by Jasmine Brooks
A child growing up in the 21st century experiences many pressures but, one of the most intimidating being social media. An ever growing community of connections with people halfway across the world or right down the street from you. Social media is tricky, as with anything its intended use can be misconstrued and forged to meet the needs of its user. Children make up the majority of social media platforms demographic, about 89%. Since they are growing up and forming who they want to be, stances on social issues, and maybe even just what they want to wear the next day, children are very influential. They take cues from the world and use them to shape the answers for the decisions they have to make. Children being on social media is inevitable making them a recurring source of not only statistics but, in the case of social media advertisers, money. Advertising has been a thing for many years but only recently has it made its new home in social media. As one scrolls down their timeline they can see various ads catered to what they like. Now to a kid this may seem like pure fate, in reality it’s the exact opposite. They are being targeted by these larger advertising companies who use social media as a gateway to a younger audience. After having access to the audience they sought out, they will bombard the child with unrealistic expectations, and products to reach said expectations not to mention some of their favorite celebrities swear by some of the products they see. This constant exposure and over saturation of products that draw in the the adolescents attention leads to an over dependence of social media dependency. This social media dependency can be explained as the need to use a media medium, in the case social media, to satiate one’s goals, needs, and wants. Following this dependency are mental health issues such as, negative body issues, depression, suicidal thoughts etc. It’s a cycle that almost feels impossible to break, because children are too familiar with the feeling having social media gives. As they grow so do the technological advancements so social media’s intended will soon be completely lost in translation. What was once made to allow connection between multiple people at once, has turned into something that will inevitably introduce children to mental health issues.
Jasmine Brooks is a senior at Freire Charter High School and the Multimedia Intern at STAMP. She’s always found art, of any kind, to be cathartic.