Have that interaction via the comments yeah and then alex some people, just don’t even reply to you.

They’ll, just double tap like the message going off what you said about like making real human connection. Have you ever like looked into like social media accounts that promote that because i don’t know if you guys know we’re, not really strangers.

If you guys know them, they have a card game. You don’t, know, okay, so it’s, basically a card game where you have perception, analysis and then reflection, and then you just have conversation like or how are you really or you know if how’s like what’s.

What do you? What would you name the chapter of this in your life and then boom? We’re in a 20-minute conversation that, like she feels really low and she’s. Trying to change – and you know – and i would have never thought – that if this social media account didn’t push me or didn’t encourage me to have deeper conversations.

I agree, but i think the issue is with the algorithm in place like that’s, not popping up on my feed. Like i’m, not i don’t know that those exist and because it’s. So expansive and because there’s, so much hollowness and mindless scrolling, like i’ve, never found that.

If i found that i would have loved that with the algorithm and the fact that you never see those things like. I always feel like we’re on a whole different side of tick. Tock than you are, and all it takes is just to look up like deep conversations on the internet.

There would have been a vogue article about we’re, not really friends, and you would have looked it up. You know so. In order to change your algorithm, you just have to change the things that you’re. Looking for, but don’t.

You think maybe, like the algorithm in place, is what’s, making it so dangerous because it’s like they’re pumping out these really terrible kind of like content videos, but also you’ve got like The attention economy, where they’re like fighting to get your information to then give to people like to put ads in your feed that you won’t notice.

Even if you’re, not on social media, you know it’s. Gon na. Do that anyway, like if you’re searching anything up like if you’re searching something up on safari and you go onto your computer onto chrome, the ads will probably be the same.

You know it’s, just the internet, it’s, just technology right um. I sat down here saying that social media makes people antisocial, but hearing alexa and alex speak. It makes me remember that social media isn’t.

Just you know the whole tick tock scene, it’s, also schools. There’s, clubs and stuff. I’ve, made a couple new friends from social media because they live in ventura. I live in san diego, so i don’t think it’s necessarily just the whole big fame thing there’s.

Also the smaller groups yeah, i’d, like to say social media changed my life. I’m more confident. I actually think about what i wear. I used to just roll out of bed grab what’s near. I do see how social media can be bad, but i i like to think of it in a positive, [, Music ] light.

I know you guys remember like those musically days, i feel like that was my biggest bullying, because it’s like when it’s just like entering a whole different society. It’s, just like when you’re going out, you’re, making videos you don’t, really know what you want to post or what you want to do or what you want to look like.

So it is going to be cringy at first and it’s. Not going to be great. Musically was definitely a dark time. Um more recently, i did have a hate account on instagram. They um like told me to kill myself and told me that, like because i was upset about my pet dying that i should kill myself and that i like was ugly and i looked like a clown and yeah.

I really really really let it get to me for a long time, but then i realized, you know like they’re, only making fun of me, because i’m, giving them attention about it. So i just had to like block them from all my accounts and block all the people.

They were following and block all the people that were following them and then i just had to stop looking and if i don’t look at it, then i don’t know what they’re saying right, and that’s, the thing it’s just like once you stop looking into it, so you just stop beating the fire and it will die eventually because you just don’t even pay, no mind.

I don’t. Have a big following so it’s, basically mostly people. I know. Usually it’s, tick tocks and it’s, not with my name in it, but you can tell that it’s implied towards me, and i try not to comment.

But there’s. Some points where they’re coming out and saying like completely false things about me, posting and hating on someone through the internet is completely different from in person because it’s there forever.

You don’t have control over that because it’s up to them to delete it. So i have had rude comments been made about me, but i’ve, never been like heavily cyberbully, because i don’t really have a big following and because of the community that i’m in i’Ve just read hundreds of stories about kids who, like felt like they, wanted to kill themselves because of the rude comments they were getting and i just remember like there were nights when i would cry, and i’d, be so upset because i couldn’t really do anything about it.

My cyberbullying experience the first like big one. I was in like this like dance team right and i was the shortest kid, the fattest kid and like one of like three asians, so i clearly stuck out no matter what i did and you know like after practice like all the girls would like do that, Like 2014, like ass out like please like the duck face thing pose one day like one of them like invited me to take the photo with them, and i thought like this was the only way you could pose on instagram so like i did it, and then They took the photo and they were all like laughing and they started uploading it.

