Social Media Has Become an Addiction To Our Generation

Emma Lolita Gutierrez, Staff Writer

Do you ever go on social media and ask yourself why I don’t look as gorgeous as this girl? or Why can’t I do what this person does? 

As of 2019 and 2020, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day, according to Spending more than 3 hours on social media per day puts adolescents at a higher risk for mental health problems. It can be easy to do so but it causes less healthful behavior on social media, and that can lead to anxiety and depression. The amount of us teenagers spend on social media is draining and unhealthy. 

What we all need to do to save our mental health and start thinking about ourselves more and limit ourselves on how much time we spend on social media. It’s become a big issue for us teenagers and it needs to be stopped or controlled. 13% of kids ages 12-17 report depression and 32% report anxiety. 25% of 18 to 25-year-olds report mental illness. These age groups report high usage of social media. 59% of US teens experienced cyberbullying or online harassment. 90% say they think this harassment is a problem that affects other people their age. 63% say that it’s a major problem.

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that limiting social media use decreases loneliness and depression. Even Instagram, which according to polls is one of the most popular social media sites, knows that teens need to spend less time on the app. They recently announced tools meant to make their site safer, including one that will let users know when they’ve been on for too long. 

I think the problem is our generation uses social media in the worst ways. Exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic videos of other people’s lives, or tweeting about other people’s lives. Comparing our lives with others, telling ourselves the more friends we have the more we look “cooler”. We get caught in the delusion of thinking it will help. Our behavior and how we use social media have made it very toxic and draining for kids my age. A number of studies have found associations between increased social media use and depression, anxiety, sleep problems, eating concerns, and suicide risk. Social media has become an addiction to our generation. 

A group published a report in July showing that children as young as 13 were targeted within 24 hours of creating an account with harmful content, including material related to eating disorders, extreme diets, sexualized imagery, body shaming, self-harm, and suicide. We need to ask ourselves, would life be better without social media or phones? Have you experienced body image issues, anxiety, or depression tied to your use of the app?

It’s not surprising. It’s hard to feel good when your commute to work is spent staring at hot models, ultra-rich celebrities, and successful friends. While it is important to help your mental health there are some things we can do to help ourselves along the way. Whether it’s fitness, music, art, free-living, following people with the same interests can keep you inspired to do things you love. Unfollowing toxic friends, taking yourself more seriously, making genuine connections. Make connections with better people. These are all things we could do to better ourselves.