Pressures on teens due to social media are a real, and often surreal, challenge in society today. 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online ‘almost constantly’. And while the benefits of social media are numerous, there are significant downsides including bullying and pressure to live up to the perfectly crafted images of friends and influencers.
According to a recent study, 24% of teens said that social media was a negative in their lives, with comments including:
- “Gives people a bigger audience to speak and teach hate and belittle each other.” (Boy, age 13)
- “People can say whatever they want with anonymity and I think that has a negative impact.” (Boy, age 15)
- “Because teens are killing people all because of the things they see on social media or because of the things that happened on social media.” (Girl, age 14)
When these additional pressures are added to existing ones the effects can be difficult to handle.
One such story is Jordan, a 14-year old who has been battling Trichotillomania or TTM (an impulse control disorder where one pulls out their own hair and is often triggered by anxiety) for three years. TTM has been known to impact 2.5 million people in the US.
For Jordan, TTM began as she was entering 6th grade and she experienced severe anxiety over getting good grades and being popular with her classmates. As a way to cope with the pressure to be perfect she began pulling her eyebrows, lashes and hair on her head, leading to bald spots that she needed to cover with hair pieces and headbands.
She felt an overwhelming anxiety about the pursuit of being perfect. Looking at the likes of Instagram and these staged perfect lives of young women her age just added to this anxiety – as it does for so many these days.
She was bullied, told she looked like a boy, and was not accepted by the “popular” crowd whose acceptance she so desperately sought.
After her mother heard about Lucinda Ellery and the Intralace System, where mesh is integrated into existing hair and in doing so creates a barrier to pulling, she knew this was an avenue she needed to pursue; she booked an appointment and hours later Jordan emerged with a full head of hair and renewed confidence.
Because of the mesh integration, pulling is also no longer possible, so TTM is essentially stopped in its tracks. Jordan then began a new school and learnt to let go of the concept of perfection.
Jordan stated “it is hard being a young woman with added pressures to be society’s definition of perfect. The anxiety this caused me ultimately manifested in me pulling out my hair but equally I have friends who starve themselves or self-harm; all ways they deal with the increasing social pressures we face these days”. Jordan adds “with my new restored confidence and the Intralace acting as a barrier I can now deal with feeling great in my own skin and defeating TTM!”