We have to stop letting social media influence teens negatively

Dear Editor,

Humanity is evolving, rapidly. From the first computer in 1996 to a whole wide system we’ve named, “the internet.” What has this new form of self-expression, connections and era of newfound knowledge cost us?  Now, we as a society are presented with social media, both a blessing and a curse. 

Adolescents are at the center of this new age, the victims of corporate garnerings and social pressure—they are the ones that are being influenced by the media in more ways than one.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 76% of teens use at least one social media site, the number constantly increasing. Our nation is experiencing an age of social media trends and while some are harmless, there is a new surge of dangerous, criminal trends that can get you charged with misdemeanors—felonies even. Earlier this year, we experienced a wave of “devious licks,” a trend where students were encouraged to vandalize, steal and obstruct school property. This isn’t the first time a dangerous challenge like this has appeared either. 

Around November of last year, 2020, a challenge called the “Benadryl Challenge” was viral. It encouraged viewers to overdose on the common allergy medicine diphenhydramine, or better known as Benadryl. Many were hospitalized, some even losing their lives to a simple TikTok challenge. 

Why risk your lives and loved ones for validation from a simple platform like TikTok? Do likes and views really give people a sense of gratification and pride?

I simply ask that people consume media with caution and moderation. Harmful trends that are surfacing are not worth the measly attention that they get. You are putting your life, future even, in danger. 

Yalini Kathamuthu,