'It takes me ages to pick the right photo, everyone is a lot more judgmental.'
'It takes me ages to pick the right photo, everyone is a lot more judgmental.' Georja Ryan

Gladstone teens speak out about online pressures

AS STUDENTS prepare to head back to school on Monday, Gladstone Region teens are speaking out about the dangers of social media.

The normalisation of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, has attracted a majority of high school students online.

Gladstone Region high school student Madi Green, 15, said social media could easily make younger children change themselves to meet other's expectations.

"(These expectations) could give them insecurities and that may make them easy targets, which leads to cyberbullying,” she said.

Madi said the judgmental nature of social media could create an environment in which teenage users felt the need to fit in.

"I don't act differently but I do feel as though people may judge me,” she said.

Fellow student Shakiah Diehm, 16, echoed Madi's sentiments and said she worried about what others thought of photos she posted online.

"It takes me ages to pick the right photo, everyone is a lot more judgmental,” she said.

"Everyone is always looking at everyone else's photos so it's important to look good in everything.”

High school student Amber Randall, 17, said the pressure of being liked on social media could cause anxiety.

"A lot of overthinking becomes a part of it,” she said.

In a recent Gladstone Observer poll, a group of Instagram users was asked if social media put pressure on people to act or look a certain way.

From the group of 40 people, 83 per cent agreed social media did put pressure on users.

Anecdotally many young people concerned about their appearances on social media tend to be young girls, however, seven males, about 17 per cent, agreed with the poll question.

Tannum Sands State High School student Riley Allen, 16, said social media tended to create an ideal image in a user's head of what they needed to be, which was mostly unattainable.

"I think that some people are just more affected by things online than others,” he said.

"I don't think gender has anything to do with it.

"Social media was meant to be a tool to allow us to interact with each other but now it's hard to interact when everybody is trying to be someone else to prevent judgment.”

Let us know your thoughts on the issue. Send us a letter at newsroom@gladstone observer.com.au



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