Feb 18, 2017: Raksha Sharma, 20, had committed suicide in Jalandhar, Punjab over obscene comments on Facebook by two friends. This incident which took place in November, 2012, left many people shocked and alarmed. The incident made everyone wonder for the first time about the amount of pressure social media puts on adolescents. Years later, this still remains a cause of worry.
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Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many more endless social media platforms consume most of our time on a daily basis. On an average, a teenager spends approximately an hour on social media every day.
It is a no shock that social media has become such an inseparable part of our lives. The scenario is such that we compromise a hot delicious meal for the sake of uploading a picture of it on Social Media.
In these so-called “modern times”, it has become so important for the students to ‘fit in’, to be considered ‘cool’ and ‘popular’, to have maximum like and comments on their uploads. What serves as a cause of worry is that social media, in some way or the other is affecting the lifestyles of people.
All of a sudden, smoking and drinking are considered as “cool habits”, whereas going to the “hottest new places” and attending the “funkiest parties” has become an absolute necessity.
This “Digital Age” has shaped our views in such a way, that we tend to spend more time living in this Virtual World, alienating ourselves from the Real World. Our days start and end by checking our smartphones and giving 100% priority to our social life when the sad truth is that, we have a friend list of thousands but still feel lonely and depressed on the inside.
Children aged 10, concentrate more on their Social Media accounts rather than their books. They have a higher knowledge of the latest apps than of their own curriculum. More time is spent in Parties and get-togethers in clicking selfies and talking to other people online, than in talking to the people present right in front of us.
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A smartphone with a good camera, in fact, the expensive Apple iPhone and DSLR cameras are considered as necessary so that Social Media accounts have great pictures in it.
Another matter which is disturbing is the fact that social media has somehow created this image of what’s perfect. Many girls who do not have a size-zero figure have fallen into self-loathing whereas guys are taking to the gyms for the perfect abs.
Wearing clothes of a particular label or brand, using certain items like makeup etc. are considered to be the rule by teenagers. In a way, social media has ripped them of their choices by creating imaginary guidelines of what is right and what is not.
Announcing everything on Social Media exposes users to a great deal of threat like cyberbullying, character shaming etc. It is a platform where people can become both famous and infamous. Sometimes, being put down on the Social Media platforms leads to chronic depression. Also, it gives greater power to people to do things which they know are wrong by hiding their true identities like defaming someone, getting into false contracts etc.
Social media is a virtual platform where it is very easy to modify the truth. Recently, a group working to create awareness about mental health carried out a unique project. They created a fake Instagram account where they uploaded pictures of a girl travelling to different places and enjoying her vacation. However, this project wanted to highlight how easily we ignore signs of mental tension. The fact that the girl had a glass of alcohol in her each single picture went unnoticed by the innumerable followers.
So, it is very easy to hide certain facts and show only what we want to on Social Media platforms. This is the reason why we never find people sharing sad pictures of themselves or bad experiences over social media, only happy ones.
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What we need to realize now and work upon is the fact that we control social media; it does not control us. We should have the power to ignore the negative influence it can have on us and not fall prey to it. It should be our choice to stop addicting about it and share only what we wish to show to the public and not every small detail.
-By Nikita Saraf of NewsGram; Twitter: @niki-saraf