Social Media and Teenagers: A Set of Q&As

by Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra

Our world has turned into a world of Social Media. Facebook Friends and Instagram Followers seem to have a greater importance in life than the actual, old and new, collage and school, close and distant, face-to-face friends. The notifications from Whatsapp, TikTok and Tumblr seize our boggled minds from any other activity, drawing us in. The lack of likes on a FB post and re-tweets in a Twitter one, cause a truckload of frustration and depression.

Why? Why is the allure of Social Media so irresistible? Why can’t we cease to put a limit on our usage of these platforms?

Maybe they are alluring because they are an illusionary reality. A dream world, where the shy are confident, the uncool are cool, the nerds are jocks. Where you are judged by your posts not your grades. Where you are judged by the number of comments on your post with a football jersey, not the goals you scored in the match.

This reality gives a sense of happiness and satisfaction to all those who do not get it otherwise.

But this illusionary reality can break like a fragile piece of glass. One degrading comment, lack of likes, your absence in a group photo of the people you consider close-the frustration is inevitable.

Why is over usage of Social Media harmful?

Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, once said ‘Everything in excess is opposed to nature.’

This statement makes sense in ways more than one.

You get excess of money, you become a spendthrift, and you forget the plight of a pauper.

You get excess of food; you forget what it is like to work for it.

You get excess of Social Media; you become addicted to it. You become dependent on it.

Why do people become depressed on seeing hateful comments?

It maybe because people are so immersed in their posts and in their Social Media life that even the smallest insult can seriously set them off.

Social Media bullying, hateful comments almost seem like a part and parcel of these platforms. There are people who just go to the sites and start abusing the people, the content, anything and everything they can get their eyes on. It actually happens; people do that. But, at the end of the day, it is up to us how much we let these comments and trolls get to us. We can get affected, take these comments to heart and become depressed and frustrated, all because of some person, who we probably don’t even know. Or we can man up and stick to our guns and refuse to let some bystander spoil our day.

At the end of the day, it is up to us. Only us.

What is the difference between habit and addiction of social media?

See, the only difference between a habit and an addiction is the fact that we don’t give any thoughts to a habit, like brushing our teeth when we wake up, we just don’t give any thought to it, we just do it. If checking Social Media is a habit, then a few days away from it won’t cause any harm. Sure, as habit, your hand will automatically go towards the phone and these apps, but gradually that habit will start breaking.

However, in case of an addiction, a separation from these apps, will cause emotional distress, severe anxiety, it will be like somebody has taken a limb from you. In extreme cases, it can go as far as mental trauma.

There is no doubt about the fact that Social Media has its own perks and advantages. It gives a sense of happiness or satisfaction or popularity and in some cases, all three. You can connect with the people you cannot see on a day to day basis, and it has most certainly contributed in staying connected with loved ones during this Covid-19 Pandemic. However, everything should be exercised with a limit. A control. Without limits on the amount of time we spend on these platforms, it can go from positive to negative in a snap of your fingers, like a downward spiral.

I will conclude by saying that use Social Media, but with a restraint.

About the Author:

Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra is a prodigy author, poet and TED speaker. She is twelve years old studying in std.8th at Apeejay School, Saket, New Delhi.  She has published two books and many stories and articles in magazines and journals. At the age of ten, she published a 21,000 worded anthology of stories called ‘Treasure of Short Stories’. Last year her debut Novel ‘Manhattan to Munnar’ got released. Recently she has been conferred with a title ‘PRODIGY AUTHOR’ and an ‘HONORARY DIPLOMA’ by the Hon’ble Vice President of  India Sh. M Venkaiah Naidu.  

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