Social Media and Anxiety- A Teen’s Prospective

“Why can’t I look like her?” 

    “Why does she have a perfect life?”

Many teens find themselves asking these questions even if you know it or not. Social media crushes our self esteem. “Why did my post only get 2 likes when hers got 50?”

“Why can’t I have her life and her looks?”

Little do you know, these people also struggle with that. 

You message someone and they don’t respond back for days. Yet they talk to their friends and are always on their phone. 

I notice with my friends that they are engulfed in their phones. I try to have a conversation with them, but they are using Snapchat or other social media platforms. 

Some people post how “perfect” something was even if other people didn’t even like it. They post pictures of themselves with their friends, but every time you try to be their friend, they want nothing to do with you. 

What makes me angry is that I feel that we have no more face to face communication. As someone with social anxiety myself, I find it even more of a struggle to communicate with others with social media. A lot of people are closed off with their phones. It is a comfort thing because they’re nervous you’ll reject them too. But it seems like if you’re not on that person’s social media, then you don’t matter. It is hard making friends as a teenager. Social media just makes it worse. It feels really lonely when you have no one to hang out with after school, but you see people posting pictures with their friends doing something fun. People are immersed in their phones during lunch. People are immersed in their phones at every second that they can be.

Cyber bullying is a serious thing as well. A person might call you names for sharing your opinion or you might be “canceled” for saying something against the general population. People try to push a narrative on social media, even if it isn’t the truth. People are addicted to social media and all of the stimulus it has.

My generation has no idea how to talk face to face. I am saying that Gen- Z is so immersed in social media that we have no idea how to talk to each other without texting it to a person that is sitting directly next to us. 

My friend just recently bought a phone and she is on Snapchat the whole lunch period with people. It used to be “you should buy new clothes.” Now it’s “you don’t have the newest iPhone or 1000 followers on Instagram, so I’m not going to be friends with you.” 

It’s sad to see what we have become as a generation. We lack the ability to think for ourselves and be our own person. We always feel the need to put a label on something.

That’s not even the worst thing. Some people that need mental help are posting themselves self harming. People are posting disorders and things that sometimes need to be kept to themselves even if you need to spread awareness about it. I miss the days before I knew social media existed. I miss being able to go outside and play with my neighbor across the street. It sometimes feels lonely when you’re the only one outside. 

COVID-19 made everyone afraid to leave their house on top of that. You walk down the street and the only people you see are elderly people trying to go on a morning stroll. No one my age. 

I’ve noticed my friends are more depressed when they are exposed to social media. They seem like there is just something wrong with everything. Teens are already dealing with enough stressors in their life. Why do we need the extra social pressure? Then I look at my life. I’m thankful my mom was even able to get me a Christmas gift in 2019. She worked two jobs. My abusive father didn’t step up. You don’t see that side of people on social media. You only see the lovey- dovey happy side of everything. (Note: He is not abusive because he didn’t step up. He was both emotionally and physically abusive. It’s very hard for me to talk about the things that happened to me.)

You would have never known from my social media that I was dealing with an abusive father and the death of a loved one. You would have never known what I was going through. I disappeared for months at a time when I was 14 online. If you were just looking at my profile, you would have never known that I was going through a mental health crisis. People who try to make their lives look perfect on social media don’t actually have a perfect life. But people know that other people don’t want to see depressing or triggering content. You try to make the illusion that you’re keeping your head above water, but in reality, you’re drowning. 

I believe that if social media were just to suddenly disappear tomorrow, we would not know how to handle ourselves. Everyone would go into a panic because they don’t have the dopamine boost from social media. We would be quite depressed, but eventually we would get used to it just like anything else. It would be a shock if someone tried to quit social media cold turkey. 

As I had mentioned earlier, I have really bad anxiety. So instead of going on social media, I have been looking for calming games to help with my anxiety. I have a collection of fidget toys as well. I even have a fidget I carry around with me on my keychain at school. 

I encourage people to take a break from social media. It can be very draining and you may think you have a powerful social battery, but eventually it loses power too. Try to go outside or get some fresh air somehow. Don’t forget to bundle up if you go out! Read a book for a little while, even if it is for about 15 minutes. Take up a new hobby like art, writing, or listening to music. I promise you will feel 100 times better than if you scroll an hour on social media. Self care is very important and you need it just like you need food and water. I also recommend spending time with animals. Even if you just observe a rabbit, it might help you calm down. Rabbits have very cute faces especially when they’re eating grass. I also recommend petting a dog or a cat if you’re not allergic. A soft pillow will do if you are. Give someone a hug that wants one from you. Or hug a pillow. Drink water and add flavor to it if it’s too bland. You got this!


Here’s some affirmations/ positive words for you:

You are loved.

You are attractive/ beautiful/ handsome.

You are awesome.

Try your best. It is better to fail than to give up. Not trying is worse than failing.

You will get through this.

It’s better to be yourself than someone else because you’re the original and only copy of you. 

Don’t change yourself for someone else. Only better yourself for you.

You’re human. You’re not a robot. Even if you were, robots break and malfunction too.

If 99% of the world finds you unattractive, there are still 78 million people that find you attractive.

Each of us is 1 in 7.8 billion, so each of us are just as important as another person.

Even if a $20 bill gets stepped on and wrinkled, it never loses its worth. It’s still a $20 bill. You’re the $20 bill. Your worth didn’t change.