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TEEN SCENE: Under the influence

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Becoming swayed by people online can create the wrong mindset

Ellen Robbins is a grade 11 student at Charlottetown Rural High School who is completing a co-op placement with The Guardian.
Ellen Robbins is a Grade 11 student at Charlottetown Rural High School who is completing a co-op placement with The Guardian.

We live in an era consumed by social media.

On a day-to-day basis we come across strangers and acquaintances online.

We see the way they present themselves to the public and how they choose to act. But, sadly, not every time is with kindness.

Sitting behind a screen is one way for people to let out their true ignorance. When you’re face to face with someone it’s hard to keep your composure whilst letting anger out or some other emotion. There’s truth to the belief that people hide themselves online and present a fake identity. They’re not necessarily pretending to be a different person, but sometimes they give themselves an alter ego. One that isn’t the real person; only an online persona they want others to see.

This mindset can come from an overwhelming amount of time spent on social media. By viewing how others present themselves and seeing them gain social popularity can spark their own want for a following. The problem is the people they look up to may be presenting who they are in a negative manner.

Considering how long an average person spends on social media in a day and it’s hard to deny their actions online could have an influence on them. By seeing the same person, you look up to on social media and seeing how they treat others can influence you to act the same way.

Or even just seeing the way speaking speak to others on social media could make you think it’s the norm. Even if it’s not the most appropriate way. I’ve seen it happen before, and I’m sure if you spend any time at all on any media platform you probably have too. For example, with all the stars on the Internet there’s bound to be some people who can’t help but to spread their dislike for them. For someone who may not know the celebrity, if all they’re hearing is negative things about them, it’s harder to see the good in the person.

Since social media surfaced a recurring problem has been the constant negativity that’s being spread. Hiding behind a screen gives people the confidence to say whatever they feel like, no matter how ignorant. As long as the point gets across it’s fine, right? I say no. There’s always a better way to voice your opinion rather than to spread hate into the scene.

For example, I see posts on Facebook from people getting angry over a situation that happened to them. Sometimes, reasonably so, but other times the situation was definitely blown out of proportion. People tend to only see one side of the story this way, and don’t give the other a chance to explain themselves before attacking them. Before jumping to conclusions or picking sides it’s always better to have both sides of the story.

All in all, being on social media may not be the best idea if you’re easily influenced by simple things. It can alter your mindset, and it’s not always the greatest. It’s okay to have your own opinion and to express it. Just don’t let others online influence your entire mentality.


Ellen Robbins is a Grade 11 student at Charlottetown Rural High School who is completing her co-op placement at The Guardian.

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