Teens Are Getting Too Comfortable On Social Media


Shiva Venugopal (11) shown to be addicted to social media.

Social media is a fantastic way for young people to express themselves, and communicate with family and friends. Posting publicly is a great way for creators to share their content, gain recognition for their work, and cultivate international communities. However, young people, specifically, are notorious for posting problematic content. Recently more and more of these posts have been popping up on social media. With approximately ninety percent of teens ages 13-17 using social media, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, teens are getting too comfortable on social media.

“Most people post themselves breaking rules to gain attention. Doing so allows people to show off to a public audience and gain temporary ‘fame,’’ states Yousef Binnaser, a junior at The Village School. In October of 2021, high school students around the world took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), including the Village School. After taking the test, many students posted memes on social media that revealed information about the exam, despite College Board’s strict policies against this. For example, students would create TikTok videos with details about the science passage on the SAT. Students publicly communicated with others about the test and even compared answers. Teenagers feel comfortable enough on social media to publicly break standardized testing regulations for digital relevance and clout, thus illustrating their over-comfortability on social media. Another example of this clout pursuit is the ‘devious lick’ challenge which was trending on the app Tik Tok during the fall of 2021. Essentially, students would go around their schools breaking and stealing items, which is referred to by teens as hitting ‘licks’ on their schools. Stolen items ranged from paper towel dispensers and fire extinguishers to bathroom stall doors. Social media has emboldened teens to post videos of them vandalizing school property, a crime. The fact that students not only commit such actions but broadcast their crimes for millions of viewers illustrates that students and young teenagers are too comfortable on social media. Gregory S. Berns, a prominent neuroscientist from Emory University, explains this behavior, this drive to post outrageous content, as a pursuit for social acceptance in an article for the National Institute of Health (NIH), stating that, “other people’s beliefs and actions can have a significant impact on our own behavior. A large body of work has shown that people change their behavior in order to fit in with others.. So yes, teenagers are getting too comfortable on social media to the point where posting content of illegal activities, such as fraud and vandalism, are viewed not as trepidations but markers of glory and clout.