Our generation has been the first to grow up using the internet regularly from a young age. Along with the internet comes the inevitable use of social media. It’s crazy but true to say that Generation Z has expert knowledge and experience using a variety of instant communication website formats and smartphone applications. There are plenty of options to choose from. You can read mom’s family post on Facebook, scroll through a news update on Twitter, like a post from a friend on Instagram, watch short videos on TikTok… the list of engaging sites and apps goes on and on.
Social media outlets are important meeting places that teens across the world visit daily. We have also been raised, warned and reminded that it can be a problematic source of misinformation, political bias, bullying and a slew of negativity. Rumors and false stories swirl on them. Conspiracies are created and spread. Ads masquerade as news. Comments can undercut logic and reason. Hurtful, raw emotion can be typed and entered before thinking of the consequences.
Nevertheless, there are more benefits coming out of social media than expected. With the recent COVID-19 outbreak and protests for racial equality, it’s easier to understand the upside of mass communication apps, particularly Instagram and TikTok. It’s given our generation a platform to speak our beliefs and share ideas in so many different and creative ways.
Instagram is an app most of us use to stay in touch with our classmates, family members, and celebrities. Recently, the Instagram “Stories” addition has become quite popular. I’ve seen our generation sharing positive messages with each other and speaking out against injustices around them. It’s incredible to watch people coming together, showing and sharing the amazing things happening in our world. My friends have shared posts on how to create face masks and volunteer at local food kitchens to help those who are suffering during these challenging times. I’ve seen posts of unique and homemade artwork standing up to racial injustice shared. It makes me truly happy friends are expressing their voices through Instagram, and I am excited about its future.
Besides Instagram, I’ve watched countless videos on TikTok about how to protect yourself during the pandemic. Many doctors have been using the platform to get information to teens, with updates on statistics, and advice on how to stay safe and healthy. Some of my favorites include: @balancedanesthesia, @doctor.jesss and @tonyyounmd.
Following the death of George Floyd in late May, thousands of teens have made TikTok videos speaking out against injustice and inequality in the world. It’s cool to see how we can come together on an app, spread goodwill and positivity, then spark change for our future.
Claire is a 16 year old high school junior with a niche for news writing. There is nothing more important to her than staying updated on her surroundings and spreading awareness on issues that grasp our world today. Through her school, she has been a member of numerous clubs that help those in need around Kansas City, along with being a staffer of an award winning publications team. As a member of the Zenerations team, she is hoping to strengthen her writing and share the most accurate information with every person she can.ues in her community, along with taking action against injustices.