Social side effects
In May 2017, the Royal Society for Public Health and the Young Health movement released a report examining the effects of social media on the health of young people. The report includes a ranking of social media platforms based on their impact on the mental health of young people. YouTube tops the chart as the most positive, with Instagram and Snapchat being the most damaging to the mental health and well-being of young people.
But what are the damages caused by social media?
According to the data of the English research, it is estimated that following the massive use of social media one in six young people will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life and already now the identified rates of anxiety and depression in young people are increased by 70% compared to the past. Anxiety can have an enormously damaging impact on a young person’s life by generating states of overwhelm, worry and panic. Anxiety can be diagnosed as a specific mental health disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), as a panic disorder, as a social anxiety disorder, or as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
The image of oneself
Body image is a problem for many young men and women, considering that, according to the English study, nine out of 10 teenagers say they are not happy with their appearance. In the meantime, 10 million photos are uploaded to social media every hour, continually raising the bar with respect to the beauty claims that young people themselves have on themselves. From here arise collateral phenomena such as the use of cosmetic surgery: about 70% of 18-24 years old would consider having to undergo a cosmetic surgery. And so on.
The destruction of the self.
What the English study reports is nothing more than the putting in black and white of a feeling that we adults have been maturing for some time. Social media are leading (I quote an article read a few days ago) to a real destruction of the ego. Before the advent of social media, we did not live in a perfect world. But it was a world of different personalities, different characters and different aspects. There were the beautiful and the ugly, the nice and the unpleasant. And although no one has ever been happy to be ugly and / or unpleasant, more or less all those who touched these “gifts” ended up accepting them over time, understanding that they were part of their ego: they were that. This is no longer the case. Today social networks act as immense steamroller capable of annihilating everything that does not conform to the standard of virality, that is the obligation to be all beautiful and nice. And if you are not beautiful? You use the filters or badly going you pass the surgeon. You’re not funny? No problem, go to tiktok, do some shit and you too will get those likes that will give you, at least for an hour, a false sense of satisfaction and satisfaction. In practice we are in the ephemeral fair. The world is filtered only through the camera and the screen of their smartphone and many, especially the youngest, do not know any other world than that of their social networks. They don’t know what happens in the world, they often refuse to study and work. They pushed the virtualization pedal so hard that in the end they even gave up on meeting physically, between friends and boyfriends. The first meet via PlayStation, the young couples, clogged with online sex available at all hours on the various Youpporn and Pornhub, have even given up on the physical one, the real one.
We are losing our ego. We are getting lost in useless streams of a virtual existence that will lead us nowhere but to enrich some Silicon Valley company. However, we still have time to take back our self and our life with it. But we are asked for a painful detachment … the one from our smartphone. For many an impossible undertaking. However, it is a step that can make us rediscover the others, indeed each other since we all, regardless of age, spend half our days immersed in this bubble that is social media. Outside our Instagram there is a wonderful way to discover, and there are mirrors (the real ones), with which to return to look at each other, without selfies, without filters, perhaps accepting ourselves a little more, certainly living better.