Buzz... buzz.. buzz. You look up, and
everyone around you is looking down at a
device, unaware of the magic surrounding
them. Many argue that their phone usage
connects them socially to others, and creates
relationships regardless of distance, but it’s
increasingly proven to be a restriction in the
lives of those individuals by distracting them
from the moment. This embodies the contradicting nature of social media.
In many cases, social media is a great way to keep up with your old friends, but too often people are using technology to control their life through a social media platform. The focus is more on how their life appears to their followers than how their life is fulfilling their needs.
The digital age is shifting the focus from spending quality time with others beyond the screen to finding hollow connections to others through screens. Brent L. Fletcher, a mental health therapist, says on socialworktoday.com that it's easy for millennials "to become depressed when they are getting their sense of self-worth from the approval of others on social networking sites.”
I have experienced conversations with friends revolving around the amount of likes they receive on posts, and it physically upsets some of them if they don’t get a certain number of likes. The paradigm of individuals looking to social media for acceptance is unhealthy, and also creates a false and fleeting sense of confidence. According to research conducted by Kent C. Berridge, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, approval online releases dopamine in the brain and can be addicting, so when you don’t feel accepted by individuals on the internet, it can be painful and actually creates a more empty feeling. This reliance on the internet and approval is creating a generation of people who strive to be accepted and never learn that what they’re searching for isn’t stable or real.
Technology has also rightfully been ridiculed for creating socially inept people. Social media is the barricade between connecting with individuals in real life and in- stead connecting over a webpage through likes and comments. This culture of communicating and sharing lives through screens has put our social skills on the back burner. An article in the Huffington Post, Social Media Is Actually Making You Socially Awkward, states, “There are simple social skills that we are completely losing an entire generation of because we only do anything online.”
This digital age has resulted in loss of important skills to function in the world outside of technology. I have noticed my peers unable to hold eye contact during conversation, while older generations mostly have no issue doing so. The decrease in diction and ability to have face-to-face conversations has put many in a difficult position finding jobs that require social skills.
This digital age is
removing us from our lives by putting
us in another realm called the internet where
we are condensed into a profile page. In reality, we are three-dimensional beings with all
these thoughts and feelings, so when the internet tries to put our existence on a two-dimensional screen, it reduces us.
Social media has also allowed humanity many things such as platforms to communicate, quick news and job opportunities. It's incredible that we have all this power at our fingertips, but it's important to allow time to explore not just the internet, but the world. To adventure is to live and I think we need to set our phones down more and not feel so connected to an inanimate object.
Imagine a world in which all the memories you have made live on through your mind and stories instead of some social media platform, and they were filled with total attention to your surroundings instead of ensuring you took the perfect picture.