Is Social Media the digital pandemic for the 21st Century?
This has become the generation where people wake up and the first thing they do is check their “social media”.
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There has been a huge increment in the usage of social media over the last 15 years, and almost everyone is active on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for hours, every single day.
Countless people are busy posting selfies on their Facebook or Instagram walls, so, a new question has arisen.
Is Social Media Turning Some Of Us Into Narcissists?
Studies have shown that we are currently living in a society filled with narcissists and there is no way to rewind. Here, television is dominated by the Kardashians, Starbucks is filled with people that take selfies, and concerts are filled with people taking a million videos, instead of enjoying the moment.
Several research papers have been written about this rise of narcissism, especially from the Millennials up to Gen Z.
Professor Jean M Twenge jotted down, The Narcissistic Epidemic, where she revealed that data from 36,000+ college students showed an increment in narcissism, just like obesity back in the 90s. One can be safe to say that there is a new virus on the globe, and this has nothing to do with viruses.
Is It A Behavior That Can Be Learned?
Narcissism is not a trait that is permanent but depends mainly on the environment. Media plays a major role in how narcissistic we are.
A recent study has shown that people who watch the current reality TV shows have shown higher levels of narcissism afterward.
The thing that is more concerning is that the newer studies, which contrast the life and habits of teens with Baby Boomers, the generation that was born between 1946 to 1964 showed an increase in extrinsic values over intrinsic ones. The young generation values money, fame, and appearance over fellowship and self-acceptance.
Studies have also found that people with high scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questions have more friends on Facebook and tag themselves more in photos. They also, update their statuses more than others.
These people need attention and admiration from others and they thrive on endorsements like followers, shares, likes, and rehashes. People who were born narcissistic are having a gala time, while the newly inducted ones are making rapid progress.
A research paper from 2011 exposed young people who used Facebook frequently. They were shown to have high narcissistic tendencies than others. So, one can say that usage of Facebook is directly linked to narcissism.
Is Social Media The Main Problem?
These platforms were created to share content and connect with people, which would eventually transform one into self-obsession. But this goes way past just taking selfies and self-promotion.
The need for validation has become ingrained in the people that they need a place where people sell themselves to others, offering insincere engagement with more of the same. The saddest part is that self-worth does not matter as long as the notification bell keeps ringing.
Every share and like gives them a rush of dopamine, just like a hit of cocaine.
This perspective of Social Media usage is a problem as people show a representation of themselves, which is unrealistic. This fake reality that people try to sell has had a huge impact on teens as they get to know what is “beautiful” and what is the opposite.
This has also led to more eating disorders and crippling depression.
Another thing is the illusion of happiness. Several studies have shown that pupils in the US, who are engaged on Facebook believe that others’ lives were much better than theirs and these are the same people who compare themselves negatively to others and feel worse about the way they look.
All of us are born with narcissistic traits, to some extent, and in this generation, self-exposure has become easier to market, which people support and acknowledge.
Social Media, itself, is not problematic, but the generation of self-obsessed narcissists is on and the cost of joining these social media platforms is free, but in the long run it comes at a high price.