Anna Shannin is a ninth-grade TIPster. And like most TIPsters, she’s a social media user. While there is no shortage of commentary about the effect of social media, we wanted to know what TIPsters think. So we interviewed Anna about her experiences and opinions.
Tell us a little more about your experience with social media.
My main platforms for social media are Instagram and Snapchat. I have no intention of using them for professional purposes, though.
How do you think social media affects teens today? Is it more positive or more negative?
I think social media affects teens more negatively than positively. This is for many reasons.
One reason is that teens hardly have any real communication with each other. Even when teens are together in person, people are more interested in getting the perfect snap or sending streaks then they are in just having fun.
Also, the sheer amount of time teens spend on social media is astounding. Teens go on social media throughout the school day, even in class.
What advice do you have for other students, especially younger students?
Turn notifications off! Social media can be fun, but it turns into a chore if your phone is constantly reminding you to go on it.
Also, make private accounts rather than public, and do not allow strangers to follow you. It can be tempting to get extra likes on your posts, but you have absolutely no control what happens with your pictures on a public account.
What do you think adults should understand, but don’t, about the impact of social media on teens?
I think adults should understand that the impact of social media is unavoidable. Not allowing your teen to have a social media account will often make the impact stronger, as the pressure to be on a social media increases daily. Some school clubs even use social media to post announcements.
The best thing for teens is to use social media with moderation, and under the supervision of a parent.
Our feature this month is about the debates over social media algorithms. What are your thoughts?
Social media algorithms are more often annoying than not. They can make it harder to find the posts I actually care about by promoting more popular posts.
The idea of getting news from social media is ridiculous, algorithms aside. Posts are not fact checked or regulated like a legitimate news sources would be. Just because people like/share/promote it doesn’t mean it’s true!