Peer pressure in modern society is intensified by social media, countless individuals are addicted to it, and are slaves to comparing themselves to others. It is an omnipresent influence in daily life, and many cant go a single hour without scrolling through feeds. Individuals allow social media to shape their decisions, making individuals a slave to society just like the Allegory of the Cave about human, by Plato. The Allegory of the Cave is about human perception, the slaves didnt know they were in slavery. Peer pressure is not as overt as it used to be, it can be in the form of likes and comments on the internet, it uses this tactic to keep individuals enslaved. It specifically targets youths who are easily pressured into illusion, over truth. Teenagers are the most disenfranchised by social media because they are young and looking for answers about life choices like, what to wear, what to do, and who to look up to. Bullies prey on teenage insecurities during that developmental inquiry, and use the internet as a tool to peer pressure them into conforming to the group. Social media has intensified all aspects of peer pressure, and has drastically changed the lives of adolescents.
As we all know from personal experience, teenagers do not always make the right decisions. For example, many would choose eating pizza every night as opposed to salad. They know that salad is better for them, but they choose to eat the pizza anyways. However, many teenagers will know that something is detrimental to their health and choose to do it nonetheless because everyone is doing it. Many have heard of the recent, tide pod challenge where teens and young adults bite into the liquid laundry detergent and watch the soap erupt from their mouths. Obviously this is an extremely hazardous and idiotic thing to do, but it was trending. It was gaining likes and comments, and the pressure to be popular outweighed the potential risks. The same applies for drinking, and taking drugs. Underage drinking and partying is idolized over the internet, the more intoxicated you are, the more attention you recieve. Many post pictures of their drinks, and videos of themselves and friends completely wasted because it attracts attention on social media. It isnt enough to have one or two drinks, many are pressured into binge drinking because of the reaction it receives, More than 90% of the alcohol consumed by underage drinkers occurs during binge drinking episodes. (Gonzales). Again, the pressure to be popular and fit in, outweighed the potential risks. They know that binge drinking can cause, nausea, stupidity, rapid heart rate, and even blacking out. Yet by throwing up and blacking out, they will only attract more recognition from peers. Teenagers make bad decisions and unconsciously pressure others into participating when they receive positive attention, for a negative activity. Teenagers need to know that itr’s only an illusion that everyone is doing it, so that they can try to avoid peer pressure.
Teenagers are pressured into sexual activity over social media, and are targets for sexual harassment by adults 18+. When the app Snapchat was created, it didnt take long before teenagers learned they could send sultry or inappropriate photos over the internet. They were soon pressured by their crushes to send pictures of their privates because they disappear afterwards. So what could be the harm? This for many young adults, was the first sexual activity they were introduced to. Again, teenagers do not make good decisions and popularized sending nudes in attempt to make it a normal part of flirting with someone over the internet. It doesnt stop there, many will send complete strangers photos of their intimates and many of those strangers are over 18. Perverts and child molesters alike use social media to prey on childrenr’s stupidity over the internet. They often use catfishing which is where a person uses someone elser’s identity over the internet and talks to an unknowing person. Sometimes they dont bother to make another identity, they will lie about age, or simply convince the teen that they are trustworthy. The most scary of all, is when the adolescents have no idea their images are being saved, and even passed around,
In 2016, an Australian website made world news when explicit photos of local school girls were being traded amongst users. Other sources and fan pages even started offering money to users who could find more photos of their favorites. Unbelievably, the worst part isnt even the fact that these girls are now being targeted, and their photos are being sold and traded by perverts, but rather that their images have been used without consent, and itr’s very well possible that these girls are completely oblivious. (Lamm).
Point being, perverts and child molesters are preying on these photos, that teenagers themselves have deemed acceptable to send on the internet. They arent able to differentiate between friend or foe, and they dont know they are being taken advantage of. Social media normalized sending naked pictures to friends and crushes, then because of that normalization, made teenagers relaxed about sending them to complete strangers. Teenagers could only see the illusion that social media created, when the truth was that they were being targeted and used.
Teenagers were insecure about their body image even before the internet was created. Today, social media determines the standards of beauty, and if you dont fit within that standard you are often subject to bullying and harassment. Social media magnified the importance of looking flawless and created more pressure to fit in with the trends. With all the pressure to look flawless online, what someone looks like on the internet is not always what they look like in real life,
While the influence of digitally altered images is one of many factors involved in mainstream media, most people can now curate their own images to their liking with a swipe of their fingertip, thanks in part to an array of free applications for smartphones. People now have the ability to add filters, brighten their eyes, craft how they want their body to appear, whiten teeth, and more. (Cole).
Models, and celebrities alike edit and reconstruct their photos to make themselves look like the standard of beauty because the truth is that they dont fit into it either. The beauty standards are completely unachievable because they arent real. That celebrity has such a skinny waist because she edited it, but the girl who looks up to her and is starving herself to look like her, doesnt know that. Teenagers and adults go to disturbing lengths to achieve beauty standards, plastic surgery, waist training, starving themselves, and more. Social media creates unrealistic standards and illusions of beauty and then shames girls for not looking like that image. In recent years, social media has started to take steps towards revolutionizing those unachievable standards and teaching all people of different shapes, colors, and sizes to love themselves, but there is still far to go.
In conclusion, social media is neither good nor bad, but is a platform that many have used for evil. Itr’s bad when people believe that everything on the internet is true, and blindly follow its orders. Teenagers are not the only demographic that is affected by its false representation. My mom taught me not to eat tide pods, but she didnt teach me that beauty standards on the internet were outrageous because she didnt know. Parents dont know that their teens are being pressured online, because they dont even know that they themselves are being pressured online. Teenagers are the most disenfranchised by social media only because they are young and more gullible than adults. It didnt change our lives because we grew up with it, but definitions of peer pressure and bullying were immensely changed by it. My age group was born when social media was born, we dont know a life without it. Our parents didnt know the effects of it, we had to navigate it on our own, and we were the lab rats.