CFNN Reporter Alexis Fowler
Nine hours seems like a lot of time. There are so many things you can do and places that you can go. Unfortunately for many teens, that time is wasted. The average teen spends 9 hours every day on their phone. At this point it’s more than an addiction; It’s mind control.
Your phone buzzes. Whether it’s a phone call, text, tweet, or a like, a normal person is going to answer it automatically. You feel a need to check your phone or else it seems like you are missing out on everything going on in the world. You feel like you have to know who messaged you.
The main people to blame behind the addiction aren’t the users of social media. Instead, we should be blaming the creators of ads. Social media creators want you to use their app instead of others, so they draw you in. They chose the post or video that they know will keep you scrolling. They are using your mind against you.
It’s not just an issue with kids not getting off their phones to do their homework. Social media in general has psychological effects. It reduces attention span, which in turn results in students’ academic test scores dropping because they lose focus.
Scores dropping are the least of our worries. We need to worry about how social media affects our body image. Girls see social media models and they want to look like them so they stop eating. It can lead to eating disorders and could change the way people see themselves, which results in body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphia is a mental illness where people obsess over perceived “flaws” with their body. The flaw may be a real one but it is often imagined. This results in people obsessively trying to change their appearance. They over-exercise, use cosmetic surgery or even stop eating altogether. It stems from anxiety, and if left untreated can lead to depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
Excessive Social Media use can also lead to anxiety. You feel the need to check how many likes your post gets every two minutes. You check, and check, and check again. You feel excited as you get more and more likes, as if your happiness relies on how much other people like you.
The biggest issue with all of this is not students wanting to stay connected. The problem is that none of it is real. Before a picture is posted on social media, it’s edited. You erase pimples, make your body look better, and you change the lighting. The pictures of the people who look perfect are almost always edited in some way.
Besides that, everyone pretends his or her life is perfect on social media. Everyone seems happy and doing great but that’s not always true. People rarely show the bad parts of their lives. They all pretend to be perfect.
So how do we fix this addiction? We need to all try to limit our time on social media. If we can slowly decrease the time we spend scrolling. We can have more control over stopping. You should also turn off notifications. This way you’re not constantly worrying about your phone or watch buzzing. And most importantly remember: IT’S NOT ALL REAL.
Get outside. Get some fresh air. Go for a walk. Leave your phone at home.