Teenagers social media mindset

It isn’t worth trying to change the world, it is enough not letting the world change you

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Growing up is a hard thing to do. Having a younger sister, makes me remember and realise the effort it takes as a teenager not to crumble under social and media pressures. Society has this ideal of perfection which is pushed upon us through television, magazines, marketing and pop stars. It’s a wonder women and men are able to even surface the light of day to show our weary faces?

Fortunately I have a wonderful teenage sister, she suffers from the odd insecurity and self-doubt that surrounds all teens, having arguments in school, being ignored and rejected by your peers at some level. Maybe she doesn’t think the latest boy is cute or want to engage in the general silliness of teenagers, she is very sensible, but I think  growing up with 3 older sisters has given her better coping skills better than most. We constantly remind her how important, beautiful and special she is. She knows that in life there is more important things than what lipstick you wear to school or what boy notices you in science. Obviously on some level she does care but she concentrates on her future mainly. She focuses on achieving her grades to be better. I think coming from a single parent family she has the ethos from my mum and us, her sisters that you have to work hard In life to get the job you love, enjoy and can earn good money in.

Often, she says that she doesn’t feel pretty and I can’t help blame Instagram, Facebook and the media for this lack of self belief. I have Instagram myself but I think growing up in an era without it, it wasn’t part of my social development, so I didn’t base my self worth around how many likes or dislikes I received from social platforms. Teenagers these days grow up with social media, therefore it is impacting their psychosocial development. Now more than ever, youngsters become reliant on self-esteem boosts from Instagram and Facebook to fund their self-worth.
Self-worth should be taught from a loving family unit where they instil the idea of beauty as a multi faceted ideal. This ideal is one that incorporates good manners and treating people politely and learning that the world is filled with people of different creeds, looks and demeanors. They learn that people do not deserve to be judged soley by the way they appear. Judgement happens quickly. I’m as guilty as the next at judging too quickly, but we should be trying harder to teach our teens who live in a world of validation through virtual products, that self-development and beauty is all but skin deep.

We all have worries. I dye my hair and take enjoyment in dressing up to look nice, but over the years I’ve learnt that I can’t get happy by looking for validation from others. I just wish teenagers would learn this too.

Social media should be taken out of kids hands and only introduced later in their development. How can we do that now, when the world is all about trending on Twitter and who gets the most likes on Facebook? We are all guilty so how can we break the cycle of our teenagers basing beauty on the amount of likes they get on their current Instagram photo.

Let us all take a moment and remember that beauty is skin deep.

Are you a grown up?

It appears I have come to the point in my life when I can no longer wistfully look into the endless tunnel of youth – e.g. the future and say ‘when I grow up’. It appears even at my youthful age of 26 I have reached the point where it just looks a bit lazy  to have not already at least made headway on my ambitions. It appears to me more than ever the world classes me as a fully fledged grown up, when did that happen? Why god why! Am I to leave behind my childhood, adolescence even my early twenties and move forward to be this mature adult society is expecting. Am I really prepared to be a grown up? Does growing up mean I have to grow up?

. . . cough . . . splutter . . . REALLY?

Currently I am playing diner dash on my pc and making to do lists and updating my twitter feed to let everyone know that the cheese sandwich I ate earlier was particularly tasty! Everyone needs to know that vital information, in my world it’s important! Even now as I glance at my Facebook thread it appears yes, it’s true,  people are actually growing up, I’m not sure I like it!!!!

So growing up, what does growing up mean? Who defines what makes a grown up? Just the little two words ‘grown-up’ make me  feel the need to start wearing midi length skirts, that look somewhat like my nans wallpaper and start making trips to the hairdresser to make my barnet more ‘manageable. Don’t grown up people buy bleach and contemplate color themes to decorate the many rooms of their house they have so wisely invested in. Not like me who contemplates between the latest pair of Kurt Geiger shoes, while telling myself it’s totally rational to forfeit eating next week as they look totally fab on my feet. Bleach is probably cheaper I hear you say, mutlipurpose, how very grown up of you!

The thing I have noticed most recently, making me contemplate the whole being a grown up is that on my Facebook feed there appears to be frequent announcements about engagements, wedding nuptials and baby births, baby birthdays, first smiles, first crawl and first farts and all caught on camera. Really my Facebook feed feels like the local newspaper announcements section! All these milestones in life that people are happily reaching is making me wonder, am I 26 and not grown up enough? Am I lagging behind? I have a steady boyfriend, 4 yrs steady, pat on the back. I don’t live with him and we’re not engaged and there is defo no baby, are people going to fast or am I going too slow?

So question 1, there might not be another question, but lets answer my first anyway; Whats the rush!?!

What’s is the rush everyone seems to be in? If I see another child smiling on my Facebook I may have to disown you as my friend, isn’t looking at kids online illegal anyway. Just a thought, I almost feel wrong looking, it’s like being near a playground when you don’t have a child and trying not to look like you’re a pedophile when everyone clearly thinks you are!

I’m still 26, the right side of 30.. phew

I was watching ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ the other day, I haven’t had a tv in 2 yrs and living with my friend for 3 weeks I think I gorged on enough reality tv to make my eyes rot! Keeping up with the Kardashians was a close second, good times! Anyway this couple on the show had met, moved in together, got engaged, planned a wedding, had to cancel that one due to family issues and then came on the show to re-plan another wedding to live happily ever after . . .  they had been together just over a year and lived together 3 months! not judging, I have my non judgemental face on. All I am saying is a year is fast-moving to meet, move in and get engaged, sometimes it takes me longer to get out of the bed in the morning!!! I know people look sappy eyed at each other, hands clasped and say, ‘well you know when you know’ but really? maybe it’s fair enough but really as u dreamily look at each other across your pasta carbonara, choosing your first wedding song and the frosting on your cake (no fruit cake please)  do u really think you may feel the same after months of sniffing his pants to assess whether their ready for the laundry, do  u really feel your feel quite the same level of devotion?

