Social Media and the Effect Todays Youth

Our individual judgement on our own self-image becomes increasingly relevant in our lives as we age. When progressing through our development we try to achieve the goal of Self-Actualization. Once achieving this mentality a person realizes that they are satisfied completely with their current physical being or the environment that surrounds them. In the book The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf, the idea of creating an image for oneself and ignoring stereotypes that may challenge a person later on in their life is discussed. Self-Actualization helps us form a person that not only the public can be proud to be seen with but also a person that we as individuals can be proud of being.

With the increase of the use of social media in the youth of the world today, many under-developed young adults find themselves losing grasp on who they see themselves as. This is due to the pressure to maintain a certain “social image” in front of friends and peers. As mass media increases these trends begin to spread throughout social media and television leading to the kids of today being exposed to peer pressure and other trends that are spread peer to peer. This causes children to lose the ability to form their own “Self-Actualization” to help find who they are to themselves. This is due to many people worrying more about who others see them as instead of who they see themselves as. This begins the destruction of self-actualization from one generation to another, continuing the deterioration of not only, security in oneself, but also the ability to find who one wants to be in their own mind. This decides how future generations not only present themselves in public but also see themselves in their private lives. This problem in itself due to the social disorders that can stem from “fixing” one’s image to be more accepted in the eyes of society. When constantly changing who people see themselves as they cannot only deteriorate the number of friendships they have but also decline the number of new friends they can make.

In an article on the APP Gateway website from the American Academy of Pediatrics about pediatric social-media use states “According to a recent poll, 22% of teenagers log on to their favorite social media site more than 10 times a day, and more than half of adolescents log on to a social media site more than once a day. Seventy-five percent of teenagers now own cell phones, and 25% use them for social media, 54% use them for texting, and 24% use them for instant messaging. Thus, a large part of this generation’s social and emotional development is occurring while on the Internet and on cell phones.”(Source B), This statement shows the disturbing statistics of the relevance of social media in the lives of the youth. The large amount of time that kids and young adults spend on their devices allows the input of others and of social trends around the world to interact with the individual viewing them on a more personal level. This personal interaction allows the opinions of others the effect a person tenfold, leading to the increasing likelihood that a person will conform to please the opinions of others. In source B when speaking of children and their use of social media it is also stated “Because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media.”, This shows the increased likelihood for kids to alter their personas and attitudes depending on the opinions of others.

Public shaming and stereotypes are a consistent problem for that many people face in today’s society and that others have faced for centuries. This issue, which often leads to the mental and emotional break down of an individual, is an ongoing problem among young adults today. These stereotypes stem from the image myths that surround men and women today. In The Beauty Myth, by Naomi Wolf, it states “The model fantasy is probably the most widespread contemporary dream shared by young women from all backgrounds…”, This is due to the increasing pressure on young women by one another to “be flawless” like celebrities they see on mass media. This leads to an extensive increase in the bullying of those who don’t change their style to match the images they see on social media. As it is seen more and more regular to conform with the “trends of today” many people feel the pressure to keep up with others; leading to the fear of failure. This leaves many people struggling to find their public image because the hesitation that comes along with the fear of making the wrong social choices.

Many people lose the ability to see who they are in reality due to their constant forming of their “image”. In source C it states “Some believe that a person’s self-image is defined by events that affect him or her (doing well or not in school, work, or relationships.)”, This shows how not only social media but also social interaction in general can harm a person. With the increase in the spread of social media among today’s teens and young adults many people fear that their insecurities will be more visible to outsiders. Source D states “The effects of low self-esteem can leave you feeling pretty down.”, this shows how a person without strong self-actualization is missing the necessary protection from the grasp of social judgement.

In the image shown in source E it is shown that self-actualization is the biggest requirement for a “successful being”. Actualizing the self is the greatest way to find who one is and who one is meant to be. Source F shows the lack of self-actualization in teens by showing the most common body image perceptions that teens have about themselves. These things include things as 81% of 10 year olds being scared of being considered overweight. This shows the disturbing reality that surrounds our youth of today.

Without self-actualization teens and young adults today are missing a critical strategy when it comes to maintaining their self-esteem in the face of constant external pressure. The need for a strong self-actualization is even more relevant in today’s social media based generation. With the constant pressure to maintain trends being crammed down the throats of the kids in today’s society, it is crucial that the desire for self-acceptance be entwined in the generations to come. Without self-actualization the problem of conforming will increase to grow in the youth of the world, ultimately, leading to the destruction of individualism in society.

Rally The Students: Students Participate in Rally Day at Texas Capitol

In a bold move by the district, four buses packed with high school students made their way down to the capitol to learn and discuss political processes and concerns on Monday, February 28. Students woke up at the crack of dawn (4’o’clock to be exact) and loaded up for the for hour bus trip.

