Scared of the monsters under your bed? Fear no more! It’s time to load your virtual guns and shoot them away because in this gilded era of augmented reality, you can now do the impossible! Just when the parents are acquainting themselves with Facebook, the teenagers have already moved on to virtual platforms like Snapchat and Instagram, where the video chat and live filters change the perspective of looking at the world. Now all you need to do is pick up your camera and look at the world through rose-tinted lenses, literally and figuratively too. From photo-sharing apps to instant messaging services like WhatsApp, today’s teens are sharing an overwhelming amount of information with more and more people—all at the tap of a button. Social media trends have been evolving and growing over the years and soon enough, it will encapsulate our world completely. The young generation has submerged deep into the web of social media and for this reason, it is imperative for parents to keep themselves updated with this new media.
Dexterity? More like Text-erity
Typing away on WhatsApp, Messenger and other social media forums is the trending idea for passing time. While our thumbs tap away tirelessly on our touch screen gadgets talking, bonding and connecting with people all around the world, we forget to look around and socialize with the people who have always been for us. These instant messaging platforms have infiltrated into our daily life schedules, so much so that we cannot operate without them. Nowadays, every company, school, college and institute sends out their instructions, documents and notifications through these social media forums. Even though they facilitate communication, another point to be acknowledged is that these media applications have resulted in the alienation of the youngsters from the real world as they are stuck in virtual reality.
Snap a little snap of me!
Introduction of applications such as Snapchat has really given us a dosage of augmented reality! Today, we can actually click pictures with the help of a concept called ‘live filters’ that uses facial recognition technology to scan our facial parameters and behold, there are two bunny ears on our heads! The latest fad in the present generation is to click thousands of pictures with social media apps such as these, which creates nothing but a world of unrealistic identities. We can have dog and cat filters or makeup filters to make us look cool and suave, but is there a reality behind this chimerical appearance? Not at all. Well, the teens need to come out of the shackles of this imaginary realm of perfection which has become disillusioned with these live filters and projections- projecting an unreal plane of existence.
Pictures for a gram, anyone?
A cornucopia of pictures- the elegant candid, the beautiful shot of sunrise, the wonderful brands and their clothes, the jazzy bloggers and the hilarious memes; Instagram is the platform for a plenty. Nowhere else in the world can we find a better forum for sharing pictures, liking and spreading our ideas to the masses. Mediums such as these are efficient for disseminating information, ideas, stories and pictures. Several companies can make use of this platform for marketing and promoting their products, artists can upload 60 second covers to reveal their talent to the world; meanwhile the models, actors and fashion brands can expand their fan base. Nevertheless, we cannot deny the negative impact of these social media trends. Children have now started to post pictures that have surpassed their boundaries of maturity. Thus, we have learned to alter our personalities and perceptions, basing them on the ostentatious world of social media.
Birds who? You are the ones who tweet!
Not only Instagram and Snapchat, we also have forums such as Twitter and Facebook to help us with our social escapades. Social media has increasingly become a platform for people who want to amass contacts and make virtual friends to shoo away their loneliness. Recent news tells us that Twitter and Facebook are changing their approach and modifying their forums so as to accommodate the present generation. But what we don’t realize is that there are thousands of people around us, we only have to step outside our house and talk to them. Real life interactions are so much better than random comments and likes on posts, that make us happy for a while, but in a long run, I hope we realize that the effect is ephemeral.
Parents, beware of the disclosure-
Those who grow up with technology assimilate it into themselves while those who are older, must “learn it”, as it is the need of the generation. We have seen a number of examples in recent years about how the older and middle-aged folks ignore texting, convinced that it is an adolescent aberration. They are also the same generation that ignored Facebook and Twitter, often saying “I’m too busy working to waste my time with that”, and by the time they realized that the world was developing much faster than they could keep up with, it was too late for some of them to acquire to the tools to ‘stay in the game’. In the current day scenario, the youngsters have evolved into a tech savvy generation, while their parents are still on the grassroots of understanding this new technology and social media applications. This creates a generation gap as well as a technological divide between the masses. This divide could actually prove to be harmful because now the parents cannot really monitor the activities of their children on social media, and thus, the younger generation is getting involved in conspiracies, scams and leaks on social media forums.
Step carefully- the world’s at your feet!
Sticks and stones may break your bones, but too much indulgence in the world of social media is sure to break your mind and heart. We look up for posts like “10 tips to improve your health” or “how to lose weight in 2 months”, but do we ever stop to think how social media is affecting our health and making us lazy? We sit all day, staring at our laptop screens and mobile phones, admiring celebrities, gorging on food videos and wondering how to fit in that red dress we saw on Instagram the other day. But instead, we should engage our minds in some activity we like or just go outside and take a walk in the fresh air; thinking about other useful things we could do. With the internet as our arsenal, we have all the information in the world! But we choose to ignore and let the useless parts of social media feed on our attention. It is high time we make use of the resources we have in order to be constructive, and free ourselves from the materialistic world of illusions.
There are many ways social media can be used by youth in a positive way. It is not just an avenue for socializing; kids and adolescents can be creative, interactive, and can also learn novel things. Social media sites can provide a place for youngsters to share their interests in art, music, games and blogs with several others. Several students and groups also advertise their NGO’s and campaigns through the means of social media. Children and adolescents are capable of impacting their communities and even the world as a whole, in amazing ways. This new generation can either destroy or recreate the world.
If used correctly, social media can help them to make positive changes in the world by highlighting social issues through blogs, open avenues for promoting artists, spread information and change the mindset of people. Recent surveys show that social media impacts the mental health of the teenagers because they start comparing their lives to others, reveal too much personal information and live with a false sense of reality. According to a leading newspaper, some 43% of the parents thought that the negative aspects of their child having a social media account outweigh the benefits, while 31% thought the risks and benefits were about equal. Only 26% thought the benefits were worth the potential risks. Thus, the need of the hour is to “focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.”