Teens, on average, spend about 9 hours a day using media (Wallace). They are constantly confronted with seeing celebrities, models, and peers posing for a picture that look good on the internet. However, the viewer will feel like he/she has to look that way in order to post a picture at the beach on Facebook, or a picture by the pool on Instagram. Teens are constantly judged and criticized solely on their appearance. “The latest hot graduation gift is breast enlargement surgery” (Pritchard). These teens and young adults have been so closed-minded on their definition of pretty, that they will go through a painful surgery to “fit in” or to be “normal”.
Media has driven teens to developing life threatening eating disorders such as anorexia, Bulimia nervosa, Binge-eating disorder, Purging disorder, and Night eating syndrome (NEDA). The “media does indeed contribute [to the cause of body dissatisfaction] and that exposure to and pressure exerted by media increase[s] body dissatisfaction and disordered eating” (NEDA). Eating disorders are most commonly found in early adulthood because of the long, horrendous upbringing of “thin” and “normal” throughout childhood, teen, and adolescent years.
Teens are being bullied because they do not look like the models in a magazine or other girls or boys on billboards. Jordan Underwood contributed her story to TeenInk about how her peers bullied her online and in school because she was fat. Her classmates said things to her such as, “Yo fat Boom Boom ur so fat NASA orbits satellites around you,” and, “Hey were you baptized in Sea World?”. Jordan definitely wasn’t the only person who was bullied because of her weight. In fact, “58 percent of boys and 63 percent of girls [in high school are] experiencing daily teasing, bullying or rejection because of their size” (Stevelos).
Not only can social media affect a person negatively, but it can enlighten and inspire people positively. One in five teens can say that they feel good about themselves after they see other people’s photos on social media (Wallace). Many teens and tweens say that when they post a selfie on Instagram, Facebook, snapchat, etc. they receive many positive comments such as, “you’re beautiful” (Masio).
Social Media has an impact on every teenager. Whether they are bullying, being bullied, suffering an eating disorder, and/or getting plastic surgery to look “more normal”, the people will always be judging them based off of their looks. It’s inevitable, but most importantly, it is dangerous because teenagers’ lives are at risk for the way that they feel on social media.
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