I enjoy spending my days staring at what has become my good luck charm: my phone, and taking the mandatory selfies. These usually involve the #wonderful Snapchat filters that are incredibly #cool (by today’s low standards).
It’s not a surprise, really. As a teenager, I’m used to ‘socialising’ on my phone from the confines of my room, instead of experiencing life to the fullest. How does that sit with the catchy #YOLO slogan visible on so many celebrity accounts? I’m used to spending hours on Instagram when I should be doing homework that will actually be beneficial. And yes, I know this is a terrible trait, but I have been sucked into the trap of the social media.
It’s not that social media is bad; in fact, it can often be quite interesting, showing us things we might not have otherwise known. It’s that we can’t escape. We feel the need to go back to it; we rely on it, and that is no shock. Social media gives us a well-needed kick of #dopeDopamine (the chemical messenger that makes us feel good). When someone likes our photo, we feel acknowledged. When someone messages us, we feel accepted. As humans, our worst fear is being alone, and so we become reliant on the false feeling of being recognised. Soon, you become unable to put your phone down, constantly seeking the attention that social media tricks you into thinking you have. We actually become unable to tell if we are addicted; the 24/7 need for our phone blinds us. Eventually, we lose track of genuine human interactions. People argue that they hang out with their friends, but they need their phones to do so. When was the last time you hung out with a friend and didn’t touch your phone? Or didn’t put anything on Snapchat or Instagram?
Online, we present the best version of ourselves. Really, this fake news isn’t true, but the people viewing you ‘amazing posts’ don’t know this. Sitting at home whilst your friends post multiple photos of themselves at a party can, and most certainly does, make people feel small and isolated. As we see people with ‘better’ social lives, we begin to belittle ourselves. Therefore, not only does an excess of social media degrade self confidence, but we lose out on the development of our communication skills, which are crucial in the workplace, and beyond.