The Ugly Truth Behind the Screen



Photo by Jeinily Bencon

Iris Lee and Trisha Villanueva

   The persistent ringing of incoming notifications, the repetitive flashing of text messages, and the ceaseless buzzing of incoming phone calls are all sounds that the average digital user has become accustomed to. Becoming entranced by the seemingly perfect lives and bodies of digital influencers and sucked into the infinite loop of refreshing for more content is just another part of everyday life. Living in a technologically revolutionized society, social media has become the center of our lives. A mere buzz of a notification acts as a gravitational pull, and in one second, we’re back on our phones, tapping away. The bright, fluorescent glow of our phones invigorates the soul. 

   On one end of the screen, the average poster/influencer feels the unending suffocating pressure to always look their best. Photoshop, Facetune, and other apps are constantly used to alter their original pictures: anything for the rush of adrenaline they get at seeing a plethora of approving comments; the sense of guilt that they’re lying to their followers, unworthy of the love they are receiving. But as soon as they click upload, the euphonious sound of incoming alerts fills them with the validation needed to get through another day. 

   On the other end, the everyday spectator feels as if their best is never good enough. Scrolling through platform after platform, immersed in pictures of breathtaking content creators who look nothing like them. It poses the question of whether looking or acting a certain way will make others see them in a different light; a light similar to the ones seen on screen. 

   For many young women, this scenario is an all-too-relatable, grotesque reality, another part of everyday life. Researchers who studied data on more than 10,000 adolescents found that frequent social media use disproportionately affects teen girl’s mental health more negatively than that of teen boys (Northwestern). This reveals that social media environments might influence adolescent girls and young women to engage in social comparison leading to feelings of inadequacy and body dissatisfaction. Junior Alyssa Dsouza expresses, “Social media creates unrealistic body standards that can harm many young girls’ sense of self-esteem. Since women grow up with these ideals from a young age it can negatively affect their mental health permanently.”

   The effect social media has on young women has been a longstanding debate. Social media is known for its negative effects, but has also been an outlet for many to share their experiences and stories. Slowly but surely, more creators are allowing themselves to share important things that they are going through, such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems, as society is becoming more accepting of these topics. In a sense, it makes them more relatable and to some, it may be comforting knowing that the people they look up to are going through the same things they might be going through. It makes others feel that they have someone that understands them and makes them feel as if they’re not alone. “Personally, I believe it can be a little bit of both [positive and negative]. On the positive side, it enables women to connect with other women and share their feelings, struggles, and overall emotions,¨ says sophomore Sebi Reyes-Farinas.  

   Even still, many social media creators only post about the highlights of their lives, contributing towards feelings of inferiority for many impressionable audiences. Freshman Annabelle Acevedo states “Social media only shows the highs of people’s lives, creating unattainable standards. It’s hard to understand that they also have bad days, no matter how lavish their life may seem to be.” 

   A common resolution conceived for the growing amount of women facing feelings of inadequacy is simple: just stay offline. However, this is easier said than done. Nowadays, the compelling dangers of the Internet are unavoidable. Instead, it is important for all impressionable young women, or anyone experiencing similar feelings of inferiority, to understand this: online is not reality.