Social Media & Youth – an intricate Relationship

Social Media & Youth

good evening everyone so today I’m here

to talk to you about the effects of the

Internet and in particular social media

on our generation and how it shaped our

generation in more ways than we realize

so let’s begin with a quick question how

many of you check your phone first thing

in the morning when you wake up yeah

it’s almost all of us for a majority of

us the first thing that we do every

the single morning after waking up is that

we check our phones and a lot of us

the last thing that we do before

sleeping at night is also to check our

phones in fact a survey showed that 77%

of the people between the ages of 18 and

24 reach out for their phones whenever

they have any free time and I’m

definitely one of them now I thought

what’s the big deal I mean yeah I use my

phone whenever I have time how harmful

can it be maybe it I spend a total of Social Media & Youth

around 35 40 50 minutes on it well just

to check I installed an app last week

which tracks my usage of the phone and

the results were quite frankly

astounding here take a look I spent an

an hour on Chrome browsing the web spent an

an hour on Whatsapp and 55 minutes on Snapchat

and 25 minutes on Instagram in one day

so a total of roughly three and a half

hours spent in just one day

those little tidbits of time and we

think we have free time and reusing our

phones they can actually add up to a

pretty big number and the results were

similar when I asked my friends to do a

the similar test we don’t even realize what

of what a big chunk of our day we spend

on our phones now how is this relevant

why am I even talking about this well

it’s because we’ve noticed a few

interesting phenomena associated with

smartphone usage we’ve noticed that the

the average attention span of a human being

has now gone down to nine seconds just 9

seconds and why is that well some say

it’s linked to a phenomenon called

instant gratification

or instant happiness and how does that

happen Social Media & Youth

well there’s a chemical called dopamine

that’s released in the brain whenever we

experience this instant burst of

happiness when here attacks on your

phone vibrates get a notification you

get a bit excited don’t you that

momentary happiness you’re excited to

see who it is a little curious

that’s dopamine being released in your

brain dopamine by the way is the exact

the same chemical that’s released when you

drink alcohol smoke a cigarette take

drugs gamble in other words it’s it

shows highly addictive behavior

and we’re seeing similar trends for

smartphone usage in fact half of the 18

to 24-year-olds said that they check

their phones in the middle of the night

a third of UK adults check their phones

within five minutes of waking up and

this addiction of ours we really didn’t

see it everywhere brilliant graphic

showing how we’ve evolved from apes to

smartphone addicts are another brilliant

brilliant piece of art what’s the point

of being afraid of a zombie apocalypse

when you’re already a zombie on your

phone the entire time and this addiction

is no coincidence it is no surprise

because of all of these apps Facebook

Snapchat and Instagram all have very

carefully tailored algorithms which

ensure that we are hooked to our phones

why because each minute that you spend

on these apps these companies make big

money through advertising and you don’t

have to believe me hear it from Sean

Parker Sean Parker is one of the earliest

investors of Facebook said this in an

an interview he said Facebook’s earliest

the mission was how do we consume as much of

your time and conscious attention as

possible he also said we were exploiting

the vulnerability of human psychology

just think about that just let that sink

in all these apps their purpose was

never to connect you to one another it

was only to make you addicted

to make money off your backs and we can

we can see it happening all everywhere

all around us, we’re all addicted we’re

all trapped and this effects our mental

health in ways that we just don’t

realize a report showed that social

media is linked with increased rates of

anxiety depression and poor sleep it

also said that the rates of anxiety and Social Media & Youth

depression has gone up by 70 percent in

the recent past seventy percent so

social media is linked to depression and

this isn’t honestly not that surprising

because social media is great at

providing that one thing that we all

love filters and only in just those

those pictures fill up filters for our

pictures no those cute Snapchat dog

filters that we send each other I mean

something a little deeper we filter our

very lives before projecting them to the

the world we show the happiest the best

versions of ourselves sometimes fake

versions of ourselves out on social

media we don’t put up stories of our set

of us cramming the day before the exam

having nervous breakdowns we don’t do

that we show to the world that we’re

having fun we’re having a great time our

life is perfect it’s sorted now imagine

you’re bored sitting in your room and

you decide to open Snapchat see what

what people are up to and all you see

all you see are just stories of people

having a great time enjoying their lives

with their boyfriend their girlfriend

their friends their family having fun

and it’s it might just be fake it might

not necessarily be true it might be

something like this hashtag selfie

hashtag good life on the left on the

right we see the reality so when you’re

sitting alone in your room watching

other people’s stories seeing them have

watching them have fun how will that

make you feel even more alone even more

depressed and we’ve seen this happen

high rates of anxiety high rates of

depression is largely linked to social


sometimes when all of this depression

and anxiety builds up in the most

extreme of cases and we’ve seen this

happen in the most extreme of cases can

build up and cause irreversible harm

irreversible damage in the form of

self-harm sometimes even suicide

cases just take a moment just to Social Media & Youth

think about it forget everything else

for just a moment and think about

yourself and your relationship with

these apps are it really any more

different than being addicted to a drug

how does the drug addiction even begin

in our teenage years a person

teenagers day they’re feeling a bit

emotionally distressed a little sad

which is completely normal happens to

