Hi! My name is Kathleen McSweeney and I am sixteen years of age. I find it can be difficult being a teenager in 2017. I think the biggest difficulty is social media. With all these social media platforms and usage of impulsivity, a teenager has to carefully choose friends and carefully use the Internet. I have wonderful friends who, like me, really only utilize social media like Facebook and Instagram to connect with long-distance friends and family. I actually only have Facebook because a student from my grade school tried to impersonate me to speak to people, perhaps with malice. I have Instagram really only to keep in touch with friends whom I haven’t seen in a while. Some teenagers have social media with the desire to be “popular.” I once knew a girl who made fun of her own friend for not having 500 friends on Facebook. I personally think that is way too many because she certainly didn’t know all those 500 people. I wouldn’t want people whom I don’t know seeing personal aspects of my life. Apparently, some people, I just found out, actually pay for followers on Instagram to seem “popular.” I think these people are degrading themselves because they are trying to be people they are not.
The newest social media craze, at least in my school and neighborhood, is Snapchat. Snapchat is social media platform where a user posts a picture and his or her followers can only see it once for 5 or 10 seconds. This gives teenagers the chance to post scandalous things such as nudes or illegal activities because they think it only lasts for those few seconds. Granted, a user is notified once a follower takes a screenshot, however, that screenshot is still on the person’s phone and can be sent to hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. Teenagers don’t realize how harmful their acts may be and how careful they have to be when using their phones.
Not only do teenagers have to be careful with their own phones; they also have to be careful with their friends’ phones. Some friends aren’t true friends. Sometimes a friend can take a picture of someone and think it’s so funny that they have to share it with the world. Said friend will most likely do this without any consent. This photograph may be embarrassing or even harmful to the subject’s future. When someone applies for the job, most of the time the company will search the applicant and look at what they have on social media. If they see some risqué things, they are definitely less likely to hire the person.
I’m sure this wasn’t really a problem when someone like my mother or maybe even my twenty three year old sister had when they were my age. My mother is in her fifties so the Internet wasn’t even a thing. My sister had Facebook and MySpace, but it certainly wasn’t what it is now. Hopefully, social media will die down or teenagers will become more vigilant and aware of what they could potentially be doing to themselves.