The pressure to have a perfect persona online: How do teens deal with the tension?

With social media usage rising to an all time high, how do teens now a day deal with the immense pressure to be perfect online?


Photo Illustration/Katherine Wilson

The Millennium Cohort Study states that almost 40% of girls who spend more than five hours a day on social media show symptoms of depression.

The countdown began, 10…9…8… The camera pointed, the angle flattering.  5..4..3.. As the timer hit one, Granite Bay junior Vanessa Zagorenko took a deep breath, put on a smile and began to sign, “ASL to use.”

It’s no mystery that in this day and age, people are involved in social media everywhere, including our very own campus.  

And in turn, many are left to wonder if the lasting effects of social media do more harm than good.

“One time, I made an ASL video just because I didn’t want to study for a test, and it exploded.” Zagorenko signed, “I realized 2.5 million people saw my face.”

Although that may sound like a celebration to many, for Zagorenko it’s more of a stressor.  With the constant expectations and stereotypes found online, Zagorenko feels the pressure to be perfect in every video she posts.

“I feel like I have to be pretty on camera,” Zagorenko explains, “When I wear makeup, false lashes, I get more views, and it just brings me down.”

But, Zagorenko isn’t alone in this feeling.

“I definitely feel the pressure of posting the perfect picture, or finding the perfect outfit to wear,” a Granite Bay sophomore said. “Sometimes I don’t even post because I feel as if that picture is not up to social societies standards.”

In this day and age, the stigmas, stereotypes and beauty standards surrounding the internet have become more apparent over time.  “I’ve definitely noticed that those who are more popular(at our school)…are incredibly attractive,” Granite Bay sophomore said. 

Being perceived as  “perfect” has slowly become a challenge for teens these days as many have found stress in the constant pressure to be successful. 

It honestly feels degrading, you see the perfect person, with the perfect body, the perfect face and they’re the perfect puzzle piece for (peoples) expectations”

— Alexis Bottum

“It honestly feels degrading, you see the perfect person, with the perfect body, the perfect face and they’re the perfect puzzle piece for (peoples) expectations,” GBHS Sophomore Alexis Bottum said. 

As a result of these feelings, many students have started to alter their personalities online to fit the description of a perfect persona.

“People make themselves seem a lot more put together than they actually are,” GBHS Junior Yousef Hashim said.

Many students similar to Hashim are designing their social media platforms to fit who they really are.

“These expectations have been there for so long, but as the years go on and on, they’ve just gotten worse,” Bottum said. “Even so, I stay optimistic.  I want the internet to be a place of expression, rather than insecurity.”

Thankfully, Bottum is not the only individual interested in changing their perception on the situation

Hashim has begun building his new platforms based around who he wants to be and is slowly becoming.

“That was the old me. (I built) a new Instagram based around who I want to be and what I’m becoming.” Hashim said.

With their newfound hope for the future, many Granite Bay students are taking a positive approach to combat these expectations. 

“Just know that no matter your face, your body, your height or anything about you.  You are your wonderful self,” Bottum said.

Whether you have two million followers or eighty, it is clear that some Granite Bay High School students also acknowledge the tension for perfection throughout the internet.

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