The staff stance reflects the opinion of the Eagle Edition staff and it does not reflect the opinion of the school, newspaper adviser, faculty or staff.
Ads are constantly thrown at teenagers as they scroll through various influencers’ accounts on social media apps such as TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat: “Charlotte’s highlighters glide onto the skin, delivering a dreamy, soft-focus finish that makes your features POP!” (Charlotte Tilbury Highlighter). “Dior Addict Lip Glow Oil instantly nourishes, protects, softens and revitalizes the lips.” (Dior Lip Oil). “HYDRATE GREAT” (Stanley Cup). “Stronger strides. Focused sets. A mindful practice. In these leggings, you’ll make it happen.” (Lululemon)
Teens’ bank account balances are suddenly becoming lower and lower as they feel pressured to buy the never-ending trending products.
As if it wasn’t enough that social media has driven many teenagers into depression and mental instability, now companies are targeting these same vulnerable audiences’ bank accounts and credit cards. The pressure adolescents are under is only intensified by the constant advertisements and reviews that promise they will look and feel better. These brands use popular, well-liked and good looking influencers giving the illusion that if they use the product, they too can look or feel better about themselves. The influencers that teens have fallen in love with and decided to follow, are making money by promoting new products, developing a brand or sponsoring companies. While the Eagle Edition agrees that social media trends can be beneficial when promoting mental and physical wellness in a healthy manner, the negative effects that these vicious trend cycles cause are tremendous and teens are losing money.
Eighty-eight out of 154 ESD reponders feel like they have bought more products recently because of social media. 90 percent feel like they use the things they buy off of social media often.
Beyond just promoting a culture of overconsumption, influencers have begun sparking racial conflict with the products they promote. A well-known and rising influencer, Alix Earle, has been trying out new products to advertise to her ever-growing follower count, including a hair oil product called Mielle. The brand is advertised as being “built on a mission to serve black women with a high-performance product and natural ingredients.” Earle’s promotion became problematic because Earle is white, and the hair product she is promoting is produced by a black-owned hair care company with products designed for black girls’ hair. Earle promoting Mielle made the sales skyrocket, but not in the way the company had intended. Many of the consumers were white, making the intended black audience with no oil left to buy.
A website and company Sprout Social, whose mission is to help companies of all sizes be more real and honest to build a better relationship with their customers, wrote a blog and a data report called “Social Shopping in 2022: Consumer Behaviors in the Social Shopping Cart.” The data collected in December of 2021 was used to predict the expected social shopping in 2022. The blog explains how social media shopping has increased tremendously and how by 2025, social shopping is set to become a $1.2 trillion channel. It also says that 98 percent of consumers had planned to make at least one purchase through social shopping or influencer commerce in 2022. Sprout Social reported that social media algorithms are “a way of sorting posts in a user’s feed based on relevancy instead of publish time.”
Algorithms make sure that users receive the type of videos, pictures or ads they would like based on what users have viewed, bought or clicked on previously. While this may seem helpful, it is also a contributor to more overconsumption: users constantly seeing things they like. Before using algorithms, social media ordered product information by newest to oldest, with the newest appearing at the top of the feed. Algorithms are useful because one is not constantly trying to find what they want to see in the growing number of posts.
A problem with online shopping is that it becomes so easy to buy things that it adds up and becomes very expensive. Most websites allow consumers to have a credit card on file, make shopping and paying more convenient. Another big problem with online shopping is that when paying for the order the original price of the item, after tax and delivery fees, has increased, and by then it is too late and you have fallen in love with the item, deciding that it is worth it.
There are a few options to help stop this overconsumption and shopping craziness. One of them is to just delete social media and enticing apps altogether. This would solve the problem, but let’s be honest— it is unrealistic.
Another option, that is more sensible, is to really think twice whether what you are about to buy is worth the money you are willing to spend. You can research the product, read more reviews and make sure the product is reliable. You can also check to see if there are similar that may be cheaper. Make sure to check the size and content amount of the product to see how long it will last when deciding if the price is worth it. Assessing the products or clothes you already own is important as well before just buying new ones.
A big part of stopping this buying frenzy has to do with self esteem and being comfortable with yourself and who you are. You should know that these products won’t “fix” anything or make miracles, it is important to be comfortable enough to be yourself and be content with who you are and enjoy what you own rather than constantly seek new things.
Try to stay off online shopping sites as much as possible, and when shopping, try to go to a physical store, so you can try on that new sweater or skirt that you want. Know what you are getting for the money you are spending.