Is Social Media Crippling Our Youth?

With all of the positive aspects that have come along with the advancement of our current technology, has society traded one evil for another? For young people that are easily influenced, living in a time where your social currency comes in the form of likes and upvotes plays a negative toll on their mental health. Now more than ever we’re noticing that young individuals, particularly females, battle with self-image issues early on in their development. Although there is beauty in the never-ending journey of creating technology that connects us to the rest of the world, we need to sit back and focus on how it dampens society as a whole.

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Unable to Connect

The biggest problem that comes with social media consumption is how it hinders a young person’s ability to connect and form intimate relationships with their peers. Let’s face it, being able to carry on a conversation over Instagram or Twitter may seem easy, but what happens when they meet face to face? Younger generations feel isolated from the outside and are beginning to opt for a lifestyle that’s lived vicariously through social media posts, videos and online consumption. In their eyes, why would they want to be judged in the physical world when they can manipulate and mold their pictures to portray them in the best light on a digital medium? Each of their posts become catered towards pleasing others and going viral, as opposed to reaching out and forming a true, lifelong connection with people in their immediate area. As time moves forward, many speculate that this will cripple their ability to form romantic, professional and platonic relationships.

The Long Game

Social media is all about immediate gratification. Many believe that young people are trading their sense of self and respect for clicks and shares. The problem comes when the youth can capitalize off of their looks while neglecting other parts of themselves like intellect and mental fortitude. In a rough analogy, many find that although the younger generation is beautiful on a physical level, they’re far behind the curve in terms of their mental strength and perseverance. The question that inevitably arises is what will happen when these individuals start moving into the workforce and their beauty begins to fade? Even the most beautiful individuals will have to face the hand of father time; will they know how to deal with these issues, or will they let their shortcomings swallow them up and force them to turn inward?

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Many believe that the way we reverse this epidemic is by praising true strength in the form of intelligence and level headedness while simultaneously downplaying instances of vanity. We should encourage people, especially the young, to broadcast their talents and strengths that have been built over years through trial and error, not genetic gifts. Older generations feel that we need to stop praising those individuals within the realms of social media that objectify themselves for surface-level gratification. Instead, we must band together and start a cultural revolution that is built upon a framework of intelligence, hard work, ethics and due diligence. By doing this, we can give the youth of today a better chance of succeeding and becoming reputable people in the years to come.