Plugged In

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2 min read

There is a clear connection between teen depression and social media. In fact, the teen suicide rate has gone up in the last two or three decades. Some experts believe that there has been a 50% increase among girls under the age of 17 and a 30% increase in boys the same age. Others say that the rates of both depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased 70% in the past 25 years. In the past three years, the amount of teenagers admitted into the hospital because of eating disorders has more than doubled too. Reality has been twisted and darkened by the constant surveillance and the subtle changes in behavior that come as a result of spending hours staring at our screens.

A lot of people still believe that the purpose of social media is to allow connectivity and inclusivity. That might have been the original plan, but have you stopped to consider that maybe it’s no longer about that? What if it has shifted to something completely different and dangerous?

Social media sites have intentionally designed their algorithms to cater to human pathology in its most extreme forms. That’s why many people feel discouraged with their own lives and hopeless about society in general after spending a few minutes scrolling through their newsfeed. Yet, they can’t seem to stop because there is a dopamine reward system in place.

Social media has twisted our perception of reality and conditioned us to unquestionably believe everything we read and see displayed on our screens.

One of the biggest problems with this is that there are no boundaries to our access. This trains the brain to find reward in visiting social media sites as a coping mechanism. That’s why people are constantly pulling their phones out just to check. Then there’s the other issue most people forget; social media is a business. The people who design the algorithms have to do so taking into account the main purpose.  This purpose is to grab and maintain people’s attention for as long as possible, and in so doing, make money.

This means that social media might be designed to intentionally provoke feelings of confrontation, resentment, hatred, anger, and aggression in order to keep people’s attention focused and engaged on their screens.

This documentary explores the hidden toxicity of social media use. Watch it now.