Social media accounts- everyone has them; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; but do we really want to ‘socialize’ with our peers? Or is this a 21st century mechanism for self-promotion and narcissism? Emerging in Ancient Egypt some 5000 years ago; portraiture was used to advertise one’s wealth and importance- and therefore ultimately a person’s worth within society; fundamentally fitting each individual into a categorized slot on the social hierachal scale.
These modern platforms arguably replace the device of portraiture: users fight to be bigger and better- more important than one another; concert goers film and post the show rather than ‘live the moment’, a woman uploads a photograph of her engagement ring the moment after she is proposed to, or group of friends will Snapchat a night in a club rather than dancing. Our value is weighed in likes, comments and shares by critical observers, so therefore is it surprising that the torch of self-obsession and judgement is being passed onto the younger generation?
A recent BBC survey revealed that 78% of 10-12 year olds have accounts on social media, with Facebook being the most widely used despite the profile holders being vastly below the age requirement. Does this open a gateway for continuing playground bullying?
The study coincides with Safer Internet Day, which oversees the joining of more than a thousand institutions that seek to promote the “safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children”. The organisation announced today that an average of four out of every five young people have witnessed online abuse: such as “offensive and threatening” language- with as many as two in five youngsters using social media to spread “rumours” about others.
Young people using social media sites has become somewhat of a normality, debatably causing children to become increasingly disengaged and unresponsive to one another. Further research by the establishment showed that juveniles now use social media more than they are watching television. In a rapidly changing society, youth children often possess individual laptops or tablets of their own; living largely within a virtual world that perhaps shapes the interaction skills that will form their adult selves.
With the vast depth of the internet and limitless services it provides, is it impossible to prevent the upcoming generation of “computer zombies”?
Let me know what you think.