Social Media Crushing Teenage Girls’ Confidence

Teenagers compare themselves to others on social media.

By Nia Botti, Staff Writer

She’s so pretty. I wish I had that lifestyle and all of those followers. Her captions are so catchy. Her friends are cool too. And her boyfriend? His lifestyle is adventurous and fashionable just like hers.  Her Instagram is perfect. Her life seems perfect. My account is a mess. My life looks like a mess to other people.

Most teenagers, especially girls, can totally relate.  A select few people are so called “lucky” enough to have that “perfect” account.  By looking at that account, a person might come across as having a perfect life.  Their apparent life revolves around adventure, love, friends, fashion, and care-free days.  The lighting also happens to be perfect in every picture.  There’s not a zit, scratch, or scrape on their faces.  Not to mention that they have perfect hair and a perfect face.  That’s why they have a boyfriend, who has a perfect life too, but he doesn’t take up too much of their time.  That’s what artsy friends are for. Expensive clothes, great days, and an adventurous lifestyle are all things that make people appear to have it all perfect.  But the truth is, what appears on the screen may not be reality.

On social media, Instagram in particular, teens want to look good.  Why?  Because it’s a world of competition.  That girl has the perfect lifestyle, and she gets followers.  That means she’s well liked.  Meanwhile, so many teens feel jealous and want those followers and that beauty.  Deep down, some people want those friends and that quality of life.  They’re self conscious about how what they have looks compared to what that ‘perfect’ girl has, but nobody really knows what goes into that so called perfect girl’s real life.

Every day, more and more teenagers begin to doubt themselves because of ‘perfect’ social media accounts.”

Some teens would argue that these Instagram sensations are flawless.  They have the perfect body.  Their hair is never out of line.  Even a messy bun isn’t so messy.  They don’t even have to try, because they wake up looking that way.  This statement is incredibly far from the truth.  A picture is only a snapshot, a frozen second in time.  By looking at one, someone has no way of knowing what happened before or after a picture was taken.  Saying someone woke up looking perfect just from looking at one picture would be jumping to conclusions.  Even if it was posted in the morning, it could’ve been taken a month ago at eleven o’clock at night. No one knows except for the person who took it.  Maybe the person spent three hours curling their hair and doing their makeup.  Or maybe they didn’t.  There’s absolutely no way of knowing how someone woke up by looking at one picture.

Though teens take looks personally a lot, these days it’s more about the lifestyle.  The friends.  The places.  The fashion.  Social media sensations seem to have it all together, but nobody has it together all the time.  There are actual people behind those artsy posts.  Someone with struggles and problems that others may know nothing about.  Someone who gets tired, upset, frustrated, and exhausted just like everyone else.

All of the friends that fit in perfectly with the lifestyle may have met through social media, or all just happen to get along over the fact that they have artsy accounts.  As for the adventurous lifestyle, it very well could exist, but there’s a chance that it doesn’t.   One picture doesn’t determine someone’s lifestyle because it’s only a a staged second of their life.  Not all, but some accounts are like movies.  There’s a story line that the actors follow to make it seem realistic, but in the end, it’s just fiction, and the characters aren’t real people.  The actors that portray them are, but a movie doesn’t tell the truth about the real person.  Neither does social media.

Every day, more and more teenagers begin to doubt themselves because of ‘perfect’ social media accounts.  Teenagers are often told that they are fearfully and wonderfully made*, but look at people on social media and question the statement’s accuracy.  The truth is, every real person is fearfully and wonderfully made, and there’s nothing wrong with people creating an ‘artsy’ account if that’s how they express themselves.  It only becomes a problem when someone does it to look good, have followers, and fit in.  In this case, the account drains confidence.  It can also become a confidence issue when girls compare themselves to other people just by looking at their accounts on social media.

…I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

— Psalm 139:14

If a teen only learns one thing about social media, it should be this: Later in life, when the teenagers of today are working adults, the amount of followers that they have right now won’t matter.  That amazing lifestyle they seem to have won’t be able to get them a job, make them money, or lead them to success.  Only very few people make a living off of social media.  Most teenagers deny it now, but in the not so distant future,  the idea of what’s actually important is going to shift.

Social media can become intimidating for teenagers, but it is important that they remember that social media doesn’t entirely define them.  Pictures are small pieces of a person’s life, and it’s wrong for someone to put themselves down because their life doesn’t match a perfect, staged, snapshot of a life that doesn’t tell the whole story. Some people really do post about their real lives, and others post artsy and more professional looking things.  There’s nothing wrong with either, unless someone looks at the posts with jealousy. Social media is a whole other world, but it isn’t the real world.


*Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm is a book of songs written in the Old Testament of the Bible.)