We wake up in the morning. We check our phones. We are bored in class. We check our phones. Be it Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, our generation has become utterly dependent on social media. We are all eager to feel included, to be noticed and to feel important and social media hands us the perfect illusion to feel all these sensations.
However, social media has become an addiction, feeding our craving for attention, and when you step back and take a good look at your “social media life” you realise that it is not as fulfilling or satisfying as thought. In fact, it has made you rather antisocial.
Social media allows us to feel a sense of connection, but how genuine is this feeling? A significant amount of communication is broadcasted on social media as opposed to being intimately directed, meaning we tailor our thoughts and actions to fit the eyes of our onlookers. This creates a connection with them, yes, yet a shallow and often false one. Additionally, the relationships we foster in the outside world weaken too, and adopt a similar superficiality in order to appeal.
Social media also encourages a desire and need for recognition. In posting trivial details about ourselves, we expect and long for responses in the form of comments and, for example on Facebook, likes. These likes momentarily boost our self-esteem and we use them to measure our “popularity” against that of others. To sum up, social media obscures our wish for attention, rocketing it to one of the first places on our list of needs.
Behind the barrier of social media children and teens especially, just like us, victimize one another in spiteful ways, often out of frustration or a yearning for acquiring or maintaining popularity. The consequences of verbally abusive behaviour online are small if present at all, thus allowing predators to get away with unacceptable behaviour. This abuse can leave deep mental scars on those who experience this phenomenon called cyber-bullying.
These are just a few of the effects that social media has on individuals, on us. We have become slaves of the internet, striving for superficial relationships and popularity, which ultimately do not constitute any of our happiness or contentment, but create a sensation of emptiness. If there is one thing I am trying to say to you it is: take a step back from social media and the ideals, which it entails.