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The student news site of Stockbridge High School

Uncaged

The student news site of Stockbridge High School

Uncaged

Is social media real?

Influencers’ impact of teens
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After a long exhausting school day, junior Ethan Bradley lays comfortably on his couch scrolling endlessly on his social media feed for hours at a time. Bradley admits to spending over 14 hours on social media every week. At a minimum, six hours is what Bradley spends on TikTok weekly, where he can average up to three hours a day solely on the app. However, he is not alone.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the average screen time for teenagers in America is over nine hours. That means if a teenager has a seven-hour school day and spends nine hours on his or her phone, he or she is left with eight hours to sleep. However, school and social media aren’t the only things on a teen’s schedule – extracurriculars like sports and clubs, after-school jobs, trips to get ice cream with friends and more occupy a teen’s life. So, how do teens have the time to sit scrolling and why are they spending so much time on their screens?
Studies done by 2017 chief executive of the Royal Society of Public Health, Shirley Cramer, show that social media is just as, if not more, addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now affecting young people’s mental health.
Taking advantage of social media’s addictive nature can direct students to influencers across platforms and interests such as makeup, sports, fashion, health, wellness and more.
An influencer is someone who has a large social media following built around their personality, talents, or interests and is commonly referred to as a social media influencer. Influencers also frequently post insights into their daily routines and hobbies. Many of them are considered to have the perfect life. According to lawyer-turned-copywriter Haley Zapal, teenagers like to watch influencers because they can provide engaging content and information that resonates with and interests their viewers.
“I spend around three hours a day on TikTok and I’m usually just watching the lives of influencers,” eighth grader Allie Dalton said. “I like watching TikTok influencers like Kaitie Richie because she posts not only the realistic side of her life but also the more perfect and put-together lifestyle.”
So many young people are seeing the ‘perfect’ lives that social media influencers reveal on their feeds, but is any of it real?
“You’re never going to know someone’s whole life,” junior high English teacher Hannah Gutsue said. “And if you get to curate what you’re putting out there, you’re going to put the best parts of you out there. Even when you are showing the real stuff, you get the choice of what you are showing us. So, I think that is really important to take in when you are consuming so much social media.”
When people are only seeing what others put on display, it is hard to differentiate what is actually real and what is only posted for likes and views, Gutsue explained.
The time spent on a phone combined with these seemingly perfect lives puts pressure on those watching multiple videos that tell them to look a certain way, have a perfect life and be able to afford everything.
However, this acceptance can only take someone so far before they discover that not everything on their phone is real; sometimes it’s all just an act that they become the victim of.

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About the Contributor
Macy Cipta, Editor In Chief
Macy Cipta joined Uncaged halfway through her sophomore year and has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief her senior year. She is very inspired to become a teacher since she loves leading and encouraging her peers. When Cipta is outside of school she is usually either working at Choice Farm Market or spending time with her friends. Her social life is very important to her and she believes that you become who you surround yourself with, so she surrounds herself with good human beings. She is a very determined young woman.
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