By Scarlett Shelley
Wake up at 6:00 am, workout, take a shower, get dressed, brush
hair, apply make up, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and go to a six
hour long day of school. Many teens wake up every morning
feeling pressured to look perfect, but why do they feel this way?
Teenagers are feeling pressured to look a certain way, and are feeling down about themselves; this can affect their mental health. In a study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, researchers found that 49.5% of teens suffer from a mental illness, and many believe that social media is partially to blame.
Social Media's Effect
According to the Common Sense Census, each day “teens spend an average of 7 hours, 22 minutes on their phones, not including schoolwork.” While scrolling, teens look at perfectly photoshopped pictures of celebrities wearing clothes that only very wealthy people can afford; although many understand that these images are not realistic, it can still have an impact on self esteem and cause teenagers to have warped perceptions of their image.
Social media apps like YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok are apps that students at Oyster Bay use everyday. The age that adolescents are getting their first phones and downloading these apps is getting lower and lower; NPR reports that six years ago teenagers got their first phones around the age of fourteen, and now, in 2021, teenagers are getting their first phones by age eleven. As a result, children are becoming exposed to content that may be damaging to their mental health at increasingly younger ages. One effect of social media use is its impact on teenage body image; many teens believe that their bodies must look a certain way due to things that they see online.
In 2018, Market Watch reported that more than 200,000 teens had plastic surgery done in 2017 alone, which could, in part, be attributed to things they had seen on social media. Plastic surgery has become a popular way for teens to get the bodies they want. According to the same report, 6.5 billion dollars was spent on children's (ages 13-17) plastic surgery within the span of one year.
Teenagers are changing their bodies due to edited and photoshopped photos; how can this be stopped? How can we prevent teens from feeling this way?
Resources at Oyster Bay High School
Kids Health did a study that showed when emotions and problems are shared with others, stress is reduced, and patients have found this to be true. If any student at OBHS needs to talk, our school counselors and social workers are available to provide a safe, judgment-free space. Equipped to help students by providing access to resources and coping mechanisms, Oyster Bay High School counselors and social workers are happy to be of help to all of the students at Oyster Bay High School.
Building on Oyster Bay’s commitment to creating a safe space for all students, last year OBHS was designated a No Place for Hate school. In adopting this program, the school put forth a no tolerance bullying policy. To celebrate, a spirit week was held, and a pledge to join the No Place For Hate movement was set up in the lower gym lobby, where many students were able to sign their names. Now, students at Oyster Bay are able to learn in a safer environment where bullying is not tolerated.
Many high school students are struggling with how they look, what to wear, and what trends to follow. These struggles may be intensified by social media’s impact on body image. However, Oyster Bay High School is working to create a space where all students can feel free to be themselves. The world doesn’t care what you look like, so be who you want to be.
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