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When we’re brought into
this world, we’re unaware of the addictions that are ahead of us. Some may
consist of drug and alcohol abuse that can cause alarming actions, love that
will either lead us to a lifetime supply of blessings or consequences, and for
others the issue is what we’re surrounded by most on a daily basis – social
media. Being raised in the 21st century means we’re raised in the age of
technology; making social media, the tobacco of the century. According to Pew
research, users between the ages of 15-19 spend at least 3 hours a day on
average on social media (Katina Michael). This statistic proves that our lives
have become overwhelmed by the use of social media; therefore, leading to
drastic outcomes. Adolescents are often negatively impacted by an
overindulgence in social media that affects their body image and parents should
strongly consider limiting the amount of time they spend on it.

The growth of social
media throughout the years and trends have changed greatly. During a speech in
2014 Jordan Comey said, “Technology has forever
changed the world we live in. We’re online, in one way or another, all day
long. Our phones and computers have become reflections of our personalities,
our interests, and our identities. They hold much that is important to us.”
Whether we’re at work trying to make money to support our family, or at school
trying to receive an education for ourselves, we still rely on technology on a
day to day basis. The millennial prior to us didn’t have as much technology as
we do today. Technology has continued to progress every year, and shows that it
has consumed our lives and the children of this millennial as well.  “Kids
spend more time in front of a screen than ever before-television and movie
screens, computers, video games, and all sorts of handheld devices, including
cell phones with pictures, email, and easy internet access” (Ginsburg 103).

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The
trends social media displays for its users to see also has an impact. From as
early as the ancient Egyptian times till Postmodern Beauty, the expectations of
how a woman’s body should be has been modified over time. However, the way
media portrays how men’s and women’s bodies should be in reality, isn’t an
idealistic body image. Most people aren’t capable of obtaining this type of
body image the media puts out there; which makes both men and women believe
that the body their born with is imperfect. Adolescents are the main ones who
are affected by social media. Adolescents in this case can be defined as those
ages 12-18 currently enrolled in middle and high school. The amount of
television and social media will reflect on how adolescents view their bodies
or feel about it. The more time you spend watching TV, the worse adolescents
tend to feel about their bodies; whereas, the less amount of time they spend
watching TV, the effects aren’t as heavily impacting on the viewer (Cornstock
275).

The nature of the
problem might not always be obvious, but there are many people today who suffer
from a lack of self confidence in their body image. Cornstock states, “Media
exposure among adolescent has also been recently associated with the use of
protein powders, herbal supplements, steroids, diet pills and other products
that claim to improve weight, muscularity, or shape (Field et al., 2005; McCabe
& Ricciardelli, 2003). Field and colleagues  (2005) analyzed data from
thousands of girls and boys nationwide aged 12 to 18 and found boys who read
three types of magazines (men’s, fashion, and health and fitness-oriented
magazines) and girls who reported attempting to look like women they had
observed in the media were more likely than their counterparts to use these
products” (275). There are those who feel the need to take supplements, get
plastic surgery, diet, or even go as far as starving themselves in order to
achieve the body they desire. Many conflicts have seen coming to the surface
today from a lack of self confidence in your bodies such as sleep deprivation,
eating disorders, and in the worst case scenario – suicide.  

The amount of television time will
reflect on how adolescents view their bodies or feel about it. The more time
you spend watching TV, the worse adolescents tend to feel about their bodies.

The less amount of time you spend watching TV, the effects aren’t as heavily
impacting on the viewer (Cornstock 275). Those adolescents who are exposed to
television for a long period of time tend to be unhappier with their bodies which
can possibly lead to eating/health disorders. A study found that women’s weight
reflects on their overall television watching; whereas, men’s television
watching reflects on their feelings towards their weight.

There was an experiment conducted
by psychologists in 2009 that was tested on children 8 to 10 years old. During
this experiment, the psychologists showed pictures of seven different body
types to these young children and asked to imagine what their personalities
would be like based on their bodies. Their response was shocking, but not
unpredictable based on the amount of media they’re surrounded by. The children
believe that those who are skinnier are better than those with fat bodies. They
believe that if you’re skinny then you will be happy, kind, and smart; whereas
for fat people, it’s vice versa.

            According to Greene, the cause of
this body image issue is because of the public figures that have been placed
for us. These models and celebrities are what we as a society look up to as the
current beauty ideal. Since women know that they’ll be prone to judgement then
they begin to compare themselves to these media image. They want to hopefully
meet these beauty stantards that have been set before them in order to “fit
it.” An experiment was conducted in order to test the effects of exposure to
such advertisements; As a result, they were able to find that women were more
like to make body comparisons and set unrealistic weight targets than men were.

            Body image is the leading cause for
clinical disorders such as anorexia (Greene 61.) Most disorders are because of
how people feel about their bodies. Anorexia for example is a type of disorder
where people consider their bodies to be too fat. These people suffering from
anorexia do that that’ll bring down their wait such as: starving themselves,
purposely puking out their food, etc. This is only one example out of the many
clinical disorders that are an outcome of having an unhealthy body image.

            These clinical disorders that you
see people facing today are mostly found in adolescents and possibly even
children. These disorders can continue with them till their adulthood if they
haven’t gotten treatment for it though. Another example of a clinical disorder
is depression. Where anorexia may be a disorder that’s physically obvious and
you’re able to tell that they’re suffering, depression on the other hand is the
opposite of that. There are at dolescents ages 12-17 Depression is a serious
illness that be an outcome of anything that was traumatic in their life. One
possibility of getting depression is from being bullied. Effects that may arise
from this disorder are feelings of worthlessness, loss of energy and sleep, and
possibly self-harm.  Depression can have
serious effects on the person if they don’t seek for help (Lohmann 96).

            Media not only affects people
physical bodies, but it also seems to have an impact on the supplement
industry. People who constantly pay attention to media are the ones that buy
these supplements which causes a burst in the supplement industry. Adolescents
often use protein powders, herbal supplements, steroids,
diet pills and other products that claim to improve weight, muscularity, or
shape.

            However, some may argue that social media can be a good
thing for adolescents, and that may be true. Many students benefit from
learning through technology and this is typically how teachers teach today. Especially
in school, laptops are essential because most of the work students are given
are online. Online work is a good way for students to communicate online with
their peers and also offers another form of learning.  Teachers are able to communicate with their
students through social media and it opens up another form of communication
that can be beneficial to both the teacher and the student.

            As an example, in Kamehameha school’s students are given
the privilege of having their own laptops. Common social media that are used is
classroom, email, google drive, etc. These social media sites allow students to
interact with not only their peers, but also their teachers as well. The social
media allows students to have discussions amongst one another and they’re also
able to ask their teacher questions if they’re already at home.

            Social media also allows adolescents to connect with
friends and family from far away that they’re rarely able to see. Using social
media is also a good way to connect with those from other countries or states. Hence
the part “social” in the word, that’s what it’s used for.

             

 

           

                                                                                                                                             

 

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