Cause and Effect of Social Media

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No one enjoys being without their phone, especially a teenager. The worst rule throughout elementary and high school was having to put our cell phone in the pouch that hangs on the wall. There was every excuse under the sun on why we couldn’t follow that rule. “What if someone steals my phone?” “What if my mom needs me and it is an emergency?” Everyone would sit at the lunch table or at recess and talk trash about the teachers. We discussed how mean they were for making us put our phones away. After all, what is so wrong with our cell phone? Everyone has one, and they are an incredible invention! Getting older, I begin to realize that our cell phone is not the enemy. The enemy is what is on them, and how much time of our day we spend using it. Social media consumes over half of a teenager's day. Scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook is the first thing many do in the morning.

Most, Snapchat while driving, in the middle of class, and even when showering. What once was a good invention and perfect way to connect with friends, turns into an obsession for the current generation and generations to come. That leads me to the pressing question, “What effect does social media have on teenagers’ relationships?” Too much social media use can cause a handful of complications within our family, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, and ourselves.  How many families actually spend quality time together anymore? Is it even possible to make it through an entire supper without someone checking their phone? The answers to these questions are disturbing. Everyone, especially teenagers, are so engrossed in refreshing their Instagram feed, becoming Twitter famous, or taking the perfect selfie to post on Snapchat that they are oblivious to the moments happening around them. The most cherished memories are the ones with our parents and siblings. However, social media is ripping that away from many families.

No one realizes this, until the damage is already done. When a sixteen-year-old girl is laying on her bed for hours on social media, she is not thinking about the future. Oh, and we cannot forget the boys, who spend every moment of their free time watching YouTube videos. Neither give any thought to life beyond a screen. Later down the road, many will resent the excessive amount of time one spent on the internet as a teen. He or she will then realize family time was the most important thing they could have been doing. Not only that, teenagers lose the personal aspect of family. How can effective bonding or communication be done when there is always a barrier between them? It cannot. Thanks to the social media obsession, families lack the connection they once possessed. Friendships can be both made and destroyed by social media presence. A positive effect of social media is that one individual can be connected with another individual across the globe. However, do the consequences outweigh the benefits? 52% of all teenagers report that they have been a part of social media drama between peers. Some strife between friends can occur because of one’s online appearance. For example, when one friend hangs out with a group of people, but does not invite the other friend, conflict occurs. Jealousy comes about when the uninvited friend sees a picture that members of the group posted online. Teenagers do not confront their problems head on.

Countless of them hide behind computer or smart phone screens, “sub tweeting” about one another when they are mad or upset. Yet again, this creates more drama between friends.  Relationships are already difficult to maintain, without any extra baggage to worry about. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other media sites can destroy the relationship with our boyfriend or girlfriend. This is the case because of two evident reasons: false expectations and competition for time. All the sites mentioned earlier are filled with couples pretending to have a perfect relationship. They always post long, passionate paragraphs about their significant other or pictures showing them off. For most, after seeing so many people confess their love for one another over the internet, for everyone to see, one becomes insecure about his or her own relationship. Social media creates false expectations in a person’s mind such as, “If he really loves me, he would plaster me all over his profile to prove it!” Another major component of social media effecting a relationship is competing for your partner’s time. Next date night look around. 

How many couples are sitting across from each other on their cell phones, scrolling through news feeds or answering their friends snapchat? Too many. The websites that we are so obsessed with are quickly ruining our relationships because there is no quality time together. The boyfriend or girlfriend constantly feels as if social appearance or staying in the loop with other people’s lives is more important than time spent together. It has been said that people judge themselves harder than anyone else. However, where do we get the criteria to do so? Social media is where people become the best story-tellers, they often portray their lives as something it is not. Teenagers often get depressed because their lives aren’t as perfect as (insert name).  Where in all reality, they are just good at pretending. Life is never as good as they make it appear. Teenagers, especially girls, lose sight that people put on their best face and newest outfit to persuade the rest of their followers they are happy. Social media has a negative effect on teens because they are constantly and unfairly comparing themselves to other people’s lives. A sad reality is, many teenagers base their self-worth from how many likes or followers one has. The mindset of young people needs to be less focused on how the social media world perceives them and more focused on loving themselves. Another troubling way teenagers use these sites is for cyberbullying. Countless deaths have occurred because of cold-hearted young people, who thinks it is okay to bully and say hurtful things behind a screen. Obviously not all young people commit suicide over this issue, but consider how it effects one’s self-esteem and confidence.  

Everyone is aware that there are pros and cons to every invention. For the most part, I have only relayed the cons or negative parts. It is a common consensus among the population that social media is one of the greatest things ever made. It reconnects old friends and family and keeps us in touch with loved ones all around the world. In no way do I have a personal vendetta against the online social world. I am just guilty of the same reasons, just as everyone else. However, there is great importance in realizing the way social media is hurting our relationships with the people around us. Even the best creation in the world can turn into the worst, if placed in the wrong hands. Parents are allowing teenagers to use social media accounts, without any restrictions. Teens should not only be restricted on what they should be allowed to do on the internet, but also how much time is spent online.

Without limitations, youth will find themselves losing the most important relationships in their lives. Family memories will cease to be made, friendships will be full of jealously, dating life will be shaky, and our self-esteem will be broken. The most important thing teenagers should always remember is there is life beyond a screen. Put the cell phone away. Stop scrolling and documenting every small detail. Who really cares what someone ate for lunch today? Do not let social media control the life of teenage years. Unplug from cell phones and enjoy the memories in the moment they arise. Every single moment missed because of time spent on social media, will be time one regrets. 

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Cause and Effect of Social Media. (2022, Feb 02). Retrieved November 28, 2023 , from

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