“It’s time we start living in the real world” – Katy Holdcroft suggests that although sharing and communicating through social media has its benefits, it shouldn’t control our lives as it currently does.

Images by Jason Howie

It may sound dramatic but social media is literally taking over our lives. There is this persistent urge to Facebook, tweet, Snapchat and Instagram our daily moves in an attempt to express our identity to the world and make ourselves feel valued. Unfortunately showing that in today’s day and age we have become obsessed with virtual reality.

'Can a ‘like’ really represent popularity and how others perceive you?'

All Facebook users have been there, the inevitable moment when we check our notifications and sigh in disappointment that we haven’t got enough likes on our profile picture, or frantically checked our Instagram notifications every two seconds in the hope we’ve received one more like on our latest photo update. Can a ‘like’ really represent popularity and how others perceive you?

One of the biggest problems is that social media has become so easily accessible, we are surrounded by technology on a daily basis allowing us to inform everyone of our current activities through the touch of a button; further deepening our obsession. We are glued to our screens 24/7 and cannot bear to tear ourselves away from our precious phones.

'Can we no longer enjoy family time without technology or social media being involved?'

It dawned on me how addicted we have become when I was out for dinner with my parents. I looked across the restaurant to see a family get together made up of mostly teenagers and younger children. For the entirety of this social gathering, they were completely hooked to their phones, besotted with what was happening online, consequently ignoring the perfectly acceptable plate of food in front of them (Because who’d favour a touch screen object over food? I certainly wouldn’t!). Can we no longer enjoy family time without technology or social media being involved?

'Social activities really are becoming less and less ‘social’ by the minute.'

It seems so odd that taking a selfie and desperately analysing which filter makes us look most attractive, is more important than actually spending time with others. Social activities really are becoming less and less ‘social’ by the minute. Social media merely gives us the opportunity to portray the reality we wish others to see. It’s time we stop spending so much time trying to make our lives look perfect and start focusing on living in the moment. Being continuously bombarded with everyone else’s life updates, only causes us to get jealous, excessively compare ourselves to others and ultimately over-evaluate our lives.

What worries me most is the impact that this is having on the younger generation. It would seem that in today’s society, greater online popularity supposedly makes you superior. Youths are growing up in a self-obsessed world, where if you do not live up to a certain expectation you are deemed inadequate. Thus, altering how they view themselves, promoting unnecessary self-criticism and having a profound effect on self-esteem. I have no idea how we’ve got to this point, where we are so immersed in a virtual existence, craving attention from people we barely speak to, because to be honest there are more important concerns in the world. This problem is only set to get worse as online activities become increasingly popular, unless we educate the young people of today.

I will certainly agree that social media can be a positive medium, especially as a way of connecting and sharing with family and friends, however when it begins to rule our lives and daily activities, that’s going one step too far. It’s sad to think this is what the world has come to, questioning is it really worth it?

Article by Katy Holdcroft