Teens and Social Media


By Aya Alzuabi

Social media has become an obsession, plaguing today’s generation of teenagers. At gatherings with friends or family, teenagers are more likely to spend their time on their phones than to pay attention to the people they are actually with at the moment. Many may wonder why social media appeals so much to adolescents. Well, there are actually many factors that go into it.

It is well known that teenagers are easily influenced. They are especially influenced by their peers. More often than not, teenagers try their best to fit in with the social norm. Most teenagers feel pressured to stay updated on the constantly changing ‘trends’ of society. Social media provides teenagers with the opportunity to explore what is ‘cool’ and new in fashion, sports, technology, TV shows, films, and every other aspect that a teenager would find interesting. Therefore, teens are drawn to social media in order to feel ‘relevant’ and up-to-date with all the new trends, and thus, feel validated.

Validation is a major reason that social media is so addicting to teenagers. Since teens are easily influenced by their peers and feel pressure to fit in, they are often in search of validation or acceptance. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and the like, help teenagers feel validated with the amounts of likes, retweets, or comments they get on their posts. When a teenager uploads a photograph that gets many likes or compliments, they feel validated. The more photos they upload, the more likes and comments they get, the more addicted they become. The cycle goes on and on.

Lastly, the reason that makes social media most addictive is because it provides instant gratification. Recent studies show that this generation, especially, has been proven to be the most reliant on instant gratification. Being born in a world where almost everything is readily available, due to the many new technologies, has shaped this generation into becoming very dependent on instant gratification. Consequently, they rely on the instant pleasure they receive from chatting with their friends online, feeling validated through different social media platforms, and watching hours and hours of pleasurable Youtube videos. It’s no surprise teenagers have become so lazy!

With that said, social media is not inherently evil. There are many ways in which social media can be used to benefit society and adolescents. With all the new technologies and websites, one can easily learn new languages, discover new innovations, help others cope with personal issues, build their spirituality, and explore new talents. Like everything else, there is a good side and a bad side to social media. Pick the right one, and it can be the path to success.

The following is a compilation of some awesome apps that have many benefits, and are an excellent alternative to the social media apps that just drain students’ time without much added benefit.

Quizlet helps students practice and master any subject they are learning. Students and teachers can create and share online learning materials. Quizlet is one of the most popular online educational services in the United States. Quizlet offers tools for students to make flashcards, practice spelling, play learning games, test their knowledge, collaborate with other students, and more.

My Fitness Pal can help you become healthier, get fit, and lose weight, healthy way. Fad diets do not and they are bad for your health. The optimal way to lose weight is to watch what you eat, make the right choices, and exercise; My Fintess Pal helps in these three areas. It is a free application that helps you keep track of your diet and exercise. My Fitness Pal determines the best caloric intake for you and it counts your daily calorie intake, and also the level of important nutrients in your foods. Users can either scan the barcodes of various food items or manually add them in the database of over five million different foods.

Khan Academy is a free educational application that was created by educator Salman Khan with a goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students. The organization produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos for almost every grade level in every academic subject.

Duolingo is an excellent language-learning application. Duolingo offers 68 different language courses across 23 languages, with 22 additional courses in development. The app has about 200 million registered users across the world. Teens could take advantage of such fun ways to learn languages. Duolingo provides written lessons and dictation, with speaking practice for more advanced users.

Qur’an Reader is a paid app in which you’ll be able to read the Qur’an comfortably on your iPhone. It offers a lot of features to read or even listen to the Qur’an on the go.