Take a minute to stop scrolling, liking and posting on social media. Just be present. This is something society has forgotten how to do since the creation of social media. As social platforms have begun to grow in recent years, people have become conditioned to compare themselves to others. Humans lose their capability to explore their individualism by the constant presence of media, weakening their control to avoid social norms by becoming accustomed to the unrealistic expectations of social media. Media pressures people to oppress their individuality in hopes of protecting themselves from judgment and moving up on the social ladder. Our society has taken happiness out of how many likes and comments you get on a post which has taken a toll on how we view our personal worth.
The pressure of social media causes “teenagers to believe that they need to fit this “perfect image,” that they can achieve online, even if that is not their true persona. They can be whoever they want to be behind a screen. This can become exasperating work; having to keep up with these different personalities.” (Heinlein). Mindsets like these pose a threat to young undeveloped minds. Rapidly developing technology is hurting the human psyche because we are not adapting to peer pressure as fast as technology is growing. “They think being different or unique might not be acceptable to everyone, which dulls people’s sense of their individuality.” (Heinlein). A survey by the Royal Society of Public Health found that people ranging from 14-24 years old, that are members of social media platforms, have been impacted by mental health issues. “The survey results found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have all led to increased feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and poor body image.” (Rsph).
“Children today are living in a society that has a social media presence in almost everything they see online. The influence that it has over their developing minds is not something to be taken lightly” (Zainal). If we really think about it, the media has an overpowering influence on our opinions. Unfortunately, creators never thought about the outcome of these new social forums. When hundreds of comments, ideas and opinions come together they create something called the “hive mindset”. “The hive mind is defined as “a collective consciousness, analogous to the behavior of social insects. Such a group mentality characterized by uncritical conformity and loss of a sense of individuality and personal accountability.” (Zainal). In other words, this information we are constantly being fed unconsciously persuades those users who are neutral but impressionable.
Working to limit exposure time can lead to a significant change in the way social media controls our lives. Whether that be in our children’s lives, our lives or the lives of a friend, we are never truly free from the bondage of our internet communities. Social networking will always be one step ahead of us to create the most oppressing and addictive poison fed to us through a screen.
Heinlein, Heidi. “Delete: How Social Media Is Eliminating Individuality.” Periscope, https://www.chsperiscope.com/uncategorized/2019/02/07/delete-how-social-media-is-eliminating-individuality/#.
Rsph. “Instagram Ranked Worst for Young People’s Mental Health.” RSPH, https://www.rsph.org.uk/about-us/news/instagram-ranked-worst-for-young-people-s-mental-health.html
Zainal, Hayati. “Social Media Is Killing Individualism.” Medium, Predict, 14 Apr. 2020, https://medium.com/predict/social-media-is-killing-individualism-d374d3d6a576