On a more serious and grown-up note, in a society where divorce rates are on the rise, is it not time for people to chill out, get to know other, not just wink wink, bobs your uncle, wham bam thank you mam . . .

I know you’re probably thinking well if we go at your rate we’ll nearly be middle-aged by the time we move in, tie the knot and get knocked up! But I can honestly say waiting to live with my bf is the best thing, honest. We’ve been together 4 yrs and we have the rest of our lives together, we don’t need to rush, we still have that excited feeling of next seeing each other and really appreciate the time spent together and I know when I live with him I’ll appreciate it even more, and even if have to sniff his pants (which I won’t) there will be a million other reasons why I still want to be with him. I won’t have spent 6 months dating him, then move in together and tie our lives completely together then realize he is a lazy sloth, who pees on the toilet seat and can only manage to boil an egg who I want to punch in the face.

Everyone is different, that’s what makes the world go round, but just because you feel life is telling you you’re a grown up now, time to grow up doesn’t mean you have to listen to life. Who is life anyway? What right does life have to tell you what to do? Life is yours for the taking, Life is your BITCH, so make of it what you will. So once I have had my fill of cocktails, hangovers, Caribbean holidays and self-indulgent fun, when I start to contemplate baby’s scans with admiration instead of fear , and nappy buying doesn’t seem like stepping into a minefield maybe then, just maybe then I’ll welcome that phase of my life with open arms!

But I definitely won’t feel like a grown up! I am sure ice caps will melt before I do!

Can I hear you say ‘Ditto’

Is The Digital Age Taking Over Your Life……

The Digital age is truly in swing now more than it ever was. The Digital revolution is what happened many years ago, everyone threw away the writing instruments to embrace the new digital culture. Tv’s, computers and tablets dominate many households and without them life would be exceedingly different! Digital media has a huge impact on our lives and we think it’s normal, these days it’s normal to spend 8 hours facing a computer, it’s normal to Facebook chat a friend on the other side of the room. Digital media is so integrated into our lives and we are so immersed into it we’ve lost certain aspects of social interaction that are vital and important and we have become dependant on it.

As as designer I am very keen on digital media and what it has to offer but I am slowly coming to the conclusion that digital media is a double-edged sword, it’s something that I rely heavily on and without it I would most likely lose 50% of my functionality and I don’t like this dawning realisation. Taking a closer look into the way digital media and technology affects our lives I have also found it is for many people a tool used to hide behind, something that is striping away aspects of our personality. I rely on my computer to give me access to the WWC (world-wide consortium) so I can contact friends, email for jobs, job search, look up old friends, do my shopping, book appointments for dinner, book tickets for events and remember people’s birthday’s! I no longer need to go out of my front door to do things, is this a good thing?

“Our life is made up of events

that lead to our story”

People use mobile platforms nowadays to communicate with people constantly through bbm, Skype, Facebook, now I am not saying this is a bad thing as the way technology have advanced so we can stay in touch with friends who have moved country or video call people on the other side of the world is an amazing feat but what I have a problem with is when people use these devices to dump people, attack people, villianize people and ask people out. How did we get to a state where face to face interaction is less valued, where people prefer to end a relationship through a text. This is where I think digital media is affecting us to a level that is unacceptable, are you aware that digital media is stealing your moments in life that will define you, or could change you. If you dump someone by text you are in essence acting a coward, you are using your mobile as a shield so you don’t get the shit that will hit the fan. Imagine if you didn’t use a mobile phone to send a text to dump someone, it would be a whole different experience, maybe not a great experience but one you are letting the digital age steal from you. Our life is made up of events that lead to our story, our personalities are made up of events that happen to us. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger as they say, everything in life is character building, by losing this social interaction to digital media you are losing the chance to build upon your character.

Another thing that I have personally experienced is the friendship fall out through Facebook. To me the idea is absurd, why would you want to discuss issues that affect your friendship through Facebook not face to face? By doing this it devalues your friendship instantly, if someone cared enough wouldn’t they do this in person? Wouldn’t they have the gumption to come to your face to air their grievances? Friendship is about being able to tell your friends your thoughts in person. By using Facebook or email to berated a friend you have issues with you can end up saying things you wouldn’t normally say or even mean as hiding behind this media gives you a fake confidence in your self, things will come across not as intended as email doesn’t have a personality! It may have smily faces and winks but email doesn’t get across what you mean in jest, what you mean in all seriousness, it doesn’t have a voice, email is robotic. People can read an email and take something in a way that was never intended as in email it’s just words, that’s all, which the reader will interpret the way you say it themselves, is that really a good thing? This is where miss communication happens.

I am all for media but just ask yourselves, how much does it affect your life? How much is it keeping you away from having more banter with your friends or more time with your family as spending hours at a time on a computer can be very lonely! How much is too much?

I say to you, take back the power, start speaking to friends and family face to face when times are tough, speak to the bf face to face when you know you must have that argument you know you hate. STOP hiding and come out and let your story unfold, don’t just sit behind a computer and let your life take turns you didn’t intend because an email was taken wrongly or you sent an email that cannot be retrieved.

Reclaim your voice.