If social media was to end this very second with absolutely no warning, would you be okay?
That is the question that every person who has a social media account should ask themselves. Have you ever wanted to take a break from your phone but found it difficult? Was the urgency to check your social media too great? According to a recent report by Statista, “About 3.96 billion people use social media, spending an average of 144 minutes on it every day.”
With social media, people often use it to stay connected to their family and friends whom they don’t see every day. Social media has helped many people find jobs and to be seen by people all over the world. What about the side of social media that doesn’t get talked about often, such as the people who are battling depression? What about the people who feel as though they have failed in life because they can’t compete with the lives they think people are living online? Social media also has its dark side with cyber-bullying, social comparison, and everyday trauma captured on video.
Trauma on Social Media
There are no words to describe how I felt during my junior year in High School when I saw the video of Oscar Grant posted online for the first time. Oscar Grant was the first unarmed black man to be murdered by law enforcement and have it captured by bystander’s cell phones. Since Oscar Grant’s murder, there have been many black men and women’s murders captured on camera and posted on social media, which has caused black people to experience trauma.
There is nowhere to hide from trauma when you’re a black person living in a world where you feel everyone is against you. According to an article on Fastcompany.com The more time we spend online, the higher the risk of depression because of the police murders and racist comments on social media.
Black trauma on social media has been a problem for years, but the pandemic has caused more harm to black people on social media more than ever before. Forced to be home came with more scrolling past heartbreaking videos of violence and death. In 2020, during the George Floyd murder, memes appeared online mocking his death. Different companies faced backlash for having insensitive media campaigns. For example, the NFL faced backlash when they put out a statement expressing their feelings towards George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but it wasn’t well received because of how the NFL treated Colin Kaepernick when he took a stand against racism.
Escaping the video and images of people that look like you can be nearly impossible, especially since we live in a world where online users can keep posting and re-sharing the images as the news updates the stories. With black seeing black people repeatedly dying on social media, I believe we need more breaks because it can cause you to feel exhausted and depressed.
TAKING A STEP BACK
We must use social media to have a positive impact on our health. We must be conscious of how we are using it every day. That means understanding when it’s time for us to walk away and take a break. We need to remember that social media isn’t the real world but can affect us like it is. Social media should be a place where we go to make connections with people and stay aware of what’s going on in the world. If your timeline is filled with negativity and death, then it’s time to step back and rethink your life because you don’t want the things you see on social media affecting your actual life.