We live in a generation that thrives through the Internet. Social media is everywhere, and everyone uses it in one way or another. Since today’s generation seemingly lives on the various platforms of social media, that is where they seek praise and attention. Likes and comments now define people, rather than their real life personalities and attitudes. To me, this is insane. This is ridiculous. It blows my mind that 1. we actually have the technology to post things and like them and 2. it is such an important part of everyone’s lives.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I LOVE Instagram. Twitter and Snapchat are very entertaining to me. Facebook is all right, too. Social media is super fun, but I don’t let it rule my world. All these websites, in my opinion, are not meant to shape us as human beings. Of course, some people do allow social media make them who they are. That does so much more harm than good, though. I’m not gonna sit here and write an expository essay on the effects of social media on the young person’s mind, but really. Look it up. The Internet, specifically social media, is not great for people. Obviously, five minutes a day on Instagram won’t make you die, but when you sit on your phone/computer/tablet/whatever for several hours each day aimlessly scrolling through profiles and news feeds, it does bad things to your brain!
I said I was not going to write an essay on the effects of the Internet on the brain, but I will give my personal encounter. When I was growing up, we did not have Internet nor a computer at my house. They weren’t popular and affordable-ish until I was about seven years old. That being said, I was not as exposed to the Internet as kids nowadays are. (Jeez…I really sound like an old lady saying that.) However, once I reached middle and high school, everyone was getting smartphones. I got one in high school, and of course, I got all the social media apps downloaded onto my phone as fast as I possibly could. During this time in my life, I was experiencing quite a bit of change, and I was not adapting as expected. I was depressed. I had anxiety. I could not talk to people in real life unless I had known them for several years. Social media was good for me in the sense that I could talk to people and not feel as anxious as I would if I was speaking to them in person. However, as I said, I was depressed. I was very insecure, especially about my body. We all know what the term “Instagram model” means. There were tons of those ALL OVER my news feed promoting weight loss and clothes and shoes and everything in the world. That’s all I saw anytime I went on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook! Advertisements of super skinny, super hot young women were plastered on every corner of each page I clicked on. Please tell me how this was beneficial to my depression and insecurity. News flash: it wasn’t!
Seeing images of fit women everywhere when I was not confident in my own skin did NOT help me get better. How could it possibly make anyone feel good when they’re experiencing the same thing as I did? It makes a person feel significantly worse. Since I was depressed, I wouldn’t go out much, meaning I was always inside. I sat on my phone for hours, just scrolling through my various feeds, soaking in all the likes and comments. Doing this also did not help. Extreme exposure to social media is not good for anyone! It really can hurt you!
I still see my friends (that I actually have now, thank GOD) scroll through all of their apps, posting photos and living for the likes and comments the post will receive. They feel empty without a certain number underneath their photo. If the post doesn’t acquire a certain amount of likes and comments in a given amount of time, they will delete the post and feel defeated. It’s sad to see that 1. people depend so much on a number on the Internet and 2. they get so emotionally distraught because of the Internet. This doesn’t apply to the Internet alone, though. Numbers don’t define a person! Words don’t even define a person! Personalities and senses of humors and intentions define a person.
The Internet is truly a magical place. I love the Internet! It is so useful and helpful and wonderful! Just because there are good things about the Internet, though, doesn’t mean it cannot be bad. Social media is a perfect example of that. Look at the statistics! So many young people are on the Internet, using websites like Facebook and Twitter, which can really be detrimental to their mental health when so much time is spent scrolling. Watch how much time you spend on social media platforms. Make sure that you’re not overdoing it! While it may sound completely unappealing, it is important to have face-to-face interactions often. If you’re feeling sad or even depressed, try logging out for a little while and go outside. The outdoors isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you fall into that category, you could read a book or even write in a journal. Make sure that the Internet is not your life! You will really feel like you’re getting more out of the world when you limit your time scrolling, liking, and commenting.