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Did ‘Character’ get filed away under ‘Selfie’: Challenges for Millennials & Generation Z, By Jane McNeice

Posted by on 7 Dec, 2016 in Mental Health | 0 comments

Did ‘Character’ get filed away under ‘Selfie’: Challenges for Millennials & Generation Z, By Jane McNeice

We’re under little illusion that our young people of today are exposed to ever increasing challenges as they endure the usual quagmire that is adolescence. Only too readily to I recall my own and what seemed like huge issues – acne, boys, friendships, school – issues, which on reflection were relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. But nowadays our young people’s lives are played out and fastidiously mapped on social media, generating a story for themselves and others to see, for a long time!

While the merits and detriments of social media on our mental health and well-being are well documented, it’s clear that social media very much presents potential for personal harm to those who’s mental health may be poor in the first instance.

For time humans have used journals and diaries to document the life passage, but the social media and personal presentation afforded by today’s social platforms presents unprecedented potential tools for self-criticism, absorption, measurement, and falsity for all who use them, and ever more so for young people who may already be challenged by negative self-perceptions. Is it possible I wonder for a young person not to be drawn into the social media frenzy of ‘selfies’, likes, glorified hash tagging, and all that goes with? Possibly…if they live in a remote Wi-Fi free cave, or on the moon! Of course there are some who manage to avoid it.

For many young people, what is viewed as a pleasurable pass-time, can feed an already powerful and evident message that aesthetics, materials, and lifestyle are of greatest value, above all else. Is it possible that attributes such as character have fell by the wayside? Will today’s young people value integrity? Will it matter how they live their lives when no one is watching? What about truth, honesty, and authenticity in a world of filters, ‘selfies’ and censoring? Do kindness, thoughtfulness and consideration pervade imagery?

Fortunately social media is just one window to an individual. Maybe you don’t see someone often, or ever, only through the ‘rose tinted’ social media window, which gives a view only the view owner wants you to see. But stacked up to real life interaction – work, play, etc – there is only one true window. No filters, censors, edits (to the authentic that is). Then image presentation falls by the wayside somewhat, and the merits of people, which matter most, prevail. In reality, social media has the power that we bestow it. Some users give it more power than it deserves. Maybe it’s about the ways that people use social media, or the platform of choice? As with most things we can choose it’s affect on us by how much and how we use it. Maybe Millennials and Generation Z (or indeed any user) must merely be aware of this and keep social media and all that goes with it under healthy control.

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