The Social Media Effect On How We Communicate
I don't know about you, but in my youth, things were very different. We played outside, the neighborhood was alive with the sound of children, and our parents really didn't worry too much about where we were. For the record, I'm not a boomer. I'm in that grey area between Gen-X and Millennial. The so-called lost Xenial generation. We still had the same problems that kids do today, but in listening to my nephews spew raw emotions, I feel bad for the current Gen-Z. Their bullies aren't left outside when they get home. Social media follows them into their comfort zone.
Even worse, kids aren't taught to handle problems with anger anymore.
I know that sounds bad, but lets be honest, while logic and reason would be ideal, kids aren't developed enough to have these adult skills. Used to be, you dealt with a bully through fisticuffs, and when those few seconds of fighting was done, so was the dispute. Perhaps, without a proper and accepted avenue to traffic this anger, this might be why kids mental health is so important, but universally so ignored these days. Older generations dealt with problems physically, and now we're expecting them to do it emotionally.
I know, being OK with kids fighting is a very unpopular opinion. I've had this conversation a few times over the years, and yet I still feel the same way. It doesn't mean I wish my nephew would start beating down on his own villains, I just wish he had a way to reconcile his feelings. I think it would be good for him.
Logic and reason are things we develop as we grow into young adults. Expecting children to fast track these life skills on their own seems more cruel than a few seconds of fearful excitement and the possibility of a fat lip or black eye. The real issue I have with using words is the trickle-down effect it has had on people, and it's not limited to those coming of age. It is now ingrained in every generation from the youngest to the old. As a species, we seem to be moving emotionally backwards. Let me share with you another unpopular opinion.
We live in a world where real people create fake drama to gain false empathy from people they don't even know.
The world runs on impotent emotion, and I honestly believe social media is at the epicenter of the emotional shift.
Worse yet, in the +/-15 years social media has been an everyday destination, every generation seems to have picked up this trend to one extent or another. They start early. Kids crying foul because someone called them a name. What human alive can't remember that normal growing pain from their youth? But this trait is something we're no longer outgrowing.
Older kids now complain online only to receive messages of fake comfort instead of throwing hands and settling a dispute right then. It's a trend that allows teens sulk in their own manufactured pity. The more they complain, the worse they feel. Now, look around. Young adults feel cheated in life, and their fellow compatriots reward and concrete those feelings with self-loathing solidarity.
Even worse, adults now share their opinions on how things ought to be, right or wrong, there are hoards to corroborate those feelings. People well into their sixties and seventies are reaching out for a little emotional malarkey. They share things on facebook all the time about how they're the ones being martyred, and it isn't limited to any one sub-culture. Liberals, conservatives, christians, atheists, rich, poor, educated, non-educated... Everyone has a case of the bad feels and we've been conditioned as a people to have an expectation of a strangers warm but ultimately empty comfort to sooth our egos.
At the same time, it's getting worse every day. Don't like someones opinion? They're blocked. Don't like what this person said? Unfollow them. It's far too easy to lock ourselves away from different viewpoints, and it's not a good thing. We've become even shorter tempered and encouraged to sink into a pit of only similar minds. Perhaps that's why politics have gotten so derelict in the last few cycles, and the reason why people have become so vicious towards anyone that disagrees with them. Honestly, we have forgotten how to conduct civil conversation.
I'm not saying social media is to blame, they didn't start this idea that everyone deserves empty and false happiness... they merely gave us a platform to seek it out on.
So what's the answer? I don't know. I've been thinking about that for years. I don't think there is an answer, but I do know the more you cut differing opinions out, the less you'll be able to hear and accept them as opinions later.