What impact has social apps and mobile had on the younger generation who have never known any different?
I believe technology has had an amazing impact on society, it allows for boundaries to be broken down like never before and real change to occur. I do however think there has been a negative affect on mental health for some people. I choose to focus on them in this article.
I believe if you are on the not so lucky side which I believe is a significant cohort, technology has the affect of amplifying insecurities especially within teenagers who are in the process of learning who they are. I fear that there is a generation that has mental health issues that are being brushed under the carpet and something needs to be done about it.
What trends are we seeing that give evidence to this?
Social media’s rise of bathroom selfies of yourself in a bathroom with next to no clothes on with your abs ripped out. Bikini selfies showing how skinny you are etc…we are bombarded with images everywhere. And pop culture shows Kim Kardashian etc…to be the role models of our time. It has become acceptable to post a pic of your body 90% naked on Instagram. The danger here is that this becomes the ‘norm’. People are no longer happy at being themselves rather they need to lose more weight or eat less carbs.
Arousal addiction, checking your phone every 5 minutes? I believe this is true because not only have I been a victim of using my phone too much (I have developed techniques to manage this) but I also have worked on products where the intention is to build a habit, see Nir Eyals book. The danger this brings is constant need for gratification and loss of touch of reality and simplicity. When was the last time you sat down, did nothing and just observed how the grass moves. Watch Nir explain it here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQBsnSC_TRM
Trolling, its never been easier to offend someone. Before you used to have to build the courage to say something to someone’s face and face the repercussions of what may be. This meant fight or flight. Now you can sling insults left right and centre whilst eating a GBK with your mates. Youngsters now have to deal with horrendous results before they have developed tools to deal with them.
Why is it such a problem?
I believe people in this age group have never been as out of touch with themselves as they are now. This can cause depression, anxiety, eating disorders and a number of other problems. The reason I believe for this is the lack of maturity in interpreting social media.
It seems that when people see certain images of their friends or the public they don’t see the whole picture. They don’t see the fact that the person in this photo may have spent their whole life working out and therefore has a lack of social life and is even more insecure than when they first started. They don’t see the fact that the person in the photo may be severely unhealthy because of the supplements they are taking. All they see is this person looks like they are ‘succeeding’ and therefore they are the prototype.
I love technology, I work in the industry and it has changed the world, but it would be naive to think it hasn’t had a negative affect on some people and it’s time we addressed that.
I think it’s time we build some tools to help tackle this, whether or not it is tools to communicate how to deal with problems, or something to help people gain more self-confidence, I believe there has never been a better time to make this happen.