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Given the significant unhappiness prevalent before the Internet, can it really be to blame

Discussion in 'Education news' started by BigFrankEM, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Established commenter

  2. Kamit

    Kamit New commenter

    Whilst I wasn't bullied regularly at school (pre-internet days) there were days and weeks where I was picked on. Back then I was able to go home, shut the door and within a day or two it would all be forgotten about.
    Now everything is documented forever. The victim might be at home but the Facebook, twitter, Whatsapp chats are being recorded forever.
    I would suggest that the amount of physical violence has decreased markedly since my school days but the psychological side has been scaled up massively.
  3. indusant

    indusant Senior commenter

    Whilst I don't think it's entirely to blame, I do think the internet and social media do play a part in feelings of unhappiness. Facebook and the like are so engrained in modern culture now that it's often viewed as 'odd' if a young person is not on one. I think it also links in with the 'me' culture prevalent in the USA and the pressure there is to promote an exaggerated version of yourself. There is also greater scope for anonymity on these sites and we all know that people (particularly children) can be very nasty from behind a veil. Of course, being a teenager is an emotionally turbulent time even without all of these pressures.

    I also think that social 'networking' encourages people to want to stand out, which encourages competition. Teenagers may compare their lives with their peers and feel that they come up short. Also, real life often does not match up to the overly positive version that people portray on social media sites. This also can lead to feelings of inadequacy. People often construct a fantasy on the internet that real life simply can not match.

    Perhaps the focus has shifted more in recent times from a sense of community (where everyone bonds over common interests) to 'networking' (individuals linking up, often in competition with each other). The latter leaves people more susceptible to bullying, loneliness etc which we see today. Further to this, too much use of the internet may increase feelings of isolation and loneliness as people would rather use those instead of interacting in real life. Whereas communities help people to fit in, 'networking' encourages people to 'stand out' by promoting their differences.

    I do find the internet and its effect on our psychological and 'spiritual' selves all very curious. It's interesting that today a lot of people are more concerned with the digital appearance of themselves, rather than their real life. They go through life as a kind of avatar 'replica'. But, I fear that this can never satisfy the deeper void that real connection (and being part of a community) help to fill.

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