Social media is not as bad as adults think

Adults are always telling us how we spend too much times on our phones and care too much about social media, but no one ever asks the teenager what they think. From my perspective, social media has its pros and cons.


by Maureen Burns, Staff Writer

“You spend too much time on your phone. Stop checking Instagram. Is something on that phone more interesting than me? Why do you keep taking selfies? Social media is ruining your generation.”

Adults love to tell me how social media is ruining my life, but hardly ever do I hear a teenagers’ perspective on it. From my perspective, social media has pros and cons.

First, let me establish that when I say social media, I mean Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. I’m not talking about all technology. I can only speak for myself on this topic, but I imagine many people share the same opinions. I only have an Instagram and Snapchat, and keeping up with just these is a struggle.

I hardly ever post on Instagram because it’s too much work. I have to come up with a clever caption and then I obsessively check for likes for the rest of the day. Sometimes I take super cute pictures that I want to show people, but the anxiety of everything that goes into that is too much. I know I’m not the only one who, when it comes time to post something on “the gram”, you have to go to your group chat. You need your friends’ confirmation of the picture, then you need to get some advice on the caption. If after all that you actually post it, they better go like it RIGHT NOW. In my opinion, that’s just too much. However, some girls go through the trouble, and I’m glad they do, because I really like seeing the pictures. However, this leads to my next problem: I never post anything, but I am checking Instagram 2-3 times a day. I can admit that’s ridiculous, but if I can admit it, why do I keep checking?

It is time to acknowledge the purpose of finstas. I understand they are “fake Instagrams,” where you post your real, unfiltered life, but WHY? I don’t have one, but I follow several finsta accounts, and they are hilarious. However, I don’t understand why you need a second account to be your actual self. The majority of finstas I follow have really funny posts and to be honest I wish I could be that clever and open. At the same time I can’t figure out why everyone can’t see the unfiltered you. I’ve been pretty clear that I’m horrible at keeping up with social media and I’m in a minority on this, but even some people who have finstas don’t understand why they have 2 accounts.

If we are all being really honest, the real purpose of  finstas and rinstas is the ability to manipulate other people’s perception of us and our lives. Our “true” friends that are allowed to follow our finstas get to see what we really want to post, and when we want to show off that super edited, over exaggerated moment of our life, everyone else gets to see it. I understand the pressure behind this mindset, and I absolutely participate in it. I may not have a finsta, but I only post when I do something out of the ordinary and not just whenever I want to.

Can we all admit Snapchat streaks are stupid? I hear girls saying how stupid they are all the time, but for some reason everyone still obsesses over them. I don’t know if it’s a sign of long lasting friendship, or if it just happened and then you don’t want to give it up. I really like Snapchat because it is a good, no pressure way to casually talk to people you may have otherwise lost touch with. I feel this is especially true with some of my friends from grade school. So Snapchat, I will give you that, but the pressure to keep streaks has ruined my appreciation.

I can’t speak about other social media outlets because I don’t have time or energy to keep up with them. However, for those of you who can, good for you, because I really believe that they are good ways to keep up with people and get to know them.

I agree with the common adult perspective that we are on social media too much, but I imagine our definitions of “too much” are different. I think spending time on social media is actually important in keeping in touch with people you wouldn’t have otherwise. However, the time spent on keeping appearances up on these accounts is what is “too much.”

From this teenager’s perspective: if you can keep up with social media, please do, because even though I find it too difficult to contribute, I really enjoy seeing your content. To all other people like me who like staying in touch with people, but are exhausted by the process and pressure, you are not alone. To all adults, yes, it is time-consuming, but we could be doing a lot worse things than checking our phones trying to be social.

As far as making a change goes, I challenge myself to participate more on social media, and be more natural in my posts. I challenge all of you who are good at keeping up with your accounts to be more natural as well and take a break sometimes, especially if you find yourself being too wrapped in the superficial side of it. I challenge everyone to explain to adults why social media isn’t as bad as they think, but also acknowledge its faults.