My Experiences with Social Media: The Positives and Negatives

When I first got my own phone, I was really excited to text my friends, play games, and
watch silly videos, like most teenagers are. Even though 14 isn’t a super early age to start using
social media, I wish I knew more about it, beyond just what they teach you about cyber safety in
school. Because the reality is that it’s not just you making a mark on social media, but also social
media making a mark on you.

I started off my social media journey on Snapchat and TikTok, where I had my first
negative experience. Back then, I loved watching TikTok, and I could spend hours scrolling through videos. But that was the problem. As I spent more time watching TikToks, I’d lose the time I spent doing homework or working out. Another odd thing I noticed was that after spending an hour or 2 on TikTok, I’d actually feel more tired and do my homework even slower than usual, which just wasted more time.

A little while later, I realized that TikTok may have been the problem, so I tried a couple
different things to reduce my screen time. The best thing for me was to put my phone in a different room when I was studying so that I couldn’t take those “5-minute” TikTok breaks that became way longer. At first, it was so hard for me that I had to uninstall TikTok, but now I think I’ve found a balance between social media and my life outside the screen.

On the flip side, I found Instagram to be really helpful. Personally, I use the app for
motivational content, and seeing either friends or people online succeed inspired me to want to
do better. But I also know that Instagram can be pretty toxic for a lot people, especially with
issues like body image or an unrealistic portrayal of life. So I think my past few years with social
media have taught me that your experience is what you make of it. You can use social media
apps for motivation, entertainment, connectivity, or really anything you want, so it is partly up to
you to create a space that’s good for your mental health.



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