by Apurva Prasad
Teenagers practically live their lives on social media - this is a complaint that many parents have. Whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, snapchat or Whatsapp, young people usually have their noses buried on these apps on their phones and tablets.
But, #NotAllTeens, apparently! Many youngsters are making a conscious decision to stay off social media, and not succumb to peer pressure.
Take Siddhant for example. He’s a 16-year-old boy whose only connection to the world of his friends is through WhatsApp. He purposely stays away from social media because, “I love playing the piano and I am going to write my 8th and last exam for Trinity guildhall. I feel that social media distracts me, and I would prefer to stay away from it.”
“I do feel a little left out when my friends talk about funny memes they saw or how some comment was really sarcastic. But that feeling passes quickly, and I feel fine soon enough. I am really ok staying away from social media, and I honestly think having face to face conversations is far better,” he adds.
Rohan Mansukani is another teenager (17) who is inactive on social media. He goes to Primus School in Bengaluru. Although he has a Facebook account, a google+ account and WhatsApp and Instagram, he never uses any of them.
“People on social media are really fake and I really don’t care for reading up about their silly social lives. I am much better off playing Call of Duty. It is not only good entertainment but far more exciting,” he says.
Many others though have more serious reasons for staying off social media.
Anjali, an 18-year-old, was active on social media for a year but then gave it up the instant she saw one of her classmates being subjected to cyberbullying by the rest of her classmates.
“I was horrified by how they were putting down my classmate Esha (name changed) just because she was the smartest girl in class and got the best grades,” says Anjali.
“I think they were just feeling bad about themselves and wrote like that in spite. But their harsh comments really disturbed me and I left all my social media sites. I feel much happier since, and am actually able to focus on my studies more too,” she adds.
16-year-old Delzine on the other hand is a swimmer and has chosen not to join social media on her own volition because she finds it “boring”.
“I used to have a Facebook account once,” she admits, “but it felt so pointless after some time that I just left it for good. Some of my friends keep asking me to join Facebook but I don’t want to. By not spending hours on Facebook, I have time to do other things I enjoy - like shopping and of course swimming,” she adds.
(The writer is a student of The Valley School KFI, and interned with TNM as part of her course requirements.)