When I downloaded instagram onto my phone, I did not think twice about it. Everyone else had an instagram account, so why shouldn’t I? I had a lot of friends. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and felt that the only way to truly fit into this environment of judgement, was to simply follow everyone else’s lead. I considered myself to be a decently popular girl. I was no Regina George, but I wanted to be able to showcase my life, who I was hanging out with, and the cool places I went to. I fit all the standards. I set up a profile, feeling completely confident in myself; only to have it shattered by none other than myself.
As time passed, I became more and more insecure about what I was posting. There was always someone whom I believed was better than me; who I felt in competition with. I could have posted the most gorgeous picture, and still have doubted myself, because there was someone else out there who would have an even greater one. Girls are constantly comparing themselves to other girls on the internet, whether it be about body image, wealth, size, or any other superficial standards that our society has created. It has become such a necessity for girls to constantly receive a certain number of likes. All the time, I see pictures being deleted, just because the desired amount of likes was not reached. The problem with needing to be validated all the time, often leaves us feeling discouraged. There is no way that everyone will always live up to the expectations of others, if they are in constant need of approval from something like social media. We become so obsessed with instagram, twitter, snapchat, and various other sites, that some of our most basic interactions as human beings are jeopardized.
The people of this generation rely so heavily on their phones, that many teenagers are missing out on experiences that ultimately prepare them for life. Teenagers do not feel the need to hang out in person as much as they did before, because it is so easy to communicate online. By doing so, the interactions between teenagers are becoming more and more limited. It is so common nowadays to have people be “dating”, but communicating for the most part through snapchat or Imessage. All the real talking, arguing, and heart-to-hearts are ultimately done online. Even phone calls have become a primitive thing. Any teenager would much rather send a person a text message, than have to go through the trouble of calling someone, and dealing with a live conversation. In person, everything is more uncomfortable. Everything is real. As stressful as social media may be, it acts as a safe haven for many people, in an attempt to avoid confrontation.
The truth is, no one really cares what kind of pictures I post. I personally was never picked on or criticized over my instagram page. I created the entire mental dilemma. I am the one who put all the pressure on myself to be perfect. I am the one who truly judged myself, and compared myself to others. I told myself I wasn’t good enough. We put all of our trust into these social media platforms, to give us the reassurance and validation we want, when the only thing we can truly rely on for that, is ourselves.
Written by youth volunteer Chloe
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