DOES IT BOTHER YOU: We didn’t ask for social media to ruin us


Isabelle Farina

A direct message from Social Media to remind you of the hold it has on you.

The once-glamourous advancement of the Internet has been repeatedly proven to be not so spectacular after all. Practically speaking, there are notable contributions like bringing people together, providing a multitude of new jobs and efficient access to all kinds of information. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that the detrimental effects of growing up immersed in a world of social media significantly outweigh its benefits. 

Society has reached a general consensus that excessive social media use does considerable damage to mental health and socialization skills. Although there is a widespread acknowledgement of the negative effects, society would never reverse previously established technological advancements. Checking social media has become second nature to the vast majority of people, and they have no real incentive to ever remove it from their daily routine. 

I am particularly bothered by the fact that Gen Z, our current generation, has been innately predisposed to the malice of the Internet. Just because I was born in an age of blooming technology, I am now forced to suffer the consequences that result from social media. Parents incessantly condemn teenagers, barking at them to put their phones down, but cell phones and social media are all we’ve ever known. We were raised in an era that idolized technology, and as a result, some may say we are now addicted to it. Sadly, we never got to decide whether or not we would engage in social media for the rest of our lives; we were just kids harmlessly fiddling around with cool new apps, and now we get blamed for the effects it has on us. Never could we have anticipated the inescapable toxicity that emanates and lingers from social media. 

Not only does the internet fuel fiery comparison, setting impossibly high standards for every aspect of life, but it ruins our ability to have meaningful in-person interactions. The possibility for authentic romance has been replaced by short, crude conversations through Snapchat. Our overall awareness of our looks and how we are perceived by others is so heightened that we are too embarrassed to even dance at formal events for fear of being caught on-camera in a way we can’t instantly touch up. We often forget our true intentions behind the things we do, prioritizing capturing the moment for the perfect Instagram. Such rapid absorption of information has worsened our ability to focus and comprehend intricate material. And don’t forget the frivolous practice of counting likes, comments and followers!

As a teenage girl with an average daily screen time of five hours a day, it enrages me that my brain thinks this way, but I also realize it is not necessarily my fault. My generation and I were brought up in a time that has romanticized social media because everyone was using it. I often fantasize about being a teenager in the early 2000s, where the main feature on cell phones was calling and there were no crushing pressures from the Internet. Unfortunately, this is not the case and never will be again. My fellow members of Gen Z and I will be forced to endure the repercussions of cell phones and social media that we never asked for, and I personally wish we could unfollow.