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Impacts of social media has been regularly highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic last year.

Social media can have major positives and major negatives when it comes to an individuals development from a young age. This topic intrigues me and made me want to research more about what the actual effects social media can have on younger people that are navigating through life.

A survey completed this year by Common Sense Media among 1,500 teenagers found that half of respondents were in favour of social media with some referencing it as very important to get support and advice, feel less alone, stay in touch with friends and family while social distancing and also for expressing their creative side.

This I completely understand. In terms of being able to have the luxury and freedom of expressing yourself and contacting friends and family whenever you please. This is something that really helps people feel like they are allowed do what they want to do in terms of expressing themselves and interacting with others.

According to the survey participants, 43% said that using social media makes them feel better when they are stressed, depressed or anxious. 52% of the LGBTQ youth said that social media helps them feel better when experiencing certain emotions.

On the other side of this, it shows a significant effect on teens when depressed and anxious, that they feel worse after being on social media. One-third of teens with depression reported constant social media use, as compared to 18 percent of teens who did not have depressive symptoms, according to the survey. This shows that some teens can rely on this to make them happier but instead, it can fuel their depression and anxiety by comparing themselves to others and occasionally feeling very lonely. This is more common than we think, and can have a serious effect on self reflection and emotional intelligence in younger people.

Young girls with low self esteem can find this to drop even further through their usage of social media. They can compare their lives to others and gradually look at their personal lives, finding things they might think is wrong.

In my personal experience with social media, I like to say that one picture is only a snapshot of one single moment this person is having in their day, without highlighting the negatives which everyone goes through.

Social media is great for marketing and expressing yourself. But I also think it can cause unrealistic expectations for people. Influencers nowadays show every side to them including the negatives, and this is a very positive change in our society.

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