Is Anxiety Insta-Worthy?

By Emma Arango, Danielle Cohen, and Maya Kachroo

The rise of social media has made a significant impact on the general wellbeing of teenagers. With the influx of technology and the abundance of online communication, the current generation of teenagers is bearing the brunt of this new era. 

Social media is the biggest agent of this “brunt,” as teens constantly feel the need to keep up with the latest trends and show the world their very best. 

This continuous need to “be better” affects the self-image of most teens, making them feel as if they just aren’t good enough. 

“I think social media definitely has an effect on anxiety. You always compare yourself to others, and compare how many likes you get, it keeps you up at night,” said Leya Aladwan, senior. 

Many teens feel that the widely-used app, Instagram, is the greatest cause of this anxiety. A place where everyone can look at each other’s pictures and like and comment on them, teens are constantly striving to look their best.

“Instagram really takes a toll on teenagers because everyone is comparing each other to celebrities who photoshop their pictures,” said Sam Conforti, senior. 

As a test to see if hiding likes is actually beneficial to people, last May, Instagram experimented with it in Canada. They hid likes, in an effort for people to post content they wanted to, not just things that would get the most likes. 

The test went well, and now Instagram is expanding the test to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. 

Ryan Hilton, who has worked on this experiment since its beginning, told US News, ‘“It makes it hard to find who the influencers are. It’s hard to know who to follow because everyone looks the same.”

With communication relying mostly on social media, some teens feel the effect of a lack of human connection. Social anxiety has increased dramatically in recent years, social media being the catalyst of this epidemic. 

“Snapchat is making everyone less social, it can be hard to keep up with your social life when not spending too much time on the app. I can see how social anxiety is the highest its ever been” said Delaney May, senior. 

Social media may not be all bad. Teens attest to the shift of emotional outwardness on apps like Twitter and Instagram. Now more than ever, celebrities, and everyday people, are willing to show the world that they are burdened with anxiety.

With this new wave of emotional availability online, will social media start to benefit those with anxiety, or will it continue to put a damper on teens’ self-confidence?