OPINION: Social media instills insecurity and fear in teens

Constant online posts lead to judgement and loss of privacy.


Photo illustration by alexa dratch Senior Danielle Tabatneck editing a picture for her online posts. She spends 14 hours a week on Instagram.

By Danielle Tabatneck, Opinion Editor

The Internet is full of judgement and uncertainty. People only need to search a name to find addresses, Instagram pictures or even current locations. This easy access to anyone’s personal life allows others to quickly judge how one spends his/her time. All of these sources of information create inaccurate assumptions of who an individual is as a person. Online, people easily hide behind devices to judge others without needing to face them directly.

Despite the judgement, information about ourselves online is unsafe as public knowledge—yet we choose to post so frequently anyway. Even fear towards hackers exists because of their capability to look through our phone or laptop cameras, which leads to many students putting tape over the cameras. Teens are aware that there are dangerous people who can easily use the Internet to get information on anyone, but we still continue to document our lives.

“It makes me nervous knowing that people are capable of seeing through our cameras,” senior Nicole DeCeglie said. “Our generation needs to be careful.”

We know that students are aware of online safety, however, keeping up with social statuses takes away from privacy. This is simply the way we live today, and there are no signs of a change. We live in a society with limited privacy and the Internet creates the first understanding of an individual. Yes, there are those who choose not to involve themselves with social media, but the majority are for it.

Generation Z teens have social media accounts on various apps—checking our feeds is an hourly routine. Social media profiles allow us to assume an individual’s character based off of pictures they post, captions used and how many likes they receive. These aspects of social media make people self-reflect, as everyone is worried about the way they will be perceived by others online.

“I put some thought into what I post because I want to make sure that I appear as a good person, since your first impression of somebody is their Instagram page,” junior Calista Manuzza said.

When posting, photos are always carefully selected for hours in order to make sure that we look our best. Being guilty of it, teens know that this is considered necessary to a certain extent. The ideal profile would be one that is appealing to others, while it captures the individual’s specific personality.

Since information about everyone is easily available online, anyone can be a detective. People today have close to no privacy, as the impact of social media profile pages creates worry about judgement. Knowing that one’s social life is online tends to be stressful, but being caught-up in the feedback loop allows teens to continue posting without even considering the affects.

The Internet has the power to show who we are to the world based on the way our posts come across to others. As everything stays on the internet, our photos and information will stay documented forever, both during and after our lives.

Colleges and future employers have access to viewing online profiles, along with everyone else in the world. With one wrong post, the future of an individual could be impacted because of what is “necessary” to post online as a teen.

“I agree that it will be harder to get jobs or into schools because everything you’ve done and everything about you is online,” Manuzza said. “You can’t hide anything.”

The obsession with keeping up with one’s online social life, and feeling judged otherwise, goes along with feeling a need to post on social media looking good. However, as privacy vanishes and we make it a necessity to continue posting frequently, we need to understand that anything on the Internet will stay there forever. It makes sense for teens to think before posting because the outcome of the posts may change lives.