North Texas

How Teens Deal With Pressure from Social Media

When it comes to social media, everyone has their favorite flavor.

"Definitely Facebook, I love Facebook," Haley Goerlich said while sitting in an empty classroom at Flower Mound High School.

"I'm always on Twitter, for no reason at all," said 16-year-old Dylan Reed, who was part of a social media panel of teenagers at Boys and Girls Clubs of Collin County’s Frisco location.

Dylan sat next to a group of girlfriends who were fans of Snapchat and Instagram. "I post pictures like with my friends," 11th grader Kayla Henderson said.

At Allen High School, we spoke with the editor-in-chief of the school's yearbook, Aezra Mae Jadormeo. "A time that I was not on social media? No, every single day I go on social media," Aezra Mae said.
They all said that throughout their day, they usually check in on their favorite social media pages of choice. They are only off of it if there are unfortunate circumstances, "especially when you get your phone taken away and you have no choice," Kayla said to a room of her peers who erupted in laughter.

For Anisha Reddy, student body president of Flower Mound, it took a trip to Africa — without Wi-Fi or a data plan — to finally pull the plug on technology.

"It was kind of weird being completely cut off from all of my social media, and at first I felt really isolated," Anisha said. "But then it was really cool because you're kind of free from all the pressures of it. Like, you can actually have social interactions in person without worrying about who’s snapping you or what people are posting on Instagram."

With hours a day invested in social media, teens (and anyone for that matter) can take their interactions on the platform seriously. For 17-year-old Nari Sherman of Frisco, she said when she first started using social media the feedback she received affected how she felt about herself.

"If I get a certain amount of likes I'm like, 'oh, people actually care what I’m doing, they actually want to see me post more.'" Nari said. "So it lifts me up and then when I don't get as much likes I'm kind of like, 'okay, people don’t care about me anymore, like what’s happening?'"

"I used to get mad — or not like mad — but like jealous because my friends have this many likes or this many followers," Kayla said.

For 17-year-old Zia Crosby, she said she's now confident in herself and in her social media presence, but it wasn't always like that.

"It affected me because I felt like I wasn't pretty," Zia said. "And I became jealous and I envied others. Like there's girls on social media that are famous just because they're pretty, literally, and I was like, 'I wish I could be like that,' you know?"

Seeking a digital status can come with pains from hateful comments.

"That is not something I enjoy seeing because, like, people were made to love each other and take care of each other and seeing other people belittle people and hurt people is something that's not right," Aezra Mae said. 

"It puts an idea in your head that you need to be one way and not the other," Dylan said. "You can't be yourself without somebody criticizing you."

All of these teens agreed that what helped them overcome the pressures of social media was building confidence within themselves. So they offered advice to younger and newer members of social media to help them deal with any pressure.
"Realize that it's not always what people have to say about you, it's about what you have to say about you," Nari said.

"If you have a strong core and you have people that you know will love you regardless of what you post and what you don't post – I feel like that's super important just because you know that you'll always have people behind you," Haley said.

"Don’t let those likes on social media define you, just kind of figure out what your interests are and learn to love yourself," Anisha said.

So what can parents do to help their child deal with the pressures of social media? The author of the book, "Social Media Wellness," Ana Homayoun, shared these tips with us over the phone.

1) Socialization: explain to children who are using social media that we have a choice on how we spend our time. Some things are energizing, others are draining — help your child figure out how to choose activities and friends that energize them.

2) Create opportunities daily and weekly to be offline. Consistency is important in creating an "emotional detox" space.

3) Make sure your child has an emergency contact person if they have concerns about social media. Even if this isn't their parent, it could be an older family member, counselor or anyone they feel comfortable talking with if they have concerns about posts, reactions or anything happening on social media.

Ana also said the majority of kids she talks to about "Social Media Wellness" say their parents have no idea what they are doing online. So start asking questions, and try to better understand their online world. It's a topic she suggests coming to with empathy, understanding and compassion. You can find more tips from Ana at

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