October 29, 2021 – The Thirty-Eighth Official Friday Night BeerBlog
This is going to be the second week in a row that I’ve talked about social media. Last week it was all about how us seasoned life veterans needing to get with the social media program in order to be relevant to anyone younger than us. I’ve really been jumping into a lot of functions of what is available at our fingertips. And it can be fun! There are so many people out there that we can connect with. People outside our norms. Different jobs, different viewpoints, different things that important to them. It’s amazing.
The Other Shoe Falls
But. And that is a big but. People my age are pretty much immune against the pressures of social media, of anonymous comments, of knowing what’s real and what’s not. Everything that has a good side normally has a bad side. And the bad side of all of this social media is that it can be used for nefarious reasons. Usually to make money, but sometimes for worse.
I was at a bike race with Pickle last weekend when I heard a most disturbing story of how the nephew of a friend of mine took his own life after being pressured to do it over social media. It is totally unfathomable that this could happen. Then I’m watching an episode of 60 Minutes and the Facebook Whistleblower is talking about how Facebook knew that the Instagram app was making teenage girls feel worse about their bodies. According to her, internal documents stated that 32% of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, that Instagram made them feel worse.
We Didn’t Know How Good We Had It
Instagram. This app that I’ve started to really enjoy this week. It seems crazy, but I admit I’m out of touch. When I was a teenager all we could do was talk on the telephone, which I didn’t do much anyway. We didn’t see photos of parties we weren’t invited to. We didn’t have photoshop and filters and scrolls upon scrolls of pics of girls who were all so much prettier than we were. Nobody was sending us messages on SnapChat, Insta, Facebook or any other format telling us we should just go ahead and kill ourselves.
What the fuck? All these passive attacks. Bullying and shaming isn’t being done on the playground or outside the side door of the school anymore. It’s coming from everywhere and from people we don’t even know. Let me warn you now, don’t read articles about how Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, made like 7 Billion dollars between July and September, but can’t get a handle on the issues its formats are experiencing. It would probably make you very, very sad.
The Future Isn’t Going Anywhere – Time For A New Plan
Don’t get me wrong. The capabilities we have now are amazing and they aren’t going anywhere. And obviously we need to hold them more accountable to police their money-making machine. But I think as individuals we have an even bigger responsibility to our young people.
Do you have a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grands that are getting into the social media thing? I believe it is up to us to monitor what is happening online. It’s up to us to flood the scrolls with positive messages. But I think most important, it’s up to us to talk incessantly to our young people. To communicate and give them the mental strength to know they are enough, no matter what jenny615 says. (And that is made up, I have no idea if there is such a user.) They need to know that they are perfect just as they are. To see through all the fake and not get drawn into the black hole of the comparison scroll.
Preach it. Live it. Remind them. Communicate about what they are seeing. Ask them questions about how they are feeling about it. Suggest social media breaks. Keep them active. And give lots and lots of hugs.
Wishing you good and safe social media.
Mel Robbins update: Speaking of social media, I watched Mel on a live and commented and I got a response. We’re making headway. At least in my head we are.
Link to the Friday Night BeerBlog Podcast: