A teen’s view of social media norms

Post written by Lexie Maitland, guest blogger.

I’m sixteen years old, and I feel like social media has a huge impact on me as well as teens of my generation. Not only do all my friends use it, but the school clubs that I am involved in use it as well.

For me, social media is a way to communicate with others while being in the social eye. Unfortunately, many teens my age don’t see it this way. Many teens my age see it as a place to vent and let out all their feelings. I am part of the small minority that sees its use in a different way. I’m not going to lie, being part of that small minority that uses social media responsibly isn’t always easy at times, especially being a teenager.

What teenagers REALLY use social media for…

I check my Twitter and Instagram feed all throughout the day, but I tend to look at Twitter more than Instagram. I don’t know if it’s the urge to see what everyone’s up to or if it’s just a way to pass time, but I love scrolling through my Twitter feed and reading what other people are posting. Most of the time, I come across tweets like “I am so bored” or “wtf I am so mad right now.” These types of tweets are just plain annoying in my mind. Who really needs to know this stuff? Part of me thinks if you’re feeling mad or bored don’t plaster it all over Twitter- take action and do something about it! The other part of me wonders what might be going on to make this person so mad, and I’m pretty sure that’s what runs through about every other teenager’s mind.

Other types of tweets that I come across regularly are those known as “subtweets.” For those of you who don’t know what “subtweets” are, they are tweets that refer to a user without directly mentioning them. Some of the typical “subtweets” that I come across on a daily basis are things such as, “I can’t believe that you just did that to me,” or “you really need to get a life lol.” “Subtweets” are definitely the drama starters. Once someone reads a “subtweet” they automatically think that the person is referring to them.

I’m pretty sure some parents are unaware of what their child/teen actually does on social media. Although, most kids in my generation would disagree, I think parents need to be more on top of their kids when it comes to social media. Statistics show that less than 47% of parents are aware of what their child may be doing online. I truly believe that if more parents tracked their children’s social media accounts, the amount of cyberbullying and inappropriate content online would decrease tremendously.


The pressure I feel on social media…

Like I mentioned before, I consider myself part of the minority in the social media world. I don’t like to partake in silly “subtweets” or cyberbullying. I try to post positive things that I think people will somewhat care about seeing. I’d be lying if I were to say that it’s easy maintaining positive digital citizenship. Everyday I am faced with the decision of whether or not to post a certain picture or tweet. Teens LOVE watching how many “likes” or “retweets” that they receive. I’m not going to lie, it makes you feel good once you see how many people have “liked” something of yours.

Throughout the years I have discovered that the racy, ostentatious content plastered all over social media tends to get the most “likes” or “favorites.” Of course most teens are going to catch on to this and begin posting more perceptible content  in order to get more attention. As a teenager, I have to ask myself, “Is it really worth it?” I try to steer clear of this type of content on social media, but most people my age don’t. That’s what makes it so hard. When you see your friends and other classmates posting such absurd content, it makes you want to join in as well. My generation lacks the courage that it takes to maintain positive digital citizenship because we care too much about what others think. We care too much about what others do. We don’t have what it takes to be our own individual. I hope to be the UNIQUE individual that stands out among the others and promotes change in today’s generation.