In the last twenty years technology has changed exponentially. Televisions have gone from dinosaur sized screens with single channels to a paper thin screen that can access the internet. The internet itself has changed drastically in the last six years alone with the evolution of iPhones and other smartphones, giving people access to portable infinite information at the touch of a button.
Communication has soared to new heights along with technology. Old school friends can keep in touch, even after they drift worlds apart, with the plethora of social media sites that now dominate the lives of most people and their enterprises.
Social media is a great innovation for businesses, allowing specific contact with customers or prospective clients. Social media helps build a relationship between celebrities and fans like never before, tweeting out thanks or pictures with fans. Social media has revolutionized our society, but it has also leeched some poison into it.
I remember getting a phone when I was thirteen. It was a flip phone, a Razor to be exact. I only had three contacts: my mom, dad, and sister. I used it for emergencies or when I traveled with my sports team. Now I walk around and see children in elementary schools with iPhones, snap chatting each other, even though they are right next to each other, or playing mindless games at the dinner table rather than interacting with the rest of their family. Have children really lost all sense of imagination?
Though this may be an exaggeration, it seems that children would rather stay inside on their phones updating their "status" than play classic games like "hide and seek" or "cops and robbers."
Girls and boys struggle growing up as it is with puberty, and the growing difficulty of school, and crushes, and family. It is difficult enough for them to discover who they are and adding the idea that they must impress their peers with pictures or tweets of their life increases unnecessary pressure and is damaging to self-esteem.
Social media becomes a facade for people to compare how exciting their life is to that of their peers, only most of it is entirely fake. People only document the exciting things. No one sees what goes on "behind the scenes". One cannot possibly be doing something exciting every moment of every day, but that is how it appears on profiles.
Of course, there are positive aspects of social media. It can spread information and news at amazing speeds. It can be used to stay in touch with old friends, colleagues, and family, as their lives change. Some people do indeed use social media purely as a platform for communication or the harmless documentation of memories, which is the best attribute of social media, but the natural environment of social media insights a more competitive system with younger generations.
Photography is one of the main platforms for most social media sites and has many superb editing applications to enhance colors and shadows, but these edits are being used more and more often to distort the people themselves in the images. Photoshop in magazines is bad enough making girls and boys strive for something that can be impossible to achieve, now photoshop has made its way right into their hands allowing them to distort their own figures in order to dazzle and deceive the viewers and increase their "like" count.
People of all ages are beginning to base their confidence, self-esteem, happiness on a number. On how many people hit a button. That is detrimental to everyone, no matter who you are. There is no magic number. There is no amount of likes that will bring happiness. The more likes received, the more likes will be wanted. It is an ongoing cycle that only has one end: unhappiness.
And children are starting this cycle in elementary school. Older generations are setting their children up for failure from the beginning because they don't understand it themselves.
We are blessed to have such great innovations and technological advancements to speak to and connect with those all over the world, but at what price? At what point will we stop and take the time to understand the aspects of social media that need to change? Social media needs to be brought back to the time of simple communication. We needn't post pictures of ourselves to feel value. Likes do not dictate the worth of our lives.