Mental Health

published : 2023-09-24

The War to Save Our Teens from Social Media

Families, communities, and in-person friendships can help fight pseudo-perfection of social media

A group of teenagers enjoying an afternoon together, laughing and discussing their interests, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

The world of medicine is about managing imperfection, not aspiring to perfection. Doctors strive to help patients accept themselves as they are, rather than worshiping a perfect body.

Unfortunately, social media often becomes our enemy in this sense.

It has become far too easy to attack, bully, and marginalize others on social media, where individuals can remain unseen and unheard.

Disturbingly, dating sites have created a culture where men and women obsess over high earners with perfect looks and physiques, jeopardizing relationships built on trust and humor.

Furthermore, excessive use of social media has been found to have similar effects to substance abuse.

A doctor talking compassionately with a patient, helping them understand and accept their imperfections, taken with a Nikon D850.

On social media, many young women denigrate marriage, mocking the 'institution' and avoiding motherhood and a spouse.

The divisiveness of social media extends to politics and hatred, with shocking examples like a high school in California experiencing rampant racism and sexism on an Instagram account, leading to a deeply divided town and multiple lawsuits.

This problem was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic, where people isolated in their bunkers relied heavily on social media for communication, leading to worsened mental health and increased anxiety rates.

Almost two-thirds of teenage girls experienced deep periods of loneliness and unhappiness in 2021, and one-third even contemplated suicide as emergency room visits for mental health reasons among teens rose.

Increased governmental oversight and regulation alone will not solve the problem. The key is to overcome loneliness and restore connectivity as an alternative to the unhealthy draw of social media platforms.

A diverse group of friends gathered around a table, engaging in a lively conversation, building strong in-person friendships, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

Efforts like Gov. Glenn Youngkin's Right Help Right Now program in Virginia aim to combat the growing alienation and mental health crisis by empowering parents to make decisions for their children and fostering strong family bonds.

Families, communities, and in-person friendships, where young people learn to accept and love each other with all their imperfections, are crucial weapons in the fight against the damaging influence of the internet and social media.

By investing in these relationships, we can protect and save the current generation from the risks they face.

Let us create a world where real connections flourish, and pseudo-perfection loses its grip.