Social media makes teens less social

 Social media can be good. But after the pandemic, teenagers have had problems building strong bonds in person. During the pandemic, I cut off a lot of friends and isolated myself from physical activities that actually bonded me with my peers. For example, I stopped hanging out with my friends. Instead, I was often on my phone. Instead of getting together to share food, we texted back and forth from our own homes.

Social media has taken over our social lives and made it hard for my generation to hold a good conversation or relationship with their peers. Social media can create barriers to teens interacting with others in person. It also can lead teens to compete to see who has more social media fame, who is best in fashion, who has more followers and who has the most influence. These little contests can lead to debates that build grudges.

The statistics are telling: According to the Pew Research Center, 67 percent of 13-17 year-olds in the United States use TikTok more than any other social media app. This means that teenagers waste more time watching and making TikTok videos during their leisure times than hanging out with families and friends. This trend is making  it difficult for them to connect to the real world. It not only affects our social lives but puts our mental health at risk. Spending too much time on social media can aggravate teen  depression, loneliness, and other forms of emotional problems.

Consider the phone: Small enough to carry everywhere, the phone can keep you from living your life to its fullest. Take me for example: I am attached to my phone so much that  I cannot stay a day without it. My family once asked me to put my phone away to have family time. I was so eager to get my phone back that I rushed through time with my family and missed out on what could have been meaningful conversations. When I am with my phone, I sometimes forget to eat and at night I sometimes watch my phone until I fall asleep. I’m not alone: Ask any teen: Once teens turn on their phones, they forget about the world, the time and whatever they’re supposed to do.

So here’s my advice: Turn off the phones and gadgets at least now and then. Who knows? You might even get to know a new friend in person.