On one hand, social media presents a distorted image to young women and girls, with Instagram influencers paying for plastic surgery and designer clothes. But there is a positive side too.

Social media has so many different platforms that enable us to express our thoughts, share our interests and photos, and just in general be able communicate with each other. There is so much freedom that can be used positively, however it can also be taken advantage of or abused. 

With social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook, it’s easy to fall into a trap where users – particularly young women – have a lot of pressure to fulfil the ‘perfect’ lifestyle, or to look beautiful all the time or at least make it seem that way. It’s hard not to compare yourself when you are constantly seeing the people around you portraying this perfection.

This is damaging to our society as it isn’t a realistic representation of how people live or look. Young girls are thrown into a world where they feel the need to alter themselves to fit in. Everyone is the same in the sense that we all have good days and bad days. But who wants to see a half-eaten piece of burnt toast on their news feed? Instead we show the delicious looking sourdough with perfectly ripe smashed avocado you had once at a too expensive cafe last week. There’s nothing wrong with showing off the highlights as long as we remember that no one is perfect all the time.

Social media can also act as a security blanket. When we’re online we are effectively ‘safe’ because we can hide behind a screen. Sadly, this makes it easy for people to abuse the freedom we’re given and can lead to ‘trolling’, or fake accounts made for the sole purpose of hiding your identity, possibly even stealing someone else’s. 

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