Hey, social media doesn’t harm us!

Social media doesn’t harm us. Perception is everything, including in using social media.

Mien Le, Columnist

“Social media makes teenagers anxious and depressed.” That is the popular thought in the modern world when people talk about Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. However, let’s sit down and carefully consider the impact of social media on teenagers.

Does Facebook create bullying content?

Does Instagram encourage teenagers using several photoshop apps to edit their photos and then comparing their real self with their ideal self?

No, it doesn’t.

We have our own perception of the world outside. Our perception leads us to have our ideal selves. The ideal self means what we should be, what we want to be. This type of self, in my opinion, is a higher version of our real self—what we are, what our personalities are.

From a societal standpoint, many of us are driven by competition, achievement and status. We hope we will have the ability to maximize our potential and career. We set our own successful model to follow, to achieve an ideal self as soon as possible. But we cannot achieve that ideal self in a short time. Therefore, creating an ideal self by using the support of photoshop from social media is our solution.

If someone wants to have some cute stickers, Facebook provides them. If someone wants to have an autumn filter for their photo, Instagram can help. Social media’s photo editing tools help teenagers’ profiles on social media look better. In other words, their ideal self is created successfully.

As a result, young people consider their profiles on social media to be the presentation of themselves. The ideal self is replacing their perception of their real selves. Day by day, they depend on it.

“People portray their best version on social media, which can harm themselves a lot,” sophomore Abby Hesse said.

Many people will argue that the tools for editing photos on social media are the main factor which makes teenagers create more and more their ideal self. But I think editing photos is an art. It doesn’t harm anyone. It helps us to become more professional. It just becomes a bad thing when people abuse their photo editing tools for their profiles. They perceive their professional profiles or their ideal self on social media to represent their real selves. This perception eliminates many of our real components.

Without the support to make the ideal self on social media become better, teenagers feel anxious and depressed. They may be more concerned about the amount of “likes” their photo can get than the real love they can receive from others in their real life. Sometimes, a hundred likes on their photo is their happiness.  And they start comparing themselves to others. “Why does that girl have more “likes” on Instagram than me?”

It’s sad but true to say that our perception harms ourselves.

“In the past, I used to care about the amount of ‘likes”’ I got.” first-year Kelly Hart said. “Nowadays I don’t care anymore but the only things that harms my self-esteem is seeing all the girls on Instagram with skinny bodies and perfect skin because I don’t look like them.”

However, it’s never too late to adjust our perception about how to use social media.

The real self is what you are in the current time. The ideal self is what you should be in the future. Why don’t you go and make your real self become your ideal self? Improve yourself day by day, set your goals and focus on them, do everything step by step.  You will see the photos of your ideal self on social media will be replaced by the representation of your real self.

“I think that people should try taking a step back and recognizing unrealistic body expectations,” first-year Raina Meyer said. “That might mean noticing the accounts we follow and how we might unintentionally create an echo chamber around us that can make us closed minded to others in real life who share views different from our own.”

Everything about your online persona should be reflective of your offline persona. Let yourself use your time and effort to accomplish the goals that will align your real self with your ideal self. By doing so, you will ultimately become more fulfilled as you accomplish the goals that will lead to your path to self-actualization, to become the best you… The “real” you.