Social Media vs Humanity
Social Media’s impact on today’s society is inevitable. From marketing to today’s trends, social media is everywhere and used every day. The internet now depicts the cool and the old in today’s culture through celebrities publishing photos or videos of their lavish lifestyle. Allowing for a structure to elevate your influence among other users and in some way your social relevance, there is no doubt social media is here to stay. There is no doubt that the form of pass time has made it to the everyday use, but is this healthy among our society? The more posts we see, the less people we seem to come across on the streets. Social Media has allowed for many great things, but for every good follows a bad. To question its psychological impact among teens and the rest of the youth is no longer necessary but evident.
Since the beginning, cyberbullying has always been an issue, and today more than ever it is going unnoticed but it has kept its relevance. From memes to screen soldiers, cyberbullying is something we encounter with every screen swipe. There has been attempts of victims calling authorities or reporting the bullies to the social medias control with the results being unfavorable. Cyberbullying is at the point where the only way to stop it is from not being active on social media to begin with. Corey Alexander, at the age of 17, decided to go ghost on social media after seeing that he spent a sum of roughly 4,927 hours a year “wasted” (Alexander, 2017). At first the task was tough due to the fact that the boy who isn’t online is now looked upon as weird and an outcast, but soon he applied the time of not being active online to just active and noticed a change in his fitness and overall health.
Gary Vaynerchuk, a recognized entrepreneur and four time New York Times best seller shared in This generation will be fine: Why Social Media Wont Ruin his answer to the concern of social medias influence. His perspective is that it’s all a process of evolution. It’s human to have a concern for so did our parents. He claims “parents in the 50s were worried that Elvis shaking his hips was the devil” (Vaynerchuk, 2016) in regards to the progress of culture. He believes it’s up to the user to make their time online worth something. The fear we have of social media being time consuming and bad for mental health will be irrelevant in a few years with the progression of new technology like the upcoming virtual reality. This has only raised a group of people who tend to stay away from the web like Corey.
Other than teens there are celebrities taking Corey’s route in avoiding social media as a whole like the comedian Aziz Ansari. In the article What Aziz Ansari taught me about technology and human interaction by Mike Chan, we are able to see that people are starting to get fed up. Frequent phone checks lead to the comedian deciding to stay off the media. He also took it upon himself to no longer take pictures with supporters but asks for their name with the intent to begin a conversation instead. Humbling acts of celebrities like Ansari show that there is a number of people who believe social media is addicting and not the only way to interact with the general public.
While the idea that social media is just a stepping stone on the walk of evolution is humbling, there is still no question that it’s taking its toll on society and mental health. According to Harley Street rehab specialist Mandy Saligari, “when you’re giving your kid a tablet or a phone, you’re really giving them a bottle of wine or a gram of coke,” referring to the problem of social Media’s now addictive use among the youth. Kids no longer ask for toys but for tablets or cell phones.
Evolution speaks upon progress, but if we don’t have the intent to make that progress positive our humanity is screwed. Social media and the overall web provide amazing tools like being able to talk to people around the world, but the problem is when one begins to avoid talking to those physically around. We must not forget our values and lose track of things that hold true importance like quality time with peers without having to look at a screen. Time invested on social media can be time used to better yourself physically and mentally. I doubt the pretty girl around campus holds to account the number of followers you have to determine if she likes you.
Take the challenge upon yourself and you might be surprised with the outcome. It’s time to focus our attention off our phones and into our wellbeing. Mental health is and has been a big issue given the alarming numbers of suicide with ties to cyberbullying. It’s no rarity to see a peer or stranger being ridiculed on the web. Don’t become part of the issue but rather a piece in the progress. My message isn’t against social media but against the misuse of it. The beautiful tool is a platform for protesters to actively engage in their community but often isn’t used properly. Don’t let the screen be the only way to engage, put your phone down and let your voice be heard. Let’s make humanity’s evolution a positive one by being active in real life. Let’s take it a step further and make our online impact a positive one. It’s a beautiful thing to see people come along on media to resolve an issue but it’s even more beautiful to be a part of the progression of our culture as well as our evolution.
Alexander, Corey. “I’m 17 And I Deleted All My Social Media. Here’s What Happened.” Medium, Medium, 29 Apr. 2017, medium.com/@coreyalex/what-ive-learnt-as-a-17-year-old-who-deleted-all-social-media-d282274d4edd. , September 8th 2017
Chan, Mike. “What Aziz Ansari taught me about technology and human interaction.” Medium, Medium, 5 May 2016, medium.com/@mikewchan/what-aziz-ansari-taught-me-about-technology-and-human-interaction-c933ff6f61a. , September 8th 2017
Rachael Pells Education Correspondent. “Giving your child a smartphone is like giving them a gram of cocaine, says top addiction expert.” The Independent, Independent Digital News and Media, 7 June 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/child-smart-phones-cocaine-addiction-expert-mandy-saligari-harley-street-charter-clinic-technology-a7777941.html. , September 8th 2017
Vaynerchuk, Gary. “This Generation Will Be Fine: Why Social Media Won’t Ruin Us.” Medium, Medium, 8 July 2016, medium.com/@garyvee/this-generation-will-be-fine-why-social-media-wont-ruin-us-de93d4afe5f8. , September 8th 2017