Social media significantly hurts young girls

Katya Tarabrina, Blue M Editor-and-Chief

It’s hard nowadays to find a teen who doesn’t have a social media presence. Most teens, including myself, have found social media to be a certain type of haven where they can spend hours. 

However, it’s not all that it’s hyped up to be. As social media use increases, so does the risk of mental health problems.

Most social media platforms are simple. You post something and you get a response from others, regardless of whether that response is something you wanted or not. I can testify that seeing certain people’s posts over the years has had an effect on my mental health. 

When my self-image was at my lowest, I would often go on social media to find profiles of women — models, my own classmates, and celebrities — who I considered to be significantly more beautiful than me. They possessed physical features I couldn’t even begin to dream of.

I would find myself comparing myself to them, picking at every impurity in my face and body, and then hitting a sudden realization that there is nothing I can do to look more like them and less like me.
A lot of young girls also struggle with this issue. It’s easy to get lost in the world of superficiality when the pages of the internet are filled with beauty standards that every girl seems to want to uphold and there is no sight of ordinary girls such as myself. 

It’s no surprise that most of the models on these social media websites look less human than any of us. That’s because they are changing themselves significantly in order to fill the expectations put in front of them. 

Girls will Photoshop their pictures shamelessly in order to achieve the look of these beauty standards, which are far from their grasps. From enhancing their bodies to have curves that don’t have any dents or excess fat, to removing every wrinkle, every pore, thus creating a perfect look.

Or sometimes people just have those things naturally, without the need to ever touch up.

“If only I wasn’t ugly enough to look the way I do,” I would think endlessly as I cried myself to sleep many nights after scrolling through Instagram for hours. I was blinded by a false sense of pity, only seeing the truth after I managed to finally make myself delete my social media. And the results I got were much more than I could have ever hoped for. I started appreciating myself the way I was, as imperfect as I could have been. My mental health and self-image increased drastically as I was forced to spend more time with myself.

Since then I have returned to social media, but I often think back on those times as I know there are girls a lot younger than me just starting out on social media. Generations of girls will have to experience the same thing that I did, and that is the most heartbreaking part. 

We can’t protect those girls from their own battles, but we can start by normalizing not being part of the social media culture. The culture that tells us it’s impossible to be naturally beautiful, the culture that has turned so many women against each other for selfish reasons. 

Instead of co-existing with one another, trying so desperately to be more beautiful than the next girl, we can come together and break the norm. Because no matter what social media or our own insecurities try to tell us, everyone is beautiful and unique in a way that is perfect to themselves alone.