Call to Action: Teens and Social Media


Photo via Affinity Magazine

Dear Teens of America,

What we need is to wake up and make a change. Social media today is maturing our eyes way too fast for our age. The videos that are seen when we scroll through our explore page on Instagram or browsing throughout YouTube are perceived by us, but nothing is happening. We need to mature and look at how we can actually make a change throughout this young generation. Have you considered what the world would be like if we all stop stereotyping and just accept who people are and not discriminate against them? Simplicity and love would be the ultimate result.

Everyday on Instagram I see people re-posting videos involving violence and stereotyping on their stories about how the world “needs to change” and how “this makes me sick,” but that isn’t helping the circumstances in America and the world today. Sure, teens may think that by re-posting these videos, they are enlightening others of what they shouldn’t do, but really, it is the exact opposite. These videos that circulate around social media ignite an idea in teenagers’ heads that the people’s specific race or culture makes them do what they do. For instance, I saw a video that had been re-posted multiple times on Instagram, that in the caption describes how “Torrance, CA police shot and killed Christopher Mitchell within 15 seconds.” “Upon approaching the vehicle to conduct their investigation, officers were met by an adult male who was armed with a rifle, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,” the sergeant said.” Although this is what police said was the case, violent videos showed how the incident really happened. Unfortunately, these videos can be accessed very easily, and often bring light to very serious situations for young people. These were all white police officers who shot a young black man. We see so many of these videos and images about our world everyday that we have become numb to them. The amount of violence and terrible things everyday mature our eyes to the point where we simply see them, but have no emotion towards making a change. We are bystanders in this society of ours, and in order to make change, we have to take the first step.

Most of the information that the younger generation is receiving is through social media. This young generation is exposed to the online world very early on in life. In the article, “22+ Instagram Stats That Marketers Can’t Ignore This Year,” the author describes the percentiles of people on Instagram is shockingly high: “ 71% of Instagram users around the globe are under the age of 35 … 72% of U.S. teens use Instagram … 95% of U.S. Instagrammers use You tube … Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day…” Because of these shockingly high numbers, there is a direct correlation with how information is transported throughout the future generations. Being so young and exposed to all these things puts our immature minds in angst.

I asked my mom (a 45 year old white woman) her opinion on media in today’s day in age. Here is what she had to say about it:

“It’s horrible. It is a bad influence, it is showing you kids to much negativity for your age.
So much media is displayed in front of you that it doesn’t even matter to you anymore.
You guys are so stressed out about climate change and police brutality and all these
other issues that you just don’t know where to start. So you guys just post it for everyone
to see hoping that maybe someone will take action for you”

I completely agree with all she has said and I think she summed up my whole topic in a few sentences.

If we just keep re-posting videos and not creating change, our world as we know it will go through the same cycles of violence and stereotyping as long as we live.

Thank you for taking my letter into consideration.

Kindest Regards,
Jadin Holland