When we as humans think of the words social media, we think of the amount of likes and comments we get on Instagram, the amount of friends we have on Snapchat or the amount of retweets we get on Twitter. It’s all about the numbers nowadays. On average, statistics are showing that over ¾ of the teenage population watch Youtube and Netflix more than their own TV’s in their living rooms. So when did ‘Social Media’ become such a huge hit?
Social Media has been around now for as long as anyone can remember, the days of Bebo and MySpace were seen by some of us (including myself and if you’re in your 20’s now!) whereas Snapchat and Instagram took over not even 10 years ago. Worldwide, people are constantly downloading every app onto their smartphones to keep up to date with their family and friends, it seems that face to face communications have become non-existent since smartphones and social media became mainstream. Even though I seem like i’m talking about social media negatively, in retrospect it has created something much bigger and better for all of us. Individuals all over the world are being able to connect with other people through the touch of a button. From one of my own experiences, I would never have met some of my internet friends that I have in America, for example, if it wasn’t for the access I have to social media.
‘Social Media Day’ was created by the website Mashable in 2010 to celebrate the impact social media has had on people and the way communication has been effective in connecting friends and building businesses, it is celebrated each year on the 30th June. It’s no lie that we use social media purposefully to build ourselves up. Holiday pictures get splashed all over Facebook and we always let our followers know what we have in store for our futures. But whether it’s posting edited pictures or putting on a persona that isn’t yourself; there are also many negatives that come alongside social media ranging from peadophilia to grooming, it’s not always safe, so one of the main tips I would give to you about being online is one that you must have heard THOUSANDS of times before, don’t always trust the person on the other end of the laptop/phone. Before meeting with someone, make sure you have video called with them, spoke to them on the phone and received specific pictures of them such as them holding three fingers up, this is just something that they wouldn’t be able to find online and fake to make it their own. The internet has become a really dangerous place for predators to be lurking for their next victims, so awareness of this topic is a really important thing to talk about especially on a day made specifically to celebrate social media and its effects on people.
My experience with social media has been a pretty positive one in general. I am very thankful towards it in the sense of that I have met some of my best friends through it’s platforms, I can communicate and talk with them easily and I am able to gain new experiences through meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds as well as educating myself on those topics too. However, I have suffered some backlash through online trolls and bullies as most teenagers will do in the future and have experienced in the past. At the time, it definitely was very upsetting for me, I wanted to delete every social media account I owned and I didn’t want to be seen by anyone, but after a long think and a talk with my friends and family, I realised that those cyberbullies are behind a screen and are nothing but ‘keyboard warriors’, in other words, they don’t know me as person, they don’t know what I am like and I’m never going to meet or see them so why should I let them affect my life? Now if I see a mean comment, I go straight for the BLOCK button, simple as that. There words will and never have any effect on me ever again. Please take this advice for yourself if you are struggling or have struggled with this too.
All I want is to finish off by saying that social media has been an incredible platform for our generation. With all the different movements that are occurring such as ‘March For Our Lives’, it is astonishing to see how much young people’s voices are being heard more than ever today. As a generation, we are making an impact and we are slowly formulating changes for the better for our present and future society and it is all down to the community that makes the whole of Social Media. So go and enjoy yourself this 30th June, post a cheeky selfie online or write a heartfelt post on Facebook, it’s up to you but whatever you do, be safe, be aware and most importantly, have fun!
All my love,
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.