The Kids Are Alright - They Are Quitting Social Media PART 1

The advent of social media has been somewhat remarkable as well as a thorn in the flesh. There are innumerable benefits of social media ranging from personalized accessible connectivity (our fave), an online market for entrepreneurs, a hub to link intellectual gurus (that's us too ;)), and just simply a social network. It has however taken up a whole lot of our social lives and reduced human interaction. Social media, of course, has its ills and subsequently, many users are faced with difficult questions such as whether the pros outweigh the cons.

Young people and kids, have been known to be victims of the social media surge. This is because they usually do not have an understanding of the underling social contracts within these digital and interactive spaces before diving in. They are also left alone and on the receiving end of challenging social and emotional storms for which they are unprepared to weather. Their level of vulnerability when confronted with acts of cruelty, manipulation, and isolation breeds numerous negative outcomes . But the kids are and will be alright. Here are a few reasons why kids are quitting the media.

1. Self-image
For a lot of young people, the media played an important role in how they saw themselves. For example, the number of likes on an Instagram post is equivalent to how much people liked you. Therefore when they could not keep up with the trend of getting Instagram perfect selfies, it weighed much on the way they perceived themselves. The downside to this is surfing through about four or five media platforms and being rejected by all of them, it definitely births low self-esteem and that is not ideal for kids.

2. Superficiality
There is a saying that no one should believe everything they see on the internet. The media is extremely superficial and for a lot of teens, this is mind bugging. Hence the struggle to achieve perfection when their whole lives are in shambles. Most people on social media are living a lie and it is unfortunate because young people do not know this. When young people see the trends, they try to imitate and subsequently realize their failure. The need to stay pretty and happy always for the camera isn’t a life some kids want to live.

3. Health and Wellness
Believe it or not, kids have been taught how the media affects their health and they care enough to decide on quitting social media. Social media can cause depression or reduce self-awareness. A lot of screen time can also damage eyesight in the long run where it is consistent. It can also cause mental stress and anxiety and this is not healthy for kids. A recent study examining the validity of Instagram health and wellness posts, discovered that only a slim percentage (roughly 7%) of what influencers suggested or documented was either true (they don't walk the talk or are all about a sponsored plug) or even worst, dangerously inaccurate or simply wrong and lacking from a medical or nutritional stance. Also, the mixed message of being the life of the party and then being a cross-fit pilates vegan ninja lead younger women and girls to try and emulate those often unhealthy and unsafe habits.

4. Social skills
With the media doing a lot of the connections and bringing people together, a lot of people loose basic social skills. They are unable to develop and maintain conversations face to face. Some young persons find this troubling and have decided to opt out so as to keep their sanity. They would prefer real conversations as opposed to online chat rooms.

5. Cyberbullying
This is one of the ills of social media that has terrifying effects. The media can be used to manipulate and bully. For kids, this is entirely not what they had signed up for. A lot of teenagers and young adults get personally humiliated on platforms from which they elicit their self worth from. This usually causes a massive crisis in the individuality and identity of these kids. When they are publicly bullied, they tend to cringe and make earth-moving decisions.

In Part 2, we'll look at more reasons why kids, particularly young women and girls are opting out of this method of being social and connection and explore how this exodus can actually push media organizations and even users to rethink the spaces they are creating. Perhaps by deactivating accounts, our youngest generation is leading the path with a bold statement of intentional silence.