Social media, smartphones and all of our electronic devices are now fully integrated into our life. It keeps us out of reality, by changing and challenging our social relationships day after day.
Sometimes I feel like I’m losing faith in humanity. I am a millennial, I belong to a generation that grew up with the Internet . Thus, I saw the development of smartphones and social networks. I saw the place of social media growing in the life of more than 1 billion users worldwide (Zendo,2012). The addiction is becoming unbelievable. According to a report from IDC Research, « 4 out of 5 smartphone owners check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up and among these people, nearly 80% reach for their phone before doing anything else »( IDC research, 2013) which literally means that people choose to be connected with the world before actually being connected with what surround them physically.In a globalized world where our phone is our new best friend the first thing we see in the morning and the last before going to bed, what is the future for the actual social relation ? is it threatened or simply modified by our changing environment ?
Social media is powerful. It completely changes human relations by creating a new form of exchange around the world that are happening faster than ever; creating this sense of being connected. The idea in itself seems very encouraging. It is a place where people have the power; a virtual community in which you express yourself you share what you think, what you feel , emotion and opinion. It gives us the opportunity to play our role as a more active citizen. The example of Arab spring gave hope, when traditional media were under the orders of governments, new technologies have enabled the popular masses to protest, organize, inform and consolidate their actions ( Mirande,2012). Unfortunately this is not enough.Social media is a double-edged sword that can become dangerous when people don’t know how to use it wisely.
The exhibition of intimacy in a place where its users share a lot of information about themselves can rapidly become out of control. When someone’s life is summarize on a wall make them a more appealing target to judgment, which may to lead to dramatic situation professionally or personally with scam or pedophilia. Bullying is one of them. Online this phenomenon called Cyber harassment is harsh. The distance between stalker and victim make the harassment on the Web more violent that what could happens in the real life. Obviously some people feel much more brave while sitting behind a screen specially when the post is anonymous.”The victims of bullying reported feelings of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation “( Dorothy L. Espelage,2013). I’m furious to see that every year 7% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying (stopbullying website); furious to see that hundred of them will commit suicide to stop their pain; to see that young adult Just out of childhood be pushed to make such terrible decisions. My heart mourns this kid , my head hate the one who forced them to give up, and I despise even more the one who remain silent by watching people being abused. This same one that think being just witnessing but are as guilty And will bear this burden all their lives.I feel responsible by being such an active user of this media. For this reason I try to remove my social networks; a desperate boycott As if I no longer wanted to be part of an industry of hypocrisies that were not in line with my ideas. The problem is that I just couldn’t. I couldn’t talk to my family and friend in France, I didn’t know the latest events or news happening around me, even My university group work is on Facebook. By deleting my social media I felt excluded from the rest of the world. At this moment I realize that I was dependent. It influences the way we live. We think we have the control but we don’t. We are slave of it and addicted to a certain extent.
Stromae a Belgian artist in his song Carmen denounce it. He criticizes the emptiness of Twitter which tends to summarize an individual to his number of followers. They digest our personalities to spit out a single thought. Paradoxically, this video which is supposed to sensitize people with the use of social media, was posted on youtube on of the most influential one. Sherry Turkels in her Ted talk analyzes this social phenomenon. This technological advance is supposed to facilitate our life, but complicates even more our human relations. She talk about being Alone together: technology which is supposed to brings us closer end up isolates us more than ever. I do not think that social networking is a problem in itself, but just that it highlights representation of an individualist society grows in the extreme between selfies, vanity and narcissism.
Lola-Iris Kadri/ Dubai campus
- Espelage, D. and Holt, M. (2013). Suicidal Ideation and School Bullying Experiences After Controlling for Depression and Delinquency. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), pp.S27-S31.
- Julie Mirande. (2012). Le rôle des réseaux sociaux dans la Révolution Arabe. [online] Available at: http://juliemirande.com/le-role-des-reseaux-sociaux-dans-la-revolution-arabe/
- Newsweek. (2016). How Cyber Mobs and Trolls Have Ruined the Internet—and Destroyed Lives. [online] Available at: http://europe.newsweek.com/internet-and-golden-age-bully-271800?rm=eu
- Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone. 1st ed. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Stopbullying.gov. (2016). What is Cyberbullying | StopBullying.gov. [online] Available at: https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/what-is-it/
- Turkle, S. (2014). Connected, but alone?. [online] Ted.com. Available at: https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together
- Walker, C., sockman, B. and Kahn, S. (2011). An Exploratory Study of Cyberbullying with Undergraduate University Students. TechTrends, 55(2), pp.31-38.
- YouTube. (2015). Stromae – carmen. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKftOH54iNU
- Zeendo.com. (2012). How Many People use Smartphones in the World. [online] Available at: http://zeendo.com/info/how-many-people-use-smartphones-in-the-world/