By Aarja Mody, Staff Reporter, The Pawprint
Changes happen everywhere every day and there’s no way to stop it from happening. Being a young person in today’s world is challenging. It’s hard enough growing as a teen in this modern-day society where there are so many expectations created by social media, it’s far more difficult to avoid peer pressure when society expects you to look, act, and talk in a certain way. This can be very confusing and might cause teens to become isolated from their peers. They will most likely be bullied for being different, and in the worst-case scenarios, teen victims might commit suicide.
Women should be slim, but curvy at the same time; smart, but humble at the same time; attractive, but not obsessed with an appearance at the same time; well-dressed, but getting ready shouldn’t take too long; they should wear makeup but also be naturally pretty. These double standards lead to insecurities and an unhealthy self-image.
In a generation where “girl power” and “body positivity” are encouraged and familiar, we still fail to eliminate the biggest standard which is pleasing those around us. We should be valuing people for their qualities and uniqueness. Not by their looks.
Adding social media to the mix, Pew research mentioned that girls tend predominantly use social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. The pressure of getting a certain amount of likes in a picture or having a certain amount of people on Snapchat, as well as let’s not forget your snap score are greatly found in our society today.
“I don’t get sleep unless I reply to all of my messages” says a high school student at Dubai American Academy. According to childrensmd.com, “Age[s] 14-15 seems to be a big turning point for sleep deprivation”. Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD, is an assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine “Sleep deprived kids have more behavioral problems, more academic problems, more health problems, more risk-taking behaviors, and more anxiety and mood related problems.”
Based on ulingourexperiences.com, girls who spend the most time on social media confessed to being sad or depressed on a daily basis. They were also more likely to change their appearance, dread going to school, and avoid sports and other social activities.
I asked teen girls at Dubai American Academy the following question: What does being successful mean to you? The answers I got were near to impossible. Hardworking, ambitious, successful, popular, smart, athletic, pretty, socially active, and the list goes on.
The impossibility of measuring up to these standards has left the teen generation questioning their achievements if they’ll never be good enough, successful enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. There is no enough, it’s never good enough. As the saying goes, perfect is the enemy of the good.
In other words, They are taught to only show what they want others to see and hide the truth and reality about themselves. Our generation is being raised to “hide behind the screen”. For kids who want to come out from behind the screen to can get help can go to counselers, join “in real time wellness” a support group, or talk to a trusted companion. This needs to change and it needs to change now.