No time for thinking: social media does it for you

AFTER what is being dubbed as the biggest hacking controversy in recent years, the iCloud leak which has seen countless celebs’ private photos made available online is covering up the bigger picture that’s bubbling below social media and society’s online use.
Plenty of students are guilty of over-using social media and who can blame them, it often holds the same addictive properties of a can of Pringles, especially to younger people who will know no different to life with social media.
While social media has proven to be a huge step forward in terms of the delivery of news and people’s ability to keep up with their loved ones despite how far away they might be, it is driving communication skills into the ground and that is something to be more concerned about than the security on your browser’s internet history.
A study carried out by the University of Virginia revealed that men would rather administer electric shocks to themselves than spend time alone with their thoughts.
While it may seem humorous and anecdotal there is a good deal of truth to it — how often are you aware of a teen, child or young adult being free from a phone, tablet or computer when they have their own free time?
The plight to parents that is video games remains, however this is certainly the lesser of the two evils as it encourages mindful stimulation.
It benefits a person’s hand-eye coordination and encourages them to believe they are the character on screen and can encapsulate their thoughts and encourage creativity and wonder, much in the way a good film can.
What is most concerning about the medium of social media is that the deterioration of communication will incur a loss in leaders.
Whether intentionally or not, Facebook has become so popular by playing on people’s insecurity and encouraging them to seek the approval of their friends.
The ‘selfie’ phenomenon is a case in point. Selfies, which have exploded in recent times thanks to Snapchat, are the epitome of self-consciousness.
Nothing says desperation like angling a shot of yourself, getting the lighting right and ensuring that all hairs are in place for a photo that will last a maximum of 10 seconds on Snapchat.
While critical of the ‘selfie’ movement it has become a proven side of photography but not as it is commonly used.
Instead the selfie is adding a personal touch to scenery and far away lands as people incorporate the Ancient Pyramids with no less than your good friend Dave.
They can be comical but what they have done is freshen up the desperately dull holiday photographs.
Self-consciousness is no new phenomenon either, especially in young people and nor is sexting, however it is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor and prevent thanks to the wave of new media in which it can partake.
In 2013 the rate of teenage pregnancies in Ireland was at its lowest since 1963. The rate of teenage pregnancies now stands at 2.3%, meaning a mixture of people becoming more informed and the increased availability of contraception is helping.
The internet is great for many things, one of which is information. Much in the way almost every football fan is as accomplished as Mourinho thanks to the banks and banks of background information, there is a huge portion of the web dedicated to taboo-free chatter about sex and sexual health.
If Jennifer Lawrence’s most private pictures can be hacked, then so too can yours. While the leak has been carried out for financial gain, it has also acted as a wake-up call to the rest of us.

Michael Cogley

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