In the 21st century, the negative influence of social media is everywhere, all the time. Open any social media app, and after a few clicks between Instagram posts or a few minutes spent scrolling down the TikTok explore page, you have been exposed to the darkness of the world, but do you realize it?
Social media presence has grown significantly; I would hazard a guess that there is not a person in your life who does not use or has not used any form of any social media app. As the popularity of these apps grows, so does the content. One post may be about a cute puppy wearing rain boots in his first rain shower, and the next is about how prominent the kidnapping of little girls is in the United States. I see terrifying posts like these almost every day, and I forget how they used to affect me. My reaction changed from feeling my heartbeat racing, a frown forming on my forehead, and a slight sweat breaking free to just a slight shrug and movement in my thumb while I scrolled past the horrifying reports. Guidelines on social media apps are way too loose, and anyone can post anything, which leads to desensitization in the audience. Overexposure to unsettling news in media has created a desensitization pandemic.
Once upon a time, TikTok was a dancing app, and now every other post is a report on the deepest darkest events currently going on in the world. When these horrifying yet unsurprising reports are so casually displayed through a 30-second video or a slideshow post, it is not easy to understand the seriousness of the events. However, we have added to this pandemic by allowing younger generations to be addicted to technology. Children growing up with a device in their grasp for every second of the day watching baby sensory videos leads to young adults surfing the web and being sucked into the twists and turns of social media.
Wheaton College first-year student Kassidy-Mae Brooks displayed her concern for our generation’s desensitization level.
“Personally I am always on my phone, so much so that when I see a disturbing post I treat it no differently than I would a regular post. I used to think that my lack of reaction was due to the amount of time I spent looking at my screen. I might not have been actually processing the information that I was receiving, but rather the issue is that I am not reacting to it.”Kassidy-Mae Brooks
When a post contains harmful content, frequently, there is a warning message before viewers can actually see the post. Warning messages, while they may seem effective, are just a little speed bump in an otherwise completely flat road; all the user has to do is get rid of the message.
Messages like these are one step on the endless ladder leading to what we all hope will be the cure for desensitization. However, what we can all do in the meantime, while we let the big people up top figure it out, is get our news reports from actual providers.