The Influence of Influencers

This past week has shown the power of YouTube influencers. The 43-minute “takedown” video by Tati (a notable beauty YouTuber) of former mentee and friend James Charles (also a notable beauty YouTuber) not only broke into the mainstream media, but had drastic effects for both channels. Both videos have at least 40 million views each, and as Tati has largely increased her following, James has lost at least 2 million subscribers on YouTube, and his response video is already one of the most disliked videos in the nearly 15 years of YouTube’s history. Continue reading The Influence of Influencers

Helping Online Friends

Although social media as an effect on how we don’t communicate as frequently face-to-face and in real life, this doesn’t mean that friendships are dwindling. The Internet has made the world feel smaller, and in just seconds, you can meet peers around the world who share interests or have the same concerns that you do, and the more you talk, the more you realize that you may have more in common and that they can be a great means of support. Continue reading Helping Online Friends

#tbt: How Did Teens Use Social Media in 2007?

While the lasting power of things on the Internet is permanent, the significance and popularity of some things are fickle. Even if Facebook is still up and running, notes and middle school photos buried somewhere deep down your feed, you probably don’t use it anymore – what was once one of the most popular website for teens is now only used by 51% of them, with only 10% saying they use it the most often. MySpace is pretty much nonexistent (as well as all the music on the website – one of the main features of the social network, and Tumblr has had a significant decline in users in recent years. Continue reading #tbt: How Did Teens Use Social Media in 2007?

The Effects of a Selfie

An easy target for those criticizing how adolescents use technology today is by mimicking them taking a selfie. The image can feel much more familiar than you may want to admit: your phone in your hand, arm stretched out in front of you as you angle and turn both it and your head as you try to find the most flattering shot. You take a few, get unhappy with nearly all of them, then repeat the process with different lighting, by changing your hair ever so slightly, and so on. Continue reading The Effects of a Selfie

Weekend Viewings: Social Animals

Anyone can be an influencer and have a large media presence. Some people stumble upon it, and some people don’t want it at all. Some create an account with the purpose of trying to get high traffic and sponsorships, while some just happen to have a post go viral and find themselves dealing with the outcomes, both good and bad.

Instagram helps foster creativity. Like any other social media platform, there are a fair amount of influencers, but Instagram stands out because it gives you a space to show off your artwork, photography, and design expertise, whether it be the lunch you ate earlier that day or a photo of yourself in front of a mural that perfectly matches your outfit.  

The 85% of teenagers going onto Instagram at least once a month most likely do so for different reasons. There are some trends on Instagram for teens – there are meme-and-theme accountstiming is important, and they want to do their best at making their grid look aesthetically pleasing. Teens use Instagram in their own creative ways, especially for self-expression, and sometimes the results can be extreme.

This is where Social Animals comes in. The documentary was directed by Jonathan Ignatius Green and was released back in December, following the stories of three teenagers: a pageant girl from LA, a photographer from NYC, and a high schooler living in the Midwest. All their stories and experiences with the social media platform are different, but there are still noticeable trends as you watch the movie. They all use it as an outlet for something and find a purpose behind it, but they’ve also experienced harassment and rumors through the Internet, some to a harmful degree.

There’s no clear bias in the film about if social media is really good or really bad, and simply interviews the three teenagers about how they use Instagram and the consequences that have come with it. Their backgrounds and upbringings have no overlap, but the film shows the effects that social media is having on Gen Z, not just on how they interact with others, but how they see themselves.

There are also a couple of interviews with the director if you want to learn more about the process and his views on social media and its effect on adolescents.The first one even includes two of the teenagers!

The documentary is about 90 minutes long and is available on Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, and Amazon Prime.

Warning: the movie discusses mental health, but one of the adolescents talks about self-harm and her suicide attempt in detail including her parents’ reactions. If you plan to watch the movie and are sensitive towards the topic, please view with caution.

Would you watch this movie with your child? Have you seen any documentaries or videos about the effects social media is having on teenagers?

Withdrawal without Social Media

Although adolescents are aware and think that they spend too much time with technology (especially their phones), it doesn’t look like they have any plans to reduce their use. There are stories about people taking a break from social media through a cleanse or even going off the grid completely and the benefits that come with them, but like any significant change in your habits, it can be an uphill battle to get to the positives. Continue reading Withdrawal without Social Media

Navigating the Internet with Social Anxiety

It’s not uncommon to be anxious to meet new people or be in a new, unfamiliar environment. It’s also not uncommon to feel terrified before performing something in front of a crowd, whether it be alone or with others. It’s also not uncommon to even feel a little bit nervous meeting people you’re comfortable with and know pretty well. Continue reading Navigating the Internet with Social Anxiety

QPOC and Social Media

The social media boom over the past few years has given a space for minority and marginalized groups – especially young people – to diversify their social networks. For those who feel like the people they usually talk to face-to-face aren’t diverse or simply don’t understand what they’re going through, the Internet and social media are ways for them to find those who are similar to them and feel that they are not alone in their identity. Continue reading QPOC and Social Media