BY JACK DAVIS, STAFF WRITER ’19
Yes, nobody thought that would be the starting phrase to this opinion piece, but the modeling icon has had much to do as of late with the subject of social media. On November 16, without explanation, Kendall Jenner decided that she needed a “social media detox” and deleted her Instagram account.
Similar to the core-shaking situation when Justin Bieber deleted his Instagram in August, fans were in peril. Soon after, Jenner went on Ellen and explained that she simply needed a break. And while, yes, she reinstalled the account a week later, this does say a lot about the internal effects of social media.
Social media, since it began in chat rooms, has been the root of many incidents involving teens. Teens are the sole focus group because especially in high school, the one thing they need (or so they tell themselves) is that artificial boost. These social media apps like Instagram are heart wrenching because they make even the good things feel sour. If you got a like on a picture, you didn’t get as many as the other person. For every comment of praise, there’s that one quizzical comment that makes you question your self worth.
These apps eventually control you, not the other way around. They course through you, forcing you to check your phone an unreasonable amount of times in a minute to see if your amount of likes has increased. Like there is some kind of connection between how many likes we receive on instagram and how much we are actually, deeply liked in real life. There isn’t.
The following excerpt and images come from The Huffington Post:
“There’s a secondary, if unconscious, effect of all this social media influence: We feel pressured to portray our ideal selves for everyone to see. When surveyed, 40 percent of social media users admitted they often post/share things to improve their image. Honestly, how often do you see someone check-in at Dollar General, boast about their job demotion, or post pictures of the frozen chicken nuggets they microwaved for their kids? Seldom, right? Instead, we tend to highlight the positive aspects of our lives and personalities, if only to compete with everyone else who is doing the same thing.”
As the Huffington Post explained, an app like Instagram is an unrealistic portrait of what we would like our lives to be: the perfect lighting, a sunny vibe, no struggles, always (always) hanging out with friends. Sadly, a totally happy image doesn’t represent one out of the billions of people on this great planet. The sad moments are what make the happy ones more cherishable.
Stress levels, especially among teens, are on the rise, because of this unrealistic desire to have more likes than everyone else and to be on the top of this internet popularity king-of-the-hill game.
No statistics are needed to illustrate the depression and other issues for teens that stem from this desire created within social media. As another article from The Huffington Post explains, social media is no longer real:
“Do you really have 87,000 “followers” on Twitter who respond when you suggest they take action? Do you even have 500 close “connections” on LinkedIn who would take your call tomorrow? How many of your 18,237 “friends” on Facebook would recognize your name if they saw it on a billboard? Don’t get me wrong: I’m a social person. It’s just that social media is fast evolving into a cacophony that drowns out communication and drains productivity.”
The Post explains the stem of the issue: the idea of “friends.” Maybe the reason that a teenager buys followers on Instagram or follows an inordinate amount of people with hopes of receiving the subsequent request is because they aren’t getting the desired amount from their real, tangible life.
And sure, making friends is an issue for everyone, but as I remember, the saying goes “Carpe Diem, seize the day.” Not seize your phone.