Growing up in an Intangible Toxic World

Social Media

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Pressure is something I constantly deal with and many others. I feel pressure to do well in school, pressure to do well in sports, pressure to be a good daughter, pressure to be a good role model, and pressure to stay calm despite all the expectations. I know the majority of this pressure is very normal and something everyone endures. As I get older, I am certain this pressure will increase. In the future, I’ll have to deal with a career, a family, pets, a house, a car, and simple tasks like grocery shopping. My parents are in that very boat, and I can imagine they too have a lot of pressure to handle everything perfectly. Social media is something new to this world that brings people together but also a lot of pressure. The younger generation is now dealing with a whole different world that can vary from inspiring, toxic, entertaining, or connective. 

Unfortunately, I am on my phone a lot. Majority of that time I spend on social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, VSCO, Tiktok, Youtube, and Snapchat are social media platforms that I am or have been actively using. Each one is used for different things, but they all commonly share similar attributes. Social media has opened a new door that allows the world to stay connected through instant messages, live recordings to know what is going on at this very moment, internet organizations, and a place for people to keep up with each other despite the miles and miles between them. Not to mention, many social networking and marketing jobs are now available over social media. Our world thrives on social media. Individuals can use their social media platforms to promote anything they want. Celebrities, politicians, businesses, authors, actors, singers, dancers, models, and brands can keep their audience connected and informed. These public figures can also promote positivity, inspiration, and awareness. My generation values these platforms so much. I, for one, am always thinking of my next post, or drama within the Youtube community, or how I can be just like that girl I see on Instagram that everybody loves. Social media gives everyone the power to hide behind the screen and show the world the best part of themselves and nothing else. 

 Due to social media, I feel so much pressure to look and be a certain way. Everyday on my Instagram feed, I see gorgeous girls that have the idealistic perfect body, driving the dream car, wearing clothes I can’t afford, and owning a house bigger than our school. I can’t help but think “I wish I was her.” I compare myself to these people and think about everything they have that I don’t. Before I know it, I’m contemplating my next Instagram post that will make my life look as perfect as theirs. I obsess over the standards social media brings. Our society has made up its mind on what is attractive and ideal, and the younger generation is contorting itself to fit into these impossible standards. However, we all know even if we contort ourselves enough there is always someone else with more likes, comments, and followers. 

Moreover, my generation has grown up seeing the world behind a screen. I have been texting, direct messaging, and snapping my friends since sixth grade, but most of them were even younger than me when they began to communicate through social media. Our phones have acted as a barrier from reality. Whatever we post, comment, or text does not actually feel like a big deal. Behind a screen, making fun of someone or spreading negativity inappropriate behavior is much easier than in person. The younger generation sometimes does not see the harm of posting that video of them drinking or juuling. Anything one does on social media feels as if it is masked. What is the harm in asking for a nude picture? What is the harm in sending a nude picture? The girls in my generation have always been exposed to the pressure of sending child pornography. We have grown up with it. It can be very difficult for a young girl to say no to an older boy, and they may not know what it even means to send it. To be talked to by a boy could make any girl feel important; therefore, girls are more apt to please and want to receive positive affirmation about her body. It can become a habit to find oneself’s value from explicit comments on his or her body, and I can imagine that these people asking for nude pictures do not realize the effect they have on others by doing this. 

Additionally, social media has been proven to also affect our physical health. Many individuals are becoming addicted and obsessive to social media. Children, teenagers, and adults spend hours a day on social media which carries over into the night leaving us sleep deprived. I have been up late on my phone countless times and soon regret it the following morning.

As can be seen, social media has been an asset to our world and made many things more efficient and accessible. It has opened many doors for people to use social media as a platform to benefit itself and its audience. However, social media also has its flaws. Due to social media, our society is lacking the skill of face-to-face interaction and contact, and it is becoming an apparent issue. We are dependent on hiding behind a screen and using it as our primary way to communicate and connect with the rest of the world. Social media has created a toxic environment that present and future generations will have to endure, and the world will have to make changes to itself to adapt to the modern intangible lifestyle on a screen. Our society will need to teach its people how to cope with the pressure of social media and to focus on positivity and how blessed one is, not the opposite.

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