Good teens, toxic lifestyle?

Student Contributor

Teen lifestyles coincide with social media, but how much of that is toxic through apps like Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat?

In today’s world, most individuals accept that social media has a bigger impact on people’s lives than what it did a decade ago. Starting from the early stages of a Myspace page, to the intricate abilities held in Instagram and Snapchat, social media became a massive form of communication and entertainment, slinging into the palms of young lives.

Almost 95% of teens have full access to a smartphone and about 45% say they are on it almost constantly. Take a look inside of a school building on an average day compared to what high school may have looked like 10 years ago. People walk through the halls and some may notice other individuals and their peers showing something off of their phone, texting, listening to music, or simply just making a call. While cellphones surely have their benefits due to the ease of communication, they also have their cons.

At Cranberry High School, student journalists swept the halls to find out the inside scoop on student opinions about the positive and negative effects of social media.

Zac Kiefer, a sophomore at CHS shared, “Yeah, I love to use my phone during school because it can just be convenient, but I notice other people just isolating themselves in this world of ‘I can just do everything on my phone’.”

Today, people live in a world of technology and while not all use it, most people are surrounded by it, making it hard to not reap the benefits of technology.

Studies show that a teen who uses his/her phone half as much as his/her peers are more likely to not be exposed to such things as drama, bullying, or jealousy issues. Some believe social media can only become a bad thing when teens or people misuse it when they bully, publicly shame someone, or spread rumors about people.

Why do some teens still use their phone despite knowing the grief it has brought them or realizing the harmful effects it could bring in the future?

“Well, I just love using my phone throughout the day because it always brings me something to do when I have nothing or if I’m having a bad day. I can also just throw my music on shuffle and think to myself,” said Jalyn Taft when asked about her phone usage.

Researchers say that social media can be a beneficial for teens. Social Media can strengthen friendships. According to a study, 52% of teens felt that social media improved their friendships and only 4% felt it hurt them. Additionally, the study found that nearly 30 percent of social media users believe that social networking makes them feel more confident and outgoing.

Teens who use social media also have greater opportunities to express themselves in ways they couldn’t before. Teens can now share their talents widely through an array of different social sites. Providing this avenue of self-expression is important for teens. In fact, research shows that there is a direct connection between self-expression and self-confidence.

Lastly, social media is a great way to gather information for whatever the teen may need. Teens can now follow their favorite celebrities such as authors, singers, actors and professional sports athletes. Teens also can gather information about issues that impact them or their friends. For instance, if they are concerned a friend might have an eating disorder or a drug addiction, they can gather information about it.

So, is social media use negative or positive for teens? Well, that’s for the user to decide. However, if using social media leads to a toxic platform, users should limit their time and avoid the stressors that cause the trouble. Students should consider whether or not they should seek help, especially if they are experiencing negative effects from social media use.

A common thought is that everything in life can workout as long as it is done in moderation. Nowadays, it should not be social media itself that people look to as a solution to stay connected, but invest in face-to-face conversations and avoid the isolation that can accompany the use of social media.



Dylan Salsgiver is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of Cranberry Chronicles, the school’s journalism/publications group.