The Instagram Generation – How the Social Media Age is Shaping the Next Gen of Teenagers
We are the Instagram generation. The social media age has reshaped us into something more than just kids with cell phones: we’re constantly looking at pictures of other people’s lives, and it’s shaping our expectations of what our own life should be like. Or maybe not so much shaped as constructed, because we’ve always been able to stay in touch with friends and family through social media. But these days, that sharing has turned into a steady stream of selfies and funny grocery-store pics and the occasional “let me show you what I’m doing right now.” One teen named Emily told me that it’s not even enough to have fun memories anymore. “The thing is,” she said, “I can share more things online with more people than I could in real life, and that makes me feel like I’ve become more important, more special.” And that’s just the way she likes it.
As a society, we’ve been letting our own children down in some way or other since they were born. When my own kids were little, there wasn’t much we could do to keep them safe from everything–from guns to drugs to diseases–yet we still felt the need to shield them from things like politics and sex. Now there’s pretty much nothing they can’t see anywhere, anytime. Parents feel like the best we can do is equip our kids with the knowledge to deal with it. But that’s not how teens see it. They bring the internet into their homes, which means it becomes a natural part of their daily lives and, for better or worse, so does social media.
If you are reading this, you probably have a friend or family member who has been affected by suicide. If you feel like you might be struggling with suicide yourself, please know that there is hope. You are not alone and there are resources out there to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for help as soon as you need it.
Suicide occurs when a person intentionally ends their own life, or when a person dies from suicide. Suicide may or may not be planned. An individual may attempt to commit suicide by taking their own life, but may fail in the attempt. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the US, with more than 38,000 people dying by suicide every year (1). Suicide is most common among adults between the ages of 45-65 (2), however young people in high school and college can also be at risk.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to be connected to a local crisis center.
Introduction: What is the Instagram Generation?
The Instagram Generation is a term used to describe the kids growing up in the social media age. Think about it: we post selfies and funny observations and everyday drudgery online for people to see. It’s part of what makes us “young people today.” But we do more than just share: we interact, too. That’s why I think that the Instagram Generation is more than just a description of how we use social media. It’s how we’re using it.
The irony of the Instagram Generation is that it’s not just about self-image. It’s about self-interest too. We use social media to find our tribe, so we can impress them: to prove that we’re cool, to gain popularity and followers and visibility. This is a big reason why we’re so obsessed with our online personas: you are what you put on the Internet, after all.
What does this have to do with female empowerment? A lot, I think. There are quite a few stories about girls and young women who use social media in harmful ways, for the wrong reasons. And these are sometimes the most talked-about stories. While I am going to talk about these types of girls and their damaging behavior, I want to make sure that I also talk about girls who use social media in healthy ways.
These kinds of girls are empowering themselves, not hurting themselves (as much as they may hurt others). They’re also using technology to connect with others and spread a message of hope and positivity. They are using the Internet in socially beneficial ways.
Social Media and Teens – How to Cope With This Powerful Relationship and What happens when you separate Social Media from Real Life?
As someone who grew up with social media, I have a very complicated relationship with it. On the one hand it has given me a platform that would have been impossible in the past: my blog tallies over 50,000 pageviews every month and I regularly get hundreds of Facebook likes, Twitter followers and Reddit upvotes. On the other hand, social media has caused me to take on more control of my life than I ever thought possible: It’s made it so easy to meet people with similar interests from almost anywhere in the world. As a result I have met dozens of wonderful people who share my passion for Spanish, for education, for writing. It’s been a great thing.
But there’s a dark side. Social media has caused me to become obsessed, depressed and anxious. It has led me to make all sorts of poor decisions, most of them not related to anyone who mattered. It has made me become obsessed with talking about my life and posting pictures I’m not proud of on social media, when I really should be spending time with the friends who matter to me and developing those relationships, in person.
I was so blind that I never saw how much influence social media had on my life until I stopped using it. And it was completely involuntary. I felt like a prisoner who was forced to give up the one thing he loved in life, and let me tell you that the pain was agonizing. Simply put, I hated it. And so did my friends, their parents and my teachers. The last straw came when I got a B on my first exam. Over that one grade, it all just seemed too much stress for me to handle and I decided to quit cold turkey.
What are the Advantages of Using Social Media for College Students
You might think that the above paragraph makes social media sound like a good thing. And it is, in many ways. Because at its heart, social media is about connecting. It’s making friends across hundreds or thousands of miles and finding people with similar interests to you. But this is not without its pitfalls. Social media has “opened up” a lot of people to a lot of things, and those things are not all good. For example, you might have heard about sexting.
But if there is any way to avoid facing all that, it would be through social media. And here’s how.
Social media is divided into two main groups: online and mobile. Online social media lets you communicate with family and friends using email, instant message and Skype. Mobile social media gives your information to everyone around the world at all times through your cell phone.
So far, so good, right? Now…if you want to use social media as an advantage for college students then it’s time to bide my time and explain each piece of this puzzle.
Advantage 1: Meeting new people every day
Online social media is just that. You log on and make friends with people from all around the world. If you’re savvy, you can make dozens of new friends in a day, and most of them will be your age or younger. This has one great benefit: it teaches you about other cultures and makes you feel like you are part of something huge.