all of us and they’re not getting enough

support from people so they try out a

cigarette a drug maybe some alcohol and

then they like it

why because dopamine is released and

then they start depending on it it

becomes an addiction now whenever

they’re depressed or sad next they don’t

turn to a person they turn to the bottle

– drugs – cigarettes and we see a

a similar trend in our generation with

regard to social media

whenever weird we’re distressed we don’t

turn to people anymore we don’t want to

have friends or families we turn to our

phone screens and it’s a cycle you’re a

bit emotionally too distressed maybe a

little bored you check your phone you

feel better start liking it get addicted

to it and what does phone addiction do

cause depression even more depression so

it’s a continuous vicious cycle and an

the extremely dangerous cycle that so many

of us are prone to now we just can’t

leave our phones alone for even one

the moment can we take a ride on the bus on

the tube any everywhere you go everyone

will be busy on their phones we don’t

have real-life conversations with each

other anymore we don’t strike up a

conversation with a stranger on a bus

unheard of because we’re all busy just

chatting away texting away doing

something or the other on our phones and

it’s all just in this country not just

in the UK not just in the Western world

I’ve seen the same thing happen in India

as well as where I’ve lived for most of my


it’s becoming a global trend you go for

a meal with your friends we’ll be busy

on the phones after time this addiction

of ours to our phones is driven by

numbers the number of likes and shares

comments view that we get on our

stories and on our posts these numbers

to just keep buzzing in our head at such

a fast speed no wonder our attention

spans are so low no wonder our patience

levels have just gone down it’s all way

too fast we’re trapped in this virtual

the world we care more about our Snapchat

streaks than we do about actual

face-to-face conversations with our

friends we’ve almost forgotten that

there exists a real world outside this

land of our smartphones next slide is

true for so many of us Wi-Fi went down

for a few minutes so I had to talk to my

family, they seem like nice people if the

the reality for so many of us now when we

repeatedly prioritize this instant

gratification giving apps over our

long-term goals are something like a tug of

war situation happens where on the one hand

we have our phones which give us instant

gratification and a highly addictive

dopamine rush and on the other hand we

have our long-term goals which require

patience consistency and discipline and

what do we choose almost always our

phones our priorities in life have just

changed completely and when we

continuously do that when we continually

choose our phones over our long term

goals which require work we come up with

something called

procrastination we’ve all gone through

it remember the time when you hide an

an entire month to do that essay but you

ended up doing it the night before the

the night before the deadline remember that

the time when you had an exam to prepare for

but instead, you were on Instagram

checking out what the Kardashians are up

these days you procrastinate it you

know the exact science behind

procrastination is incredibly complex

and I won’t be getting into that but in

In most cases, it’s fueled by the fact that

we’re addicted to our devices our phones

our iPads on our lap Social Media & Youth

tops watching random YouTube cat videos

Netflix series episode after episode

season after season without realizing

how much time we’re wasting prime example

I’ve known that I have to do this TEDx

talk for the past three weeks and

whenever I start working on it four days

ago on Saturday why because until then I

was busy watching season nine of friends

on Netflix, I was constantly choosing

instant gratification over something

that was productive something that

the required actual effort now I’ve given

you enough problems and clearly we need

solutions because our generation is a bunch

of smart talented self-aware

hard-working motivated individuals are

constantly falling prey to this cycle of

Internet and Inter and instant Social Media & Youth

gratification so we need solutions and I

don’t know whose fault it is maybe it’s

our parents who gave us unfettered

unlimited and unsupervised access to the

Internet and smartphones maybe it’s

these devices that watch which are just

made to make money off of our addictions

maybe it’s us for not realizing how our

smartphone addiction is affecting our

mental health but whoever’s fault it is

it is our generation’s responsibility to

find a solution China came up with the

solution China set up 250 internet

addiction treatment camps which are

basically a military-style boot camp

where they help teenagers get free of

their internet addiction looks like something

like this now that’s a bit too drastic

for my liking, I’m not suggesting

something as rigorous as military-style

rehab all I’m saying is that it just

recognizing this just understanding the

problem realizing in the different ways

in which smartphones can affect us is

the first step towards making a positive

change then spreading this awareness to

your friends your family to pip to

people you care about and the key thing

is moderation we need to be moderate

about our usage of our phones when you

go out on the public transport go out

for a meal with your

friends on the dinner table just keep

your phones away just don’t don’t have

them on you you won’t use them another

very important thing most of us keep our

phones by our bedside where something

like this happens at 12:00 we get a text

we see where it’s who we see which from

and we spend the next three hours just

texting all our friends and then the Social Media & Youth

next morning we wake up looking like a

zombie because we haven’t had enough

sleep so don’t keep your phone by our

bedside keep it in the kitchen keep it

in the living room keep it in the

bathroom for all I care just don’t keep

them by your bedside we need to

understand that this is a seriously big

the problem we need to free ourselves from

this addiction of smartphones that’s the

the only way in which we can ever even hope

of moving towards a better future we

need to free ourselves from the shackles

of our smartphones, I’m sure we can and I

hope that we will thank you 

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