Have you ever gone out and seen one of those signs that say, "Stay off your phone, talk to each other and pretend it’s 1994?" Reminiscing about the nineties and simpler times isn’t new but then again, neither is social media, which actually began in the mid-nineties. Either way, it’s safe to say we’ve been dealing with social media for almost 30 years now and what used to be small chat rooms has morphed into a global phenomenon. We share pictures of our friends and family on these sites, connect with old friends, network with colleagues and are generally aware of what’s going on in the world with the help of social media.
So, what makes social media, something that keeps us so connected, poisonous?
From the people who use the sites, we can experience bullying on a larger scale. With the ability to make fake profiles and hide behind anonymity, some can gain courage and send hurtful or nasty messages to others on these sites. They can also dox someone, which is when they reveal all of their personal information. There are plenty of places on the internet where nefarious characters reside to troll people.
From the sites themselves, we’ve learned with movies like The Social Dilemma that a lot of our data is being sold and shared with government agencies and foreign countries. Over the past few years, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been asking Congress to reform a law that shields technology companies from liability in regard to what users post on their sites. There was an uptick of misinformation posted on sites in the past decade, especially surrounding politics.
Another big reason and final reason social media can be poisonous is surrounding the message it shows us. We often see influencers who are in a different country every week, dripping in designer clothes and having the time of their lives. For these people, everyday looks like a rap music video.
This persona is damaging to people of all ages and genders.
It’s rough to see plastic surgery enhanced bodies, people driving luxury vehicles and living in penthouses in major cities when a majority of the country can find themselves struggling to even put food on the table. It can also make people feel as if they’re behind the curve or not doing anything right in their lives.
Social media has a lot of great things going for it but it’s great to take a break and realize that there’s life outside of the bullying, the data harboring and the instagram models.
- Regard Tang