In 2004, Facebook was released to the public. In 2007, the first iPhone came out. And in 2010, snapchat was created. Since then, we have only moved forward, using our phones and social media more and more every day. It is now estimated that the global average for time spent on social media each day by a single person is nearly two hours. In total that is over 5 years of time spent on social media during the average lifespan.
We have evolved into a world where technology is the basis for everything. We no longer need to go to the library, we can just look it up on our computers. No need to travel, because we have virtual reality glasses. Why spend the money on traveling, when, for a fraction of the cost, you walk down the streets of Rome from the comforts of your own living room? We believe that we are so smart because we have a wealth of information at our fingertips, and yet we know hardly anything about the people around us. Often, we know little more than the names of the we see every day at work, at school, on campus. We have become so detached from human contact and relationships.
We spend so much time on Facebook, and yet we hardly ever talk to one another face to face. We don't know the names of the elements on the periodic table, but we can name every one of Angelina Jolie's children, because we obviously follow them on Instagram… right? We spend all this time on social media, but we don't really understand what it means to be social. We no longer count the friends we talk to on a daily basis, rather we recite how many friends we have on Facebook, how many followers our Instagram pages have, and how many retweets we get on a daily basis. We have slowly lost the trait that makes us most human, our humanity; Our ability to build relationships.
Depression rates are among the highest they have ever been. Society has created this idea that if you are not happy something is wrong with you. We see people smiling and "living their best lives," on Instagram every day, and this has created a distorted idea of what life truly looks like. Between 2005 and 2014, the percentage of teens who reported having a major depressive episode in the past year increased from 8.7 percent to 11.3 percent. The number of reported cases of ADD have also risen over the past few years as social media and a need for constant amusement has increased. As reported by the CDC, an estimated two million more children were reported as having an Attention Deficit disorder in 2011 than in 2003. We are no longer allowed to be sad, to have bad days, be bored, and if we are, well obviously there's something wrong with us. And so, we over medicate, over amuse, and overrun ourselves.
We think that if I get "____ many likes" on my Instagram photo, everything will be all right. But then same nasty backhanded comment rolls in and you let yourself believe that you are worthless. Why? Because someone you hardly know is hiding behind a keyboard trying to take down your self-esteem in an attempt to feel better about themselves. I won't take it. Letting yourself be brought down by others who are so terribly upset with themselves, so they try to bring you down with them is ridiculous. Your worth is not defined by your social media. It is not defined by what others think of you. And it sure as hell is not defined by what people think of your social media accounts.
Sure, technology has brought great things to society. It has brought many medical advancements, it has connected us to people half way around the world, it has helped to build infrastructure and security. However, it has also segmented society into a world of individuals. Each one of us standing alone and facing a vast world without the backing of family and community that we both desire and require.
I was once told that life is a team sport, and we need continual encouragement to make it through. It's really hard to be your own hype-person. Have you ever looked in the mirror and tried to encourage yourself? Maybe is goes along the lines of; "Yeah Belle, today is your day, you are amazing, you are confident, and you are strong." And maybe it works for a day, possibly even two, but without the encouragement and support of community, family, and friends, life becomes dreary and destitute.
Christian louse Lang once said "technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master"
Technology has fueled society and brought many great advancements, but it has also slowly stripped away our humanity. We need to take a break from our phones, stop scrolling through Instagram and comparing ourselves, and try building relationships with the people around us, because if we can't do this, then we will continue to lose our humanity and ability to build meaningful relationships. And if we allow ourselves to lose our humanity, then what is the point of being human?