I didn’t know why, over like the next two and a half three years, they would continuously like bring me into the photo like. I would never just go up. They’d, always ask me: hey, do you want to be in the photo? You want to be a photo, so i felt like i was being included, but when i like got a phone and when i got an instagram when i started following like my fellow dance team members, i would look at their instagrams and like from the beginning.

It’s, photos of me. They’ll zoom in on me, and they’ll, be like look at that fat thing that [ __ ] monster like. Is it trying to pose like what is like? What does that thing? Think it is like do they think they’re cute? I was in like [ __ ] elementary school.

Like i, don’t know how to deal with myself, like i barely know how to open a peanut butter jar, and you expect me to know how to deal with people calling me it and like a monster, you know what i mean social media.

Can cause young people to hurt themselves instagram tick tock everything is the highlight reel my instagram, i’m, not going to post the ugliest picture of me when i scroll to my friends i in the back of my head.

I should know that that’s, the same for them, yet i’m, like they look so pretty. Why do i not look like that and i think for younger generations? It’s really scary, that they’re gonna have to deal with this.

I have this one photo that’s, so vivid in my memory and like i’m at like an aquarium, and i’m. Leaning against, like one of the fish tanks and my dad and my dad and my brother are next to me and i’m. Like half my brother’s height my face just sagging, my body, like my clothes, don’t fit on me, and i’m like at the time i didn’t realize how depressed i was and how How much these like these, like dance photos, were ruining me that’s kind of when i knew like social media is not something i like.

I’m, not safe. Here you know, and so an excuse i can make for not pleasing people online – is that i don’t use it, and then i’ll, be okay. The bad thing about social media is like. If you have a bad friend in real life and your mom’s like avoid them, don’t, be next to them and stuff, but on social media you almost can’t avoid them, and i feel like that’s, where, like a lot, a lot of kids can get hurt because they comment rude things on your things or they don’t share the same opinions and those friends are horrible.

You know i don ‘ T know how tumblr is now, because i don’t go on it, but there are a lot of like self-harm pages and eating disorder pages with like ideas to make yourself lose weight there’s. So much of that on tumblr that i had to get off of tumblr and i think that definitely will hurt kids now and in the future.

I just couldn’t, imagine being like 10 or 11 or 12, just being so young and looking through this and taking all these suggestions in, i’m 18. Now, like i go through it and i know better, but i feel like you could get seriously hurt when you’re young, because you really just don’t know any better yeah.

I’ll, just play back on what you said about how little kids don’t know better. I saw a hack where it was like scoop, ice cream and it said microwave the spoon most children, wouldn’t, know yeah in cases like that.

It does hurt me to be pro-social media, but social media. I i think it was always more intended for more discretion like i have this friend named jessie page, and she is very very like pro body positivity and like pro, like, like mental health.

You know like really like. I want to get better that’s, why? I keep all my posts up, because i want people to be able to go back and look. I wasn’t on t for three years. You know when i was out. You know like i was fully out and like fighting for myself to start hormones.

My friend jessie too. She also puts before and after she always puts like this – is the real me. Do you think social media has changed 100? I don’t think i would be the person i am if it wasn’t for social media.

I first came out on tick tock and my parents, didn’t, even know that’s. How they found out actually children under the age of 13 should not be allowed on social media. Well, it’s kind of funny, because i talk to a lot of organizations with log off and the main point that they try to get across is that they’re.

Trying to advocate for kids to get cell phones and technology and social media at an older age um, and you know years ago i would have said that’s, really stupid. That’s like the drug talk like don’t.

Do drugs don’t be on social media. I’m, not gonna. Listen to that, but then, after years of kind of self-reflection, i wish someone would have said you. Don’t need instagram to have a social life. If i go back to like my 13 year old self and like i didn’t, have all the experiences i had and i just kind of knew like.

Oh it’s, a good place. I would be posting. God knows what right kids are dumb and if you give kids a platform to do whatever they want, they’re gonna be dumb. There’s, no educational advocacy out there to actually allow for that to happen, and when they are there, it’s.

This older teacher, who like has a completely different outlook on social media because they never existed in an age where it was your life. You know i just feel like it’s. Almost it’s, just unrealistic.

When i was 13, i was fully on social media making videos every single day, so i just feel like. If anything, it helped me more when i was 13 like it really allowed me to just know what things were and not be so what is going on, like you know, not knowing a lot of things because, like i was on social media like 11 years old, Like i was a child right on social media and my my dad told me he was like you know, but you’re, also trans and you’re.