Upon arriving, students seemed partly mystified in what was many of the students’ first time being the Texas capitol. Although there wasn’t much time for sight-seeing, as students were immediately directed to the St. David’s Episcopal Church in order to meet with judges who were currently reviewing bills that would directly affect students. Due to traffic, we arrived slightly late while Mina Injarez was in the midst of explaining her current reviewing of an anti-cyberbullying bill that is currently cycling through the legislature. From what we heard, Bill HB no. 305 seeks to crack down on cyberbullying by allowing police departments state-wide to more thoroughly investigate claims of cyberbullying. This bill boasts that it will equalize the playing field against all forms of cyberbullying, even when the aggressor may attend a different school than the victim or may be home schooled.

One of the key points of bill seems to revolve around making parents more liable in cases where they are aware that an incident is taking place. An especially interesting point to make considering most of the society blames the bully more than anything, now the parents may also face consequences.

“I definitely think [the parents] should be more involved. I feel like [parents] aren’t up to date on the latest technologies; especially things like Snapchat.” said Principal Kevin Samples.

Ways to counter cyberbullying have been subject to review over the past 10 years or so as the internet has become more prevalent in society.

“Just blocking someone doesn’t solve the problem,” said Minjarez in response to a students question about what more advice could you give students about cyberbullying. “We want to stop the problem, not just ignore it.”

The next major bill that was brought before the students was HB no. 676, which seeks to raise the legal age of prosecution as an adult to 18, a raise from the current age which is 17.

“What difference does one year make in the justice system?” asked one student.

Alexander Hammond, Chief of Staff to Carol Alvarado, said, “A lot of thought goes into setting age limits. Your brain is still growing at 17, so how can you be tried as an adult while your still developing?”

Hammond was presenting two bills, the second one being HB no. 1018, seeks to set the legal limit to consume powdered alcohol to 21 years old, like all other forms of alcohol.

This bill seems pretty “no-brainer” to me and much of the other students, so there wasn’t much questioning regarding it’s passage. Although this was a good opportunity to inform students of this recently developed drug. Prior to this conference, I personally had no idea powdered alcohol existed.

The last part of this conference consisted of a panel of former students who currently occupied positions in Austin coming and explaining the best avenues to take to find success in government processes. Most of them spoke on internships and how social media plays a huge role in keeping in contact with constituents.

We departed the church with a minor taste of how government actually worked, and more was to come later. In the meantime, it was time to head down to the capitol building and meet on the front steps where a PTA rally was being led by the PTA president Lisa Holbrook.

Many of her remarks regarded what the PTA seeks to achieve this year, and recognizing the issues currently faced with the coming proposal of the system, which would allow students and parents to select what school in their district they’d like to attend.

“It all comes down to funding” said Samples. “The voucher system would allow schools to get more money per student than we currently get at the public education level.”

Many of the lead adversaries to this bill spoke up at this rally, namely among them being Representative Donna Howard.

“We don’t want the private schools getting all the funding” exclaimed a passionate Howard. “Do not doubt what your efforts here can achieve.”

Howard also went on to appeal to the masses of students present at the rally by announcing the upcoming bill XJR21, which would allow 17 year olds to vote in the primaries to select representatives.

Spirits ran high among the adults, but the students seemed to feel oddly out of place amongst all the commotion.

“They’re proposing stuff that wouldn’t affect them. They’re too old.” said Andres Garza, senior.

This narrative seemingly was playing out in the minds of all the students as they wondered around in the crowds filled with cheers and snare drums.

Tony Cervantes, senior, was skeptical, especially in regards to people in Austin passing laws over bullying. “They don’t know exactly how to handle [bullying]. [The students] should overcome the obstacle and move on.”

After the rally, students toured the capitol building and saw the hall where representatives convene in order to vote on bills just minutes before a session was about to take place.

“It’s so cool here!” exclaimed one student as they gazed up at the star on the roof of the main hall in the capitol.

Indeed, this was an excellent event for students to peer into the looking glass of government, but oddly enough, many felt as though they had no real voice while they were out there, only further reinforcing the notion that students really have no say in what happens to them.

The one opportunity students were given the opportunity to talk to a real representative, Cindy Burkett, seemed to be stripped away all to quickly, as students only got to ask about 3 questions, and seemingly got more answers from the MHS staff than the actual government official.

“Take part in your community. Allow yourself to be more involved in your community.” said Burkett

I’m sure students would have loved to been more active in their community and legislation, if only they were given a true opportunity to do so.

Prior to the event, many students were asked to research important topics regarding education to ask informed and meaningful questions in a meeting representatives that never happened.