Candid photo, perfect filter, deep meaning infused caption and press upload, now wait for the verdict from fellow peers. Every ping brings excitement, every heart icon fetches contentment and the comments just make your day. The course book is open, assignments are pending, communication with family and parents is limited yet we are so in touch with what is happening around in other people’s lives.
So much time is spent on the social media that it has alienated us from the people that are in fact around us. We rather post an elaborate birthday message for our loved ones and curate amazing pictures than make an effort to meet and greet. When you communicate using screens and not meet in person the teenagers fail in making proper interactions, and are missing out on critical social skills.
The aftermath of lack of social skills include harmful impact on mental health in young ones as well as creates barrier in communication, which is a very useful life skill. When relationships and friendships are created online less is at stake since the visual cues are absent, this way the impact of our words and actions have on others are clearly invisible to us. This certainly reduces the sense of empathy in the newer generation, which is something the world requires the most at this moment. Traits like social anxiety, commitment issues in personal and professional life arise.
It’s easier to say nasty and mean things to each other when the message is delivered electronically. This upsurges another grave problem i.e. cyberbullying. While in reality, having differences in opinion is normal and respecting the differences and moving on is important, the newer generation perhaps goes to extreme lengths to exert their opinion and dominance over those who differ.
Peer acceptance is another side effect of the social media trends. It seems every like and comment is like a poll of one’s popularity and lack of thereof directly hits the teenagers at their most vulnerable. This leads them to create a pseudo image especially amongst girls to post the perfect picture and portray a perfect life. A healthy body image is hard to maintain when the media distorts our views with use of skinny models with well sculpted face. Boys are no different, competing for attention amongst peer with aggression and ganging up sometimes use with use of violence and hostility.
Someone went on a crazy expensive vacation, “Have fun” you comment and lament your life. Amazing make up tutorials from friends yet you can’t even nail winged eyeliner right. The pressure in on. Will you be met with a round of hoot or boo, anxiety creeps in. This crush you have, you stalk around their profiles and realize they have taste for things that are different from who you are, you try and pretend, try to fit in. Now you have created numerous facades and personalities and you are having a hard time figuring out who you are, in real life. It gets increasingly hard to feel good about yourself. It’s easy to feel lonely even when you’re amongst people you faked to be around.
With so much going around it’s really important for the parents and guardians to set a good example of a healthy relationship around the angst teenagers. Establish a limited time and area designated to use of electronic and social media and let them know how inconsequential its impact is on your daily life. A parent checking their phone every other hour and uploading their daily mundane tasks on internet does not help them trivialize their fascination with social media. It’s important for them to know real friends and family don’t care if you’ve not done anything exciting every 24 hour, or that you don’t follow the pop culture as intensively as others. In real life we need friends who understand you, who help you evolve as a human rather than the followers who apparently are fighting their own demons and trying hard to fit in their notion of a normal person online.