Also, like lgbt, you know, you need to be able to meet people, because your bubble that you would know of trans people would be zero yeah. But here’s, the thing we i think we’re underestimating children.

They’re, relentless. We put an age limit on instagram or an age limit on like an adult type website. They’re still gonna get through. I didn’t have social media. I was probably like the last couple. People out of my like friends, because my mom knew the restrictions and how the things that are on the internet, it’s.

You can’t control. What other people are posting and you can’t control? What your kids are seeing, but i believe that, like other kids, mature at different ages and we can’t really rest like restrict certain people from going on this platform when it’s public, it’s difficult because i I do think what you said is true, where if i was 13 and someone said you have to be 13 to get on this app or like you have to be older, i would have lied about my my age and i know there are millions of kids, Like that that are like he, he break the system and, like put in a different age, see that’s.

The thing with any problem you can’t just take the problem and move it over here, exactly it’s. All about the education, it should be a class like how sex that is the class there should be like tech. Ed, like computer lab days exist like was that just my school, like there were computer lab days, we were on yeah.

We just practiced right, where you practice typing well like, instead of just practicing typing practice, how to not be an idiot online and like how to like learn, understand like the harm of it because like if i had that education.

I know that, like i would have like at least braced myself for it once covid kind of hit. I realized, like i need social media, or else i can’t like find anyone. I know some people that kind of think like when i say that i don’t use social media a lot they’re like oh.

Do you think you’re cooler than us, because you don’t need like social media validation, but it’s more, like i’m afraid of. If i search for that validation that i’m, not gonna get it social media, i know all schools they don’t talk about some deep topics that social media brings to light, and it teaches you and teaches you how to Get through it and how to do it without talking to your family if you are uncomfortable and without talking to the school, because sometimes schools, don’t have that education in place.

My teacher told everyone that rupaul’s, drag race was a good example of trans people. Of course, like i got in trouble for like correcting him or whatever, but it was like. I could not let him spread fake information like that, because those are not trans people, those are drag queens and that is a totally different topic.

I’m very far in my transition for 16. and social media. Definitely helped me a lot yeah and then the fact that you even got in trouble for that shows that school is that, like you know they’re lacking, you know, personal experience is how you learn the most.

You know you go on in social media and there’s, someone talking about this eating disorder, this depression, that they went to it’s, just someone actually talking to a camera, giving you real advice that a school really could never do.

I want to preface it with – i am kind of like i’m very lucky um. The school that i go to altmont is like a private school in alabama and they’re, very, very good, with kind of integrating these conversations into the academic dialogue.

I totally agree with everything you all have said. I’ve learned how to rainbow loom and i’ve done a bunch of different things on social media, but i’ve also looked up like election and there’s, been misinformation after misinformation and with covid.

So for you all that answered, how do you, how do you kind of outweigh like the chance to learn a bunch of new things, but also the chance of seeing a lot of stuff that isn’t necessarily true? I think you just have to look for credible websites.

I mean it’s just like when you’re, doing an essay you wouldn’t believe i just feel like blogs any of that kind of stuff. It is easy to get a lot of misinformation, but it’s also easy to see that this information is fake like.

But what about like? A young kid that can & # 39? T really discern that, because i feel like that’s, the thing my dad actually um put the washington post and the new york times on my phone, so that i would look at it more.

So i would get the notifications you know all. I had to do was put it on my phone. There have been times when i ‘ Ve disagreed with what the teacher said and that that is true, but i also think that, with social media with the algorithm in place, it’s.

Harder to harder like to discern, i disagree with you just because i feel like as kids. We look up to our teachers for the right answers and if they are like providing like a biased answer, we’re, getting the wrong information.

If you’ve taken a political science class, there will be times where the teachers own political beliefs might make the learning bias so comparable to social media. It’s about the same yeah, but i think it’s more dangerous on social media because i agree it is very dangerous in the classroom, especially when you look up to teachers with the algorithm they don’t.

Have that humanity for to like to actually discern like? Oh, this is an article about how masks aren’t important so like, but i’m going to pump that out, but i would just say this: i would disagree with you for that exact reason because, because it’s, Just one human one way of life, one perspective, one thought you know, but at least when you go on social media and you put up trump it’s.

Gon na come up both sides of the story. You know when it’s up to you to differentiate and read it and see. Okay. This comes from this credible website and this is coming from a blog on wikipedia what, if we’re talking about like just a straightforward thing like math science or english, sometimes you can get like a cruddy teacher and they won’t Really teach you that well, you just type that into social media.

