Social media now a battle ground for young people


Social media consuming youth. Photo: Jess Robertson

As social media usage continues to escalate, pressure for cyberspace recognition has increased for students.

Year 12 high school student, Phoebe White describes social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram as the new field of competition, where youth of today strive to win.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found 82% of teenagers aged 14-17 regarded social media as a very important part in their lives.

Brisbane University student, Bronte Moroney described the ongoing importance social media recognition has.

“The idea of a strong social media presence in adolescence’s lives has become both a necessity and a rite of passage, as the importance of a high social count increases,” she said.

Year 10 student, Grace Stevens commented on the pressure many teens are now facing, as the importance of a high follower and like count on social media platforms now has a direct correlation in gaining popularity in the real world.

“Although I personally think the fixation of followers and likes is a superficial experiment, this obsession has led to a majority of my age group having an issue with separating what matters in the real world and what is perceived to be acceptable online, which is a worrying thought for future generations,” she said.

Year 11 student, Zac Steer commented on social media popularity as an ideology, where many individuals in the same age group strive for social media recognition.

“I believe that people, specifically teens, will always see an importance in being accepted and liked among social groups, and social media has simply provided a new avenue for this self-fulfilment,” he said.

University student, Emily Reeves said there had been a definite increase in pressure for social media recognition as the emphasis on this version of popularity comes from people wanting to uphold their set standards and be equal or above everyone else.

“I have a friend who has a set rule that if she hasn’t received at least 100 likes she would remove the photo and question what was wrong with the image,” she said.

Year 11 student, Isabelle Conway spoke about the idea of upholding an aesthetic Instagram theme as well as determining the best time of day for posting content online in order to obtain the most amount of likes and comments.

“This could be a result of low self-esteem among teenagers who feel as though they need greater amounts of recognition to feel better about themselves, however this idea of having social media recognition many not just be for personal gain, but also social recognition in the school or workplace” she said.

An ACMA study on the most popular internet access locations showed that 59% of Australian teenagers continue to access the internet at schools.

Primary school teacher, Tom Moroney stated the loss of the year seven grade has had a positive reaction in terms of phone usage during school and by regulating mobile phones and laptops frequently, issues are minimal.

“The intrusion of the outside world into a child’s mind in a learning setting makes learning very difficult, and will continue to be  a distraction throughout their education lives,” he said.

Year 12 student, Rhiarna Harris said school was a breeding ground for this issue as phone use regulations, during school hours, had decreased significantly as the days of random pocket checks were over.



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