The Impact of Social Media on Gen-Z

Teenagers are commonly ridiculed for what they post and how much time they spend on social media. All around the globe, teenagers are exposed to social media - more so than previous generations. Teenagers today must be more careful about what they post on social media platforms than any other generation, but just how much are teenager’s lives being halted by social media? 

The impact social media has on adolescents is often underestimated by older generations, simply because they do not experience this impact firsthand. Almost everyone starting from the age of 12 to 13 in the US either has social media, or has been on a social media platform.

Surveys show that ninety percent of teens ages 13-17 have used social media. Seventy five percent report having at least one active social media profile, and 51% report visiting a social media site at least daily.” (AACAP, 2018) From college applications, to extra-curricular activities, to simply fitting in, it seems that social media has a hand in almost every aspect of their lives. 

College administrators are aware of the impact social media has on their incoming students. It is known that colleges are looking at their students' social media pages to know more about who they are welcoming into their school.

According to a 2017 survey administered by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, 11% of respondents said they "denied admission based on social media content" and another 7% rescinded offers for the same reason.”

Applicants have been denied acceptance into colleges because they posted controversial things on social media. A student’s entire future is put in jeopardy, because of one sentence, picture, or video they posted. 

Also, many students are involved in extracurricular activities. From sports, to clubs, to class government, getting involved in school activities looks good on college applications and allows students to branch out and try new things. Similar to college administrators, high school administrators and coaches watch what their students are posting. Recently, a student in Pennsylvania was suspended from her cheerleading team for a year because she posted her frustrations about not making the Varsity team on Snapchat.

Social media plays the biggest role in how much teenagers fit in with their classmates and teammates. From followers on social media, to how many likes they got on their recent Instagram post, to who is at the big party that everyone is posting about on their Snapchat stories, teenagers have to live up to certain standards their classmates are making.

If you ask teenagers if they care about how many followers they have, some might say that they don’t. But they may have even convinced themselves that they don’t. These adolescents, though, are the same ones who are going home later and checking their Instagram profile.

St. John Vianney Sophomore Ema Purtell said, “I don’t really care about how many followers I have on Instagram. I do try to gain followers, but I don’t actively follow a bunch of people so they follow me back."

Generation Z knows first hand just how fast information can spread on social media. Even if a student is extremely careful of what they post, they must also be careful of what others post. They could be in the background of a picture doing things that are not appropriate or legal. Social media is a great tool to meet new people and expand horizons, but it can also be very dangerous.


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