Social networks influence the daily life of young people. Everyone uses Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat on a daily basis, but this has consequences on the personal identity of young adults. Faced with the expectations of these networks, young people expose their private lives to their followers in an attempt to get the most views, likes, and comments. Low self-esteem, individualism or addition to technology has become frequent results of the impact of social networks on teens.
A rise in individualism
With social networking, teenagers are less and less social. The Internet threatens social cohesion because it has changed people’s behavior by making them more and more autonomous. Teenagers make choices according to their own desires and no longer for the good of society. They want to impose their own rules and live according to their own ideas.
This rise in individualism weakens social ties since the individual no longer feels a sense of belonging to social groups. Young people find it difficult to communicate face to face, they prefer to talk through their smartphones.
Young people addicted to their smartphones
Young people are more vulnerable to being dependent on the internet. This digital generation must use the internet to have social contact. This is a time of life when social contact is crucial for self-esteem and identification. As in the case of addiction to games, for example, the body also releases endorphins, creating a sensation similar to when we hear the ringing of a notification, or when our publications are positively approved by likes…
This addiction has psychological consequences on our behaviour. Our ability to concentrate has dropped by 8 seconds (less than that of a goldfish). We have learned to judge ourselves by the external image we project. Everyone has the same dreams, the same aspirations shaped by social networks.
Being perpetually in comparison, the main impact of social networks
Generation Z has an irresistible need for social validation. This has always been a fundamental human need, but it has been amplified with the advent of social networks. Instagram has therefore become the ultimate social approval tool. It allows you to know in a few seconds what you are worth, thus fulfilling your need for social validity. Instagram, therefore, amplifies the phenomenon of social comparison, which pushes individuals to compare what they see on social networks to their own lives. This phenomenon is especially strong with influencers. This phenomenon can lead to suffering, reduced self-esteem, and feelings of worthlessness. The most striking example is the physical comparison of young girls with stars, models, and influencers who mostly retouch their photos. Teenagers want to look like celebrities. They buy products only because a public figure has worn them. But this raises questions about their identities… Are young people really themselves? Or are teenagers just what society wants them to be? Indeed, a person who does not have the same interests as another person can be devalued and marginalised.
The dramatic consequences of a virtual world
Depression and suicide are consequences of social networking among adolescents. When teenagers regularly use social networks, they are likely to have a negative body image. Many young people have low self-esteem as they compare themselves with other people, especially influencers. These people isolate themselves and fall into depression as they do not feel they can cope.
Cyberstalking is also a negative consequence of social networking for young adults. Indeed, many people receive hate and insulting messages on digital platforms, which pushes some people to devalue themselves.
Between narcissism and harassment, young adults face anxiety, depression, and suicide. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are thus disrupting the mental health of consumers. Given that, it continues to be necessary to study the impact of social networks on teens and the creation of initiatives that allow young people to be aware of them.