I’m writing in response to the May 17 article at duluthnewstribune.com headlined, “Surging suicide rate among girls raises questions about role of social media.” As a 17-year-old girl, I have felt the effects of social media firsthand for nearly all of my teenhood. My self confidence has been shot down when opening an app - many times. These new studies are extremely alarming, but if I’m being completely honest, they aren’t surprising.

Every day teens are bombarded with pictures of people who are seemingly “perfect.” I see girls living amazing lives with beautiful bodies and designer clothing. I find myself in a constant loop of comparison. Why don’t I look like her? How is she so happy all the time? What social media fails to do is share the hard parts of life. It’s easy to feel like there is something wrong with you when your life doesn’t look like an Instagram model’s.

Social media has been proven to spark problems with depression and anxiety. So while these numbers are horrifying, they’re a reflection of a new culture. Young girls are an impressionable demographic, and believing everybody else is living their “perfect life” creates an internal narrative that you are doing life wrong.

Social-media culture is toxic, but how can it be fixed? I think it must start with awareness that a lot of what we’re seeing is false advertising. What we see as “perfection” is a fabrication, and we need to stop buying it.

Sophia Brenner