Finding the balance of social media

Published 8:20 am Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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When most of you reading this newspaper were younger, you couldn’t fathom a day when we could open our cell phones and have news at our fingertips in a matter of seconds.

But that is exactly what has happened with the growth of social over the last 20 years, especially more recently with the addition of social media apps to our phones in the last 10 years.

The social media age is here, and it is here to stay. Whether we love it or hate it, it is now a part of who we are on a daily basis.

For many of us, we can’t sit on the couch without pulling out our phone and looking at the latest updates happening.

It’s a fad that consumes our daily lives, but at times it can provide good.

That said, there is such a fine line to using social media the right way that has been blurred for quite some time.

It gives people some sort of unwanted power to think they can make whatever comment they want to without any consequences. It leads to some showing the worst in themselves when commenting on different posts or photos.

But specifically for the younger generation. From the time they were born, their lives have been lived on social media whether through their family or eventually through their own social media sites.

It leads to wanting to look and act a certain way to appeal to your peers even if it means not being yourself.

That has particularly become the case lately with more visualized social media outlets such as Instagram and TikTok where they are completely photo/video driven.

Getting the most likes and views is the sought after goal.

That has led to some tricky situations, including a recent TikTok challenge called “Devious Licks.”

The challenge shows students vandalizing bathrooms and equipment in schools and posting it to the social media site, which has led to Shelby County Schools issuing a system-wide message warning parents about the challenge.

It’s part of a list that includes different challenges throughout the school year with a new challenge each month. The next challenge includes smacking a staff member, while others become more criminally negligent, including exposure of body parts and jabbing a breast.

That hardly seems like the goal of what we were after when social media first started, and it seems like we get more and more stupid as time passes with some of the nonsense we come up with on these platforms.

Whether the rest of the list is real or not, it wouldn’t be surprising, and therein lies the problem.

Social media still has more benefits than we know what to do with, but just using common sense and maybe a little bit of courtesy while using them would be better than what we are doing now.