Over time, social media has become more and more involved in our lives. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are just a few of the platforms that offer a lot of power to today’s teens, and whether this power is used for good or bad is up to them. While there are often stories about some of the horrible instances of cyberbullying, social media also paves a path for new friendships and connections.
In most cases, social media is used for sharing recent events happening in our lives, but recently, social media has been proficient in making more connections. When scrolling through a feed, instead of seeing posts from only friends and family members, you will often see a suggestion bar that is able to connect you with people you might know through followers.
Now on first glance, this might sound unnerving especially with the Mark Zuckerberg problem going around in the media. However, it is interesting that a social media app is able to easily connect people who might not know each other through a commonality.
In today’s world, the creation of internet friendships has become more prevalent. Whether this be through a shared love of a YouTuber or a spark created by a nice comment, social media does not have to be all bad.
“Before the internet, we were only able to interact with the people that were geographically close to us,” sophomore Courtney King said. “Now that there’s social media, you could find a person that has the same personality as you, likes the same band or artists, going through the same struggles as you, and they don’t have to be in your school or town.”
Social media has the potential to create a safe environment to share thoughts and feelings, but precaution must be taken in order to be safe. Parents have the right to be able to see what their child might be posting in social media, but that does not mean there should be no interaction with social media what so ever.
“When I first met [my social media friend], I talked to my parents about it, and they were pretty skeptical, but once my friend and I had talked on the phone and facetimed, my parents were able to see that she wasn’t some creepy old man trying to kidnap me,” King said.
As people become exposed to social media at a younger age, parents should definitely become more aware of what their child is posting. On the other hand, teens have a great opportunity to reach out to others as well as find more opportunities online.
Not only are more companies and colleges posting information on their social media platforms, they also provide a great insight into curiosities. If a student is interested in a college and wants to see what their campus experience might be like, a quick scroll through their account can give a great insight on that.
Social media also has the power to connect people internationally. Not only is it interesting to meet someone who lives in another state, but it is even more interesting to meet someone from a different country and compare customs and cultures.
“Social media allows you to connect with people from around the world that you would’ve never had the chance of meeting in person,” senior Delta Oswald said. “Having an Instagram account with almost 3,000 followers, I’ve talked with people far, far away in Singapore, Australia, and even Germany,” Oswald said.
Parents being strict with social media not only leads to them missing out on the average high school experience, but it also leaves them missing opportunities to learn more about what is outside their door.
“[It] doesn’t matter if they are thousands and thousands miles away from you, they accept you for who you are,” Oswald said. “I think that’s all someone asks for in a friend.”