Social Media in the Eyes of High Schoolers


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This story is part of an ongoing Mental Health coverage series by the CHS Ship’s Log. 

About nine out of 10 high school students use social media or have a social media platform according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. As a result of students’ active presence on social media, their mental health has been influenced. 

As of recently, Instagram is the third most used social media platform for teenagers according to

In an effort to reach a wider audience, Cinnaminson High School has an Instagram account that announces and shares important dates of events. Mrs. Julie Leetz, the coordinator of social media at CHS, provides daily announcements and other important information to CHS students, staff, and family members via the school’s Instagram (@cinnaminsonhs). Mr. Bret Jenkins and Mr. Jay Meile oversee and coordinate the CHS sports Instagram account (@cinnaminson_athletics). 

“For us here at the high school, [the purpose of social media] is to promote clubs and school activities,” Leetz said. “We post reminders and alerts primarily to communicate between the community, parents, and students… We promote people, we promote clubs, we promote school activities, we share Golden Apples, we share Student of the Month, anything like that.” 

The impact social media poses on teenagers can be different among social media users and non-users. Junior Sydney Schweid regularly uses social media as a means of staying up to date. 

“To see information that you don’t get to see on a normal basis, to get news about people you don’t necessarily talk to every day,” Schweid said about why she is on social media.

According to a recent Harvard study, routine usage of social media can be beneficial in terms of staying connected with others, and remaining informed is positively correlated with social well-being and positive mental-health effects. Yet, when users start to develop an emotional dependency on social media, it can have adverse effects, causing disruption to personal well-being and negative mental health impacts. 

Freshman Kellyn Coller chooses not to use social media.  

“While I think that it’s a really great tool for many people to connect with others, I just don’t have enough time in my day to give that time to social media and my schoolwork and sports and friends,” Coller said. 

Junior Kevin Storti, an active social media user, explained that often his use of social media is more of a routine behavior than a conscious activity. 

“I am on social media because all of my friends are on social media, and it’s easy to see what’s going on,” Storti said. 

However, mental health issues can be linked to the usage of social media. Cinnaminson High School’s crisis counselor, Mr. Anthony Faltz, expressed insight about the effects social media can have on mental health.

“If we were to use social media for what it was really intended to, it probably would have been a really good undertaking… Some of us can’t discern what’s true or not. You could probably sit here and go, ‘I know what’s true and not’ but do you? Do you really?” Faltz said. “That’s the problem with social media. As much as it is for positive communication, I think it’s been used to really hinder communication and really destroy our values as a whole.” 

Some social media users know that the portrayals of people on social media are not an accurate representation of everyday life. According to a social media study done by Jeffrey T Hancock, Catalina Toma, and Nicole B Ellison, out of 80 participants on dating apps, about 66% lied about their weight on their profile. The study highlighted the dissonance between reality and the profiles on social media as participants felt compelled to change aspects about themselves on social media. 

“When you see other people you see their best in life, you see what you want to see and you think people are better than you although people are just created equally, that’s not always the case,” Storti said about what he sees on social media.

Social media’s impact has caused a shift in the sharing of information. Social media is less regulated in regards to who can post content compared to traditional media such as news outlets. Because of this, social media can create an environment where users may need to verify source information in order to gauge the accuracy of the content. Due to social media algorithms, the content that users are exposed to can limit their specific interests, whether in a positive or negative way. 

“Typically but like any other platform there’s going to be people on there who are going to make it negative,” Coller said, in regards to whether or not she believes social media is a safe environment. 

As another nonsocial media user, Kaylee also said she thinks social media is an unsafe environment.

“There’s so much bad stuff that happens on there, there are people that bully other people on social media,” Kaylee said. “There are people who try to stalk other people from social media.” Social media can have an impact on the mental health of its users.

“A lot of things that impact our minds as teens what we think is true is what we see and that’s social norms that we believe is true. As we see these things, it has a great impact on how we look at ourselves,” Faltz said. “It does impact very severely when it comes to anxiety, depression, and actually starts to facilitate some of the disorders that we may already have. It doesn’t help us, it actually hinders us from what the true meaning of things is.” 

According to a Common Sense Study in 2015, high school students spend as much as nine hours each day online. With this prolonged technology use, students saw a 37% increase in depression, anxiety, and antisocial behavior. 

“I think it’s positive and negative. I think there’s definitely a place for it, I think that it’s a great communication tool. I think it’s good for networking and connecting people. I think that it’s good for even emotional support like positive and negative. It shows you, there are others out there that might be struggling as well,” Leetz said. “It also allows people to receive support by knowing that they are not alone.” 

While Leetz identified the positives of social media, she also acknowledged there are negative effects of social media as well. 

“And then I think there’s the negative side of it as with anything. I think it can be inaccurate where you know it shows filters and how people may not look, how it may only show a good point in a person’s day when not everyone has a great day. You know there’s FOMO, there’s bullying that happens, there’s anxiety, there can be depression because you think you are not as adequate as other people or you want to be like someone else or it isolates because there’s a lack of personal communication,” Leetz said.

Whether or not students have personal social media accounts, communication about school events and updates has been changed by social media technology. From athletics to academics, students are able to gain information about CHS via one of its social media accounts. As this information trend continues, the impacts of social media on mental health in and out of the classroom will likely become something to monitor in the future. 

If you need support or want to learn more, check out the informational articles on the CHS Ship’s Log website as part of this continuing series.