Social Media? More Like Anti-Social Media For This Generation

Now I admit it, I am on my iPhone just as much as everyone else; I check Facebook almost every hour, I am constantly updating photos to my Instagram account, and I am always checking Twitter to see what my favorite celebrities are up to, but how much is this really helping my social skills? Sure, it is called social media for a reason. It helps you keep in touch with your family, friends, celebrity icons, and even your favorite department stores and brands, but what many people don’t think about, is how social media is ruining our generation.

Everywhere you look, someone is always on a phone. Take a look around you. Next time you are out to dinner with your family, walking to class, in your doctor’s waiting room, I guarantee you will see at least one person on a phone. This is what our generation has come to. No matter where you turn, someone is always on a phone.

This is affecting people’s social lives. People do not interact with others like they used to. Some people even use their mobile devices and social media as a form of comfort.

Dr. Michele Van Volkom, a lecturer of psychology, said, “Based on recent research conducted by myself and my co-authors, I cannot say just yet if our communication is ‘ruine,’ “but it had definitely changed.”

According to Dr. Anthony Curtis, a mass communication professor at the University of North Carolina, social media was first developed in 1969, but it did not start to affect people’s social skills until MySpace, which launched in 2003, and Facebook, which launched the following year. Both social media sites were a huge hit, especially with teenagers. MySpace started to die down once people started finding out about Facebook in 2008. Facebook took off, but this was only half of the problem.

Apple released the iPhone in 2007, which, according to Michelle Malsto, author of Eweek was the “dividing line in the history of mobile phones, separating all that led up to the iPhone from all that came after.”It is a big convenience for people especially since it has everything right there in front of them, including text messaging, a calendar, a calculator, email, a camera, the internet and of course the social media apps.

According to John Heggestuen, a Research Analyst at Buisness Insider, one in every five people in the world own a smartphone.

As described by a graph from “The Statista” website, which is referred to as the world’s largest statistic portal, 19.8 percent of Americans own an iPhone.

Although we all do not own an iPhone or Android, a majority of us atleast own a smart phone, and we know that with all of the social media apps available on smart phones, we can check Facebook or Twitter whenever and wherever we want. Because smart phones are so convenient, it is very easy for people to get distracted, which does not help our social skills.

Knowing how to have face-to-race relations is a huge skill needed for the future. We need to know how to interact with others in real life, and not just over social media, especially for interviews, to maintain relationships, even just to be a genuine person.

Because of sites like Facebook and Twitter, people are losing the in-person connection that one needs to have in order to maintain a personal relationship.

Dr. Van Volkom and her co-authors wrote in their upcoming paper, “Revisiting the digital divide: Generational differences in technology use in everyday life”: “when asking if they use technology to avoid talking with someone face-to-face, young adults were significantly more likely to use technology to avoid talking with someone face-to-dace than both middle aged adults and older adults, and middle aged adults were significantly more likely to report using technology to avoid talking with someone face-to-face than older adults. The problems are starting with our generation.

Several people look to social media as a form of comfort. Rather than interacting with their loved ones about a problem, some post it on Facebook or Twitter. Those who do so look for attention to make themselves feel better.

Looking at Facebook as a form of comfort is what is making our generation lose the ability to interact with others. Instead of venting to their parents or spouse, they post a Facebook status. They look to see how many people “like” the status as a sign of sympathy. Our generation is changing, and not in a good way.

Just recently, a JetBlue Flight filled with smoke after the starboard engine had blown. All of the passengers began to panic as they reached for the oxygen masks. One passenger, Scott Welch, after reaching for his oxygen mask, decided to do something different. Welch took a video of himself, and even made sure he got shot of a “smiling selfie.” This is the typical 2014 generation. This is the epitomy of what we have become.

Instead of just living in the moment, social media and “selfies” are always on our minds; even if it is in the midst of a disaster. Just like writer Alex Williams, of The New York Times, said, “To live the moment or record the moment? It’s becoming a defining dilemma of the iPhone age”.

I know social media is a trend that is going to be around for a long time, but just take a minute and think about how often you check your social media platforms. Do you check way more often than you should? Do you text while out with your loved ones? Do you talk to people on Facebook more than you talk to people in person?

Try and put the iPhone down and enjoy life a little more. Treasure the moments you get to spend with your family and your friends. Your phone can wait.

 Photo taken by Kelly Hughes