The student news site of Etowah High School
  • Cyber harassment
    • Fake truth
    • Social media depression
    • What it means to me

Social suicide

May 23, 2017

I am a freshman in high school, and high school is not sunflowers and sunshine. It is full of crazy roller coasters, mean people, and sleepless nights. High school is not only a place to get an education; it is a place where you meet new people; you try to fit in, and things will happen that make you the person you are.

Ask yourself, what teenager does not have a cellular device at all times? What teenager does not have social media accounts ranging from snapchat to Pokémon?

“Do not be a coward; if you cannot say it to their face, then why say it at all,” Kyllie Beach, freshman said.

Technology is one of the biggest essentials and issues of high school. Technology allows students to share, post and spread things about people, their lives and themselves. Social media has not only ruined high school for some of us, but also it has ruined our generation. Teenagers revolve themselves around what is being posted and what is the next big rumor. Technology gives us the chance to say mean things, do mean things and be mean people. Kids are bullied not only in the courtyard but also on their screens. Over 80% of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common tool for cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying has been one of the major ways to bully kids all around the world. It gives us the opportunity to say things without having to do it face-to-face. Teenagers think that it is okay to bully kids this way because they are not doing it in person. But it is still bullying.  No matter how you say it, it is bullying.

“Social media has ruined our society because it has made us feel like we are different and better than others. It has also has caused us to be less social because we stare at our phones all day,” Michael Tucker, senior said.

We spend so much time staring at our devices and focusing on the cyber world we have no clue what is happening in the real world. People are dying; terrorists are attacking;  people are being elected for office, and illnesses are being cured. Ask any teenager near you.  They do not worry nor care about the actual news in the world around us.  They would rather focus on who is dating whom than what bill Congress is debating. It is the generation technology has shaped us to be. Our parents constantly tell us technology has changed this world. From Apple products to X-boxes, technology has mentally and physically changed the outlook for my generation. Adults, regardless of their age, will tell you stories from having to stand by the wall to talk to friends to having to walk to their friend’s house to see if they could hang out. Our generation has completely misused and ruined the use of technology. Technology was supposed to help the world become a better place; it was supposed to help us change the world, but all it has done is help us ruin it.

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Fake truth

“It is a fake reality; when you get out of high school, it isn’t going to matter how many likes or retweets you get.” Kenny Wayne, former Marine said.

Teenagers are the bosses, the CEO’s, the political leaders and the head figures of the future. With technology, their idea of a future is just what new song is dropped on iTunes. The reality of it is that teenagers do not care about what is important; they care only about their social lives. They truly believe that social media will get them somewhere in life. But the truth is, your future is determined by how hard you work, how you devote your time and energy, not by how many followers you have or who liked your most recent post.  The Internet does not determine your future; you do!

“All I see is kids on their phones and never devoting time to their work,” Nathan Lancaster, Etowah science teacher, said.

Teens focus all our time and efforts on what is being posting on social media rather than on important things like education and our future. Teens would rather be seeing what people are tweeting than what lies ahead of them. You would think technology would improve this world, yet it has continued to draw kids away from wanting to do well in school.  It has drawn kids to stay up late on their phones instead of studying for the big exam. Technology is an influence, a distraction, and a weapon.

“It makes you compare, literally from all your activities, where you are, what car you drive, the comparison in social media is one of the biggest issues,” Michele Ellenberg, Etowah parent, said.

Coming from a girl, all you try to do is fit into this society and compare yourself to what she has or what she is wearing. You want to be better than she is; you want to look better, and you want all that she has that you cannot have. Social media gives you the platform to freely brag and showcase what you have. In person, you would rather ask their name and passion, than what purse or brand of shoes they are wearing. Social media gives us the access to be conceited and selfish towards others without even knowing. Teens are just following the lead of everyone else on their Instagram feed, which makes it seem okay for them. Bragging is just another part of the social ladder that has been created through social media. By social ladder, I mean how cool you are and how rich you are in this cyber society.

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Social media depression

There are powerful and negative emotions that social media easily generates:  anxiety, jealousy, stress, pressure, dislike, and loneliness.

Some people call it social media OCD. This is not your typical obsessive compulsive disorder, but in a way, it feels like it. Teens feel the urge to constantly check their social media for updates. This takes away from other things they could or should be doing.

Teens feel neglect after a long day of not hearing from anyone on social media. They feel left out after seeing their three best friends hanging out wondering why they missed an invite. Teens overshare about their lives, and it causes them to lose jobs, relationships and other such things just because they want everyone to know what they were doing last night.  The riskier the behavior, the better.  Underage drinking, promiscuity, breaking the law–in the past, these were not things teens broadcast, but in today’s social media driven society, the worse the behavior, the more teens brag about it.  Teens can feel heartbreak from finding photos of their exes on the first date with the replacement boyfriend/girlfriend. No matter what is happening, teens have an emotion for everything that is being shared, posted and said through social media. Stop caring; stop obsessing about him or her. Start caring about you and what life has to offer you. Those Instagram posts or tweets are not going to change your life, but you know who will? You will. You are the face of your future. Why let social media create so much drama and agony in your life?  Break the cycle.  Step out from behind the screen, and live life in the real world, in the here and now.

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My personal journey

I am a teenager. I am a very social and outgoing teenager. I know how social media makes me feel, what it makes me do and what it feels like without it. I have been without social media for over 3 weeks now, and I cannot begin to tell you how much it has changed me.  I feel the weight of social media being lifted off my shoulders. It is a feeling of knowing that I do not need to care about what she is wearing or who he is dating.  I get to worry about me, to focus on my life and living it to the fullest.  I no longer care about the ridiculous drama unfolding nonstop on social media.  I am no longer a part of it, and guess what?  It feels great.  Being without social media has given me the chance to spend time doing things I never would have never done if I still had a phone in my hand. It has given me the chance to relax and take in the seconds and minutes I had been missing because my phone was constantly blowing up. Social media almost ruined me. It made me feel not good enough, not cool enough, and it put me under a pressure I never thought I would be under. I am here to tell you, social media will not matter ten years down the road when you have a family and a career. The posts about so and so and her boyfriend will not be running through your mind while you are taking your kids to school or applying for a job. Living free of the weight of social media lets you determine how your day is going to go. It allows you to determine what you feel about yourself and your life. I have learned to love myself and the life I have been given.  Social media has been a gateway to teenagers to underestimate themselves and everything around them. If you remember one thing from my story, let it be this:  if you are going to live your life on social media, at least be that person that others will look for because they know you will encourage them. Be the positive one, and help others to have a great day, and you will find that not only they will like you, but you will like you, too.  Live your life.  Tweak it; don’t tweet it.

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