They’ll ring it right. I’ve, never used like i’ve, never actually been helped by a math teacher. I mean photo. Math was the only thing that helped me, i mean, and it’s not even like. It only gave me the answers i mean you saw like you scrolled up, and it literally showed you step by step what it does and you look for the reasoning here’s, the reasoning and sometimes, if i have a lot of trouble with like An assignment or something i’ll, actually like post a picture of it and i’ll, be like hey like.

I am really bad in this subject. Every single time people do message me and help me out or like will comment and be like hey like. Actually, this is what you’re doing wrong, and this is how you do it right.

Society would thrive more without social media. For me, on a macro skill, i think there are some really um troubling signs that social media is kind of unwinding society and humanity in the sense of like the democracy debate, governments can use social media to then kind of undermine elections.

Um – and i think those are bigger issues when you look at the macro skill, but again on the micro scale, there are so many different people in the world that thrive with it. I know other people that are like me.

I think i would thrive more without social media, because i kind of i compare myself and i look for those likes and look for those comments on my posts and i feel like if i didn’t have that concern. My mental health and my self-love and self-image would be so much better if i didn’t see all this stuff on the internet, but part of me wants to ask for like a definition for like thrive, because, like are we talking about like us As like a human race or like people individually, instagram and things can like put like you make, you have poor body image in this that, but also like in the case of like alex.

You know it helps him. You know meet other trans people and understand that, like he, isn’t alone right, and so it it’s such a general question with so many variables that, like you, can’t. Just like put one answer down yeah, you know it’s so case by case.

You need to know if it’s on the micro macro scale you know like alex is the following. That is a lot of other trans kids that are looking for other trans kids and, if alex just went mia for a month, people would panic.

You know and, like you know like, i can totally like sorry to like keep using you, but like like. This is like the easiest like like analogy right. I’m. Sorry alex i love you. I promise um. I have a question actually um, so i in the recent months, especially there, have been a lot of protests and stuff that were like a lot of them were created online, and i think that if we didn’t have social media a lot of Them wouldn’t have been possible because there wouldn’t have been the word spread so fast.

I i agree. Yes, these protests got really big and it’s really important. But i the thing that i’ve kind of been looking at is the people that go and take a picture like. Oh my god, like i’m so supportive and like they change their profile picture.

They do the blackout, tuesday and then, a week later, it gets archived when people go with like professional grade cameras and like bring a hair and makeup team to like sit there and like pose in the middle of the street like it’s.

Less of the movement and more of the social media and yeah, and i think that’s, also a perspective thing, because i think there was maybe one or two major influencers who were dumb enough to take a production team out there to take a Picture – and i think that was for people like you guys who are anti-social media to focus, be like wow, let’s, see look at all these influencers.

It’s. The whole entire community is just like them, and i was in new york for a couple days and i was in like washington square or something they were passing out. Flyers like hey, share this on your snapchat.

If you know anyone in new york – and i wasn’t only in new york for like two days, but i posted it – and i got like i – don’t – know, like 40 000 people on snapchat, to watch it and be, and If they were in new york, they could go by these.

Like performative parts, i’m, not talking only influencers like yes, that is a big part, and it is very troublesome when influencers do like kind of go out and like pose for like the picture rather than for the protest.

But when people are kind of seeing like oh, this is trendy and when people have that desire to like go viral, they’ll go out and they’ll. Do it, but here’s like a scenario. What if um me alex, i mean alex alex, we all just teamed up.

We did like a charity stream and then donated to let’s, say let’s, just throw back to like early 2020, whether it’s. Like fires, wouldn’t, california or australia thrive from us donating. I do agree that um social media does like promote awareness and it helps change and definitely in our societies.

Everyone’s on social media. So if they see this and it gets spread, it’s going to make change yeah and that’s. Kind of why i made like the log off movement is because i saw that there was this multi-faceted nature about social media, and i at least just wanted to discuss it with teens and to be like.

Let’s figure out how to exist. In a healthier way and um, even though social media, we can talk about the good and the bad all day it’s, just nice to be in one space and have one conversation i mean yeah.

Technically social media did bring us here. So i guess that’s like a thing like hey, we have to talk about [, Music, ] hi. Everyone wish you a very happy new year and hope you enjoyed this episode. I personally struggle a lot with my social media usage.

So recently i bought an alarm clock so that the phone is not the first thing i look at in the morning and i’m, not tempted to go on social media. If you have any suggestions as to how you control your social media usage feel free to leave in the comment section below and thanks for watching, you

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