The Children of Social Media: Do They Abuse Us or Do We Abuse Them

I’m actually supposed to be studying right now (midterms), but I stumbled upon a very captivating quote.  I don’t know if you have heard of a website called Zen Pencils , but if you haven’t I urge you to check it out (I will be posting the link below).  It’s basically a website in which inspiring quotes are drawn into a page-length of comics.  I subscribed to the mailing list last week so I’ve gotten two free poster files already; both are quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Anyways, I saw a Facebook friend repost a link to a ZP comic and the topic was on our being the “children of social media”.

As a youth, I can personally testify to how redundant this topic is.  I’m not saying that I have grown tired of the constant reminder that social media is a privilege and not a right, but sometimes I fear that that is what is getting across other youth, and they have chosen to let it fly over their heads.  I mean, how many times do you see people, not even youth anymore, go to restaurants or the mall with either their partner or a family and yet they’re on their phone/ iPad/ etc.?  I don’t view technological advances as a curse, but rather the human tendency to overemphasize the presence of material things.

But even as I am saying these things, I am guilty of it as well.  Lately, I’m finding that I spend more and more time on the computer, granted that I actually use it more for homework and projects which I have been getting a handful of.  However, I could still recognize the distance      between my family and I; something of my own doing. Whenever my younger sibling would ask me a question, my initial habit is to tell him I’m busy, which is frankly a dumb play on my part.  We are entitled to acknowledge the presence of fellow human beings; the iPhones and the Galaxies don’t rely on our love for them to survive. But we do. Sadly, we still struggle to comprehend the importance of showing our love for other people rather than possessions.

There was one part in the comic that struck me the most: “Twitter and Facebook are my techno-parents, sating the child in me; but they are not beyond abusing him.”   Although I feel that Marc Maron, the guy from which the quote originated, is merely using the metaphor of depicting social media as “abusive parents” to show the slavery we, the social media generation, are under the oppression of, I couldn’t help but argue with this point.  We are not oppressed by self-thinking and conscious technological advances, but rather we have not learned how to control our own pride and ambition.

We have one ambition as individuals: to feel acknowledged.

But we often picture recognition in a variety of ways: having more than 200 followers on Instagram, getting more than 80 likes on a Facebook post, and many other things we associate our self-esteem with. We spend countless hours in a week on Twitter (or other social networking sites); choking the poor phone or device and disturbing the digital neighborhood in our ambitious attempt to be noticed. We abuse the helpless things because of our own insecurities; because we are too selfish.

And you know the irony of it all? We think we’re deprived of love.

But maybe that’s because we don’t know the exact meaning of love.

It is the act of giving ourselves for one another without asking for any compensation. Love is a mom working night and day, working two jobs, just to put her children to school and have a better life than she has.  Love is choosing to forgive and not hold a grudge. Though there are many different meanings of true love, contrary to popular belief of fairytales and or physical pleasure, there is one that I think the human race needs to apply more onto daily life: love is meant to be shared. You don’t choose who, what, where, when, or why. You freely give it; no strings attached.

This conflict is not something brought by the wave of social media and globalization, however its growth has been influenced by it. But it is important to realize that we have the ability to limit ourselves in consumption of material things and time on our gadgets.  And we need to spend more time with the people in front of us. To twist what Billy Ray Cyrus said in an episode of Hannah Montana, “[People] are only here for a season”.  Make it a season of love! (I’m going all out on this wagon of sappiness)

Speaking of season of love, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays; filled with love and (true) happiness.

And remember: love isn’t found on Twitter and holiday deals (not to mention, Boxing Day rollbacks), but rather in the spirit of giving!


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