This probably isn’t the first time you’ve seen this video. About a month ago, it went viral and appeared in news feeds, emails, and texts; everyone was promoting the idea of putting our phones down and taking a step back. So, how does this relate to mental health?
It begins within the first few lines of the video in which he states, “I have 422 friends, yet I am lonely.” Social anxiety has an entirely new dimension in this day and age, where people can hide behind social networking sites instead of engaging in physical elements with one another. Adolescents of this generation face stress that their parents didn’t experience at their age. Now, there are a million ways to be excluded, a million ways to measure your “worth”. How many likes did that get? How many compliments did people comment? How many followers do I have on instagram? How many friends on Facebook? How many people retweeted me today? Instead of enjoying the world around us for what it is, we are inevitably swept up in the opinion of everyone else. Likes on an instagram picture justify whether or not you’re having fun. Likes on a Facebook profile picture instantly rank how many people like you, how attractive you are, how many friends you have.
The “Look Up” video has a great message to look past these devices. While useful and fun, they inevitably breed insecurities. Now, to be clear, banning oneself from these social media outlets may be a bit extreme. A healthy social life isn’t forcing yourself off the internet; it’s knowing what priority to give social media in your life.
Online bullying is a relatively new phenomenon that has allowed bullies to continue to terrorize their victims past the walls of a schoolyard and into their homes. This vast connection of people over Facebook, instagram, twitter, and so on can be such a good thing, and yet we have to remain aware of the consequences. Adolescents today face new stress, new outlets to contribute to depression, and perhaps more prevalent anxiety.
If you or a loved one experiences these feelings, contact us to make an appointment. With individual and group therapy options, there’s something for everyone. We’d love to hear from you!