- Some of the social media behemoths have assumed the role of no less than the nation-states themselves in the virtual world where billions follow the trend of what is increasingly being viewed as an inescapable phenomenon. Fear of being left out is driving droves to associate with one or the other of the several prominent social media platforms out there. Call it peer pressure or ego massage, none of the present generations would want to stay away from the ubiquitous mediums that have been established by now ruling the roost with panache. The pandemic-induced restrictions substantially allowed the opening of a hitherto unknown world of virtual reality delivering everything one wishes without leaving the comforts of home.
PC: Joe Bardi
- Such has been the impact of the online world on the global community. Of course, anything and everything related to the online world cannot be termed as holy and welcoming for the darker side lurking within the realm is as harmful and devastating as in real-world happenings. As the saying goes, anything in excess is damaging is equally applicable to the virtual world too which can leave one annihilated in the event of letting our guard down. Nonetheless, the big social media houses are constantly on the lookout for introducing novelty factors to attract an even bigger audience into their already formidable folds.
- One such move is being contemplated by Facebook which plans to introduce Instagram Kids targeting young teenagers. After a big backlash, it is understood the Facebook has put its plans on hold as internal research found that the photo-sharing site was toxic for teen girls. It is widely acknowledged that Instagram makes women and girls feel worse about themselves, presenting a prettified, highly filtered version of reality. The beauty of any platform is it can be used for a variety of purposes by utilizing the available tech platforms and algorithms to actively mould our preferences.
PC: Farhan Shaikh
- Studies have shown that Instagram did skew towards scantily clad influencers which can be disproportionately hard on women who are programmed to equate looks with social worth. Needless to mention, women are culturally pressured to look attractive, inundated with images of idealised body parts, rather than seeing themselves as a whole and well-rounded humans. Most disconcertingly, young girls whose sense of self is only being formed now will end up thinking that the world’s gaze on them matters more than their gaze outwards on the world. Note that this insecurity is not natural but created and sustained by the prevailing culture including social media platforms.
- Of course, Instagram has not aborted its project as it plans to incorporate more safety features and parental controls. Nonetheless, it can’t afford to be perfunctory about this. Understandably, children today are growing up in visual culture, and there may be no inherent problem with their access to a photosharing site. Therefore, the onus is on the social media platforms to make sure they are alright and committed to the well-being of young teenagers who should be made to realize beauty is more than skin deep.