Candice Anvari staff writer
Through Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and other platforms, this generation has lost themselves in a social media frenzy. Teenagers should not be so enraptured by their devices that they become incapable of differentiating between reality and falsehood.
A study done by the Open Psychology Journal reported that teens who posted a significant amount of photos and selfies developed a 25 percent rise in narcissistic characteristics such as jealousy, expectations and a sense of entitlement. The lack of reality that social media creates makes teenagers narcissistic as they become more in tune with their “social media appearance” rather than their actual appearance. Teens have a tendency to post the best version of themselves on social media. The warped reality makes it difficult for other teens to accept their untouched appearances and puts more pressure on them to fit the social media standards. Even though teens understand that not all images are authentic, a teen’s mindset can still be affected by what they see on social media. On average, students spend one-third of their day on their devices. Generally, three of those hours are spent on social media. The amount of time teenagers spend obsessing over how many views or likes one of their pictures received could rather be spent having serious conversations with their peers.
Even though technology is a great source for information, entertainment and communication, real-life conversations hold more importance and meaning. Most teens addicted to their devices and social media outlets, have started to lose important social skills that are supposed to develop throughout their teenage years such as the ability to hold face-to-face conversations for long periods of time and the ability to focus on just one subject without distractions. Being around real people has more of a lasting impact on a person due to the fact that real people comment on what they can actually see, rather than an image that was altered to be a certain way.
Not only does social media create physical issues that contribute to teenage narcissism, but they also contribute to emotional issues as well. According to The Insider, students become so wrapped up with what their peers think of them online they decide to spend their time going to extremes over the appearance of their photos. The usage of Snapchat filters, Facetune and other photo editing apps have created a false image of most of the people in this generation.
The constant need for validation and reassurance can potentially make those in this narcissistic generation more self-conscious and self absorbed due to the pressures of social media. Changing appearances to fit a certain standard set by social media posts not only leads to a more narcissistic outlook, but it can also affect the overall happiness of a teenager. Instead, teens could take steps to keep themselves rooted to reality like limiting cell-phone use, spending more time with friends, exploring new hobbies, going on a run and endless other activities. Counterably, it’s become more difficult to detach from technology as it’s become the new reality and a career and lifestyle outlet, but taking small steps every day may show progression toward a less technologically dependent future.
Students do not need the pressures of social media to be happy. If students choose to use Facetune and social media less, they may find themselves accepting and loving their untouched appearances by not idolizing those who warp all their posts through extensive editing. The pros of social media cannot be overlooked, but the cons should be at least considered. Teens should not be searching for validation online because they don’t need reassurance on fake appearances to fuel their narcissism.
Teenage narcissism can be dampened as teenagers use their phones less and less and keep a firm grasp of reality. According to The Guardian, it is a continuous epidemic in which students become too self-absorbed, distracted by what others will think of them and how they are projected to their followers, but a look up from their devices could potentially be the solution.