Why Do We Let 'Likes' On Instagram Define Us?

Why Do We Let 'Likes' On Instagram Define Us?

It's the illusion.

We snap a picture, pick a filter, post the picture and wait for the likes to roll in. When we get that first notification, it feels like Christmas. We live in an era where if a person you have a crush on likes your Instagram post, Facebook post, basically any post, that means they like you. If a stranger or friend likes your posts, that means your existence is acknowledged and you're overcome with this feeling of validity. Some may say they feel more wanted and that they feel like they're popular, in a way.

What happens when not enough people like our posts? Do we explode? Disappear into thin air? Get sent to social media jail? No, nothing happens. We just feel inadequate. When a stranger, friend, acquaintance, or crush doesn't like our pictures, we don't feel like we're enough and we feel stupid for even posting something anyway as if we've disturbed the social media Gods with our presence.

We start to compare ourselves to our friends who have hundreds of likes. "Why can't I be more like them?" Likes, nowadays, equals validation and it's sad that it is starting to become that. Ever since I watched that episode of "Black Mirror" episode called "Nosedive," it really struck a chord with me of how obsessed we have become and how our society can become like this in the very near future.

If you're not familiar with the episode, basically the technology they have determines how accepted you are into society and what social class you are a part of. The better your posts, the more stars you receive, and the better your life will be.

It is the illusion of likes, the illusion that our life is better when people are liking our posts and that we become a better person because of it. We develop an identity upon being accepted.

We are all guilty of this in some way, shape or form, but let's try to deviate away from this way of thinking. We are still human. We are still ourselves no matter the number of likes we get. Likes do not define us. Social media does not define us. YOU define yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Erik Lacatero

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Pros And Cons Of Living In A “Tracking” Generation

The impacts of living in a world of Find My Friends and Snapchat maps.

In this day and age, sharing your location with someone solidifies your relationship. Whether you share using Find My Friends or over the snap map, you are subjecting yourself to some advantages and some disadvantages.

Pro: knowing where everyone is and who’s together

This is the most obvious advantage. You get to know where all the important people in your life are, like, all the time! You can see if your friend actually left their house to come pick you up when they said they did. You can catch your friend sneaking over to that one guys house, the one she swore she’d never see again. Also, tracking allows you to easily catch your significant other being unfaithful or lying.

Con: your parents can know where you are all the time

This doesn’t apply to everyone. Nonetheless, there are plenty of people whose parents require them to share their location. This makes it tough to do the “Mom, I’m going to spend the night at *insert best friends name here* house tonight, if that’s cool?” when you really go out all night.

Pro: feeling safe

You might be forced to share your location with your parents. You might only allow friends to see your whereabouts. Either way, there is a sense of security that comes with knowing that your loved ones always know where you’re at. Hypothetically if something bad were to happen to you or you accidentally made a wrong turn into the unsafe part of town, there are people looking out for you and ready to help.

Con: getting caught lying

You better be leaving at noon if that’s what you tell your friends because they will definitely know. Also, you can’t tell people you’re staying in if you’re really just blowing them off to see other friends. So basically, tracking forces you to be a better person, which is annoying.

Tracking has caused people to get closer and relationships to end. No matter where you stand on tracking, it’s not going anywhere.

Cover Image Credit: instagram

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Is the Deep Web Safe for Teenagers?

The internet, together with modern technologies, is taking over virtually every aspect of everyday life for human beings.

Our kids are getting introduced to web platforms at tender ages and continue to explore their extensive benefits as they grow up. With the internet, they have been able to quickly go through their education systems, develop their communication and even spark up their leisure.

And while this is advantageous, the unfortunate thing is that the internet is not entirely safe. In recent times, it has gradually become more vulnerable to threats that specifically target teenagers.

With this in mind, one significant internet peril—although massively underestimated—is the deep web. Unfortunately, only a few parents and guardians are informed about it compared to their kids, particularly teenagers whose curiosity for going against norms leads to them trying various experimental projects.

This excerpt seeks to provide a broader understating of the problem at hand. Here, you will get to understand “the deep web mystery” and its implications for internet users below 18 years of age.

What is the Deep Web?

There are numerous definitions and phrases surrounding the mysterious non-visible internet, and if you are to understand how it could be dangerous, then it is crucial that you know what it means.

In one of the simplest definitions, the deep web represents every web page which is unidentifiable by standard search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and the likes. To give you an idea of this concept, you can find a comprehensive, categorized list of deep web links here.

Another commonly-used term associated with the deep web is “the dark web,” which mostly represents sites with illegal content of criminal nature. The dark web, which exists within the deep web, is also the home of various trading platforms that allow users to buy and sell illegal items and services.

In summary, the term “deep” represents online content that is not identifiable using standard search engines. Many sites on the deep web are not nefarious or illegal in nature—in fact, many deep web platforms (outside of the dark web) are meant for legitimate purposes like peer-to-peer communication using various forums or even academic research using databases such as WWW Virtual Library.

But within the deep web is the dark web, which tends to be a comfortable venue for criminal activity. Though many of the sites on the deep web can be visited using standard web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, they’re also accessible with the software tools inclusive of those used for the dark web.

The Danger in Complete Anonymity

To access the dark web, you need a special software program, namely the Tor Browser. The software allows you to remain anonymous online. Tor prevents a third party from being able to know your identity or online behaviors, including your location, the sites you visit and even the messages you send. And while this sounds remarkable, it is the reason why kids want to access the deep web.

Unknown to them is the looming danger that they’ll be exposed to malicious users on the other end looking to exploit unsuspecting visitors. This danger is particularly rampant on the dark web.

The aspect of anonymity attracts all forms of illegal and illegitimate activities including hacking, cyber-bullying, drug dealing, fraud, among others. In reality, it is impossible to quantify the degree and types of threats underage kids can get lured into when they’re browsing the dark web.

Illegal Access to Drugs

Imagine being able to go online, buy drugs (even illegal) and have them directly delivered to your doorstep. This is not some fancy joke, but a blatant reality on the deep web. Sites on the dark web in particular, such as the infamous Silk Road market, allow users to access and purchase all sorts of illegal drugs and have them delivered while maintaining their anonymity.

Minors with the ability to bypass the typical barriers to the deep web have unlimited access to a flurry of potential destructive and illegal drugs. And considering the number of scammers and malicious individuals also using the network, it is unimaginable what would happen if such cases went undetected.

Child Exploitative Content

Possibly the most unsettling thing about the deep web is the numerous cases of child abuse. Although the contraband and drug activities make up for most of the events within the dark web scene, it is horrifying to what extent the deep web also promotes despicable acts of child abuse.

And what’s even more worrying, one study found that more than 80 percent of the users accessing dark websites using Tor visited websites associated with the pedophilic content.

Summary: What’s the Prognosis?

As awareness of the deep and dark web continues to grow, its popularity is also following a similar trend. Unfortunately, this may subsequently push more kids to search for ways to access and explore it.

And while the deep web can also be beneficial for anyone looking for information that isn’t available on standard internet platforms, it should only be accessed by users who can completely discern their actions.

It is advised that parents and guardians take an active role in finding out what their kids are doing online and set boundaries on what they are accessing. Even so, there is a need to create awareness about the dark web and its impact—this serves a purpose to educate teenagers about its existence while also minimizing the mystery and anonymity behind it.

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