#WhySoSocial | Anxiety and Depression (Pt.1)

#WhySoSocial is a documentary series that looks at the forever growing trend of social media use amongst young people. In this three-part series, Nat Black-Heaven speaks to people that actively use social media, embrace it and live it to further understand its addictive nature.

Part 1 focuses on anxiety and depression amongst young people and their need to not feel ‘left out’ while using social media.

MORE TO WATCH

INSIGHTS & CHILL | DEATH AND DEPRESSION!

AT WHAT AGE SHOULD WE START ENGAGING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ANXIETY

LOVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

TRENDS AND SOCIAL STIGMAS

LIVING IN A DIGITAL CIRCLE

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION HAS TAKEN OVER

DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF A SOCIAL MEDIA RANKING?

FAKE PEOPLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

ARE YOU IN CONTROL OF YOUR PHONE OR IS YOUR PHONE IN CONTROL OF YOU?

SOCIAL MEDIA AND GENERATIONAL VALUES

INSIGHTS & CHILL | The education system is flawed!

The education system is flawed… Yes, I said it.

Where has the creativity gone? Did it even exist? Why do we not teach our young people to free think? Why isn’t this even a subject?

We live in a world of systematic judging. Judging that exposes the deep vulnerabilities of children. We have a high rate of depression and anxiety amongst young people in the western world and it’s not helped by the fact that our schools exploit the ‘less abled.’

When I was a child, I publicly got put into the lowest maths set in my year. I was devastated. Not only the fact that I felt like I was stupid and unable to learn but also because my teacher stood up in the front of the class to a bunch of 11 and 12-year-olds and read out my grade and the proceeded to say “Set C.”

I felt humiliated and I wanted to cry.

But who says just because you can memorise what a teacher has told you previously or what study books have told you that this means that you’re not clever enough? Even if this wasn’t explicitly said, this is how many young people are made out to feel… As if they’re not clever enough or good enough.

However, in the real world, it’s not like this. Yes, I wasn’t the best or most clever student but I have become fairly successful in life. Even though I wasn’t given the early tools to succeed.

We have always been told by our teachers and parents that “you need the best grades to go to a good school, then you need the best grades to go to a good college, then you need the best grades to go to a good university and then finally you need the best grades to get a good job.” You don’t! You just need to apply yourself creatively and freely. Of course, education is important, but showing people your worth is just as important. Create something that’s yours. Volunteer. Be active. Start a movement. These are the best ways to succeed.

In this session of Insights & Chill, I speak with people who say education is a systematic way of categorising to find the cream of the crop. But it shouldn’t be that way.

Netflix and Chill is taking over Cinema

Cinema once dominated the movie industry because it was simply the only player in the game. Society was fed a monopoly where there was only one place to watch big budget, fresh off the film movies.

As years past, the cinema industry has had to fight off opposition from illegal downloading, illegal streaming, DVD releases and television movies and have yet still managed to come out on top.

However, there’s a new kid on the block.  A digital streaming powerhouse that has got everyone talking. Netflix is the major player in the game that is on its way taking over the world of filmmaking and cinema. Along with the likes of others that battle it out in the industry like Amazon and later down the line, Facebook Watch. Netflix has the power to steamroll over the cinema industry.

It’s hard to fight against a service that only costs £6/£7 per month that allows you to watch anything they offer on their service with new titles coming weekly. In this day, an adult cinema ticket could cost you anywhere between £6 and £12 for one movie… Without the cinema essential, popcorn!

We are in an era where Netflix is producing big screen, cinema quality films for their platforms. These are movies that only a year ago you would have only been able to see at the cinema. They are now attracting big-time A-list, award-winning actors. Actors that in-turn help drive the marketability and advertisement of the films they make, driving more traffic to Netflix. A cycle in which Netflix simply keep winning.

People don’t want to spend their money to leave their house, travel to a cinema and watch a film on an uncomfortable chair with teenagers yelling in the background. Many people in the western world nowadays have access to a big screen TV, a comfortable sofa, a supermarket down the road where they can buy popcorn for £1 and finally, a movie and TV streaming service, allowing them to sit back, relax and enjoy a film in the comfort of their own home. A much more attractive proposition going to the cinema. Netflix and Chill is a thing!

The Comparison Factor

Firstly I’d like to introduce a good friend of mine called Oliver Campey who runs ‘olliecampey.com‘. We got our heads together late last year and have decided to get started with a series of social media related blogs/vlogs. Our first blog will focus on the perception vs reality aspect of social media and the comparison factor and you can find Ollie’s written analysis with his thoughts embedded below.

In an age where social media has intertwined itself with almost every aspect of our daily lives, it would be fair to assume that as a population we have acclimatised fairly well to the psychological challenges that come with opening up our world to the public.

The use of social media grew at a far faster rate than anyone could’ve ever predicted and not just from a personal perspective, in business too, social media has now become one of the most powerful tools for marketing your products, creating customer engagement and promoting your brand. There is no doubt that the birth of Social Media has introduced some incredible platforms into the world

Instagram – Being able to visually present your life to the world has put everyone back in touch with their inner creative (optimisation tips available here)

Facebook – Being able to connect with friends you’ve met around the world so you don’t lose touch and share all types of content

YouTube – A platform for masses to create, absorb and share video content
And these are just a few examples…

However, whilst Social Media continues to develop and we continue to improve at marketing our personal and professional journeys there is a much darker side to the all of this. I feel it’s important that it’s brought to the surface so that younger generations can develop the correct coping mechanisms for dealing with the negative implications that can arise when Social Media is misinterpreted or misunderstood.

One of the most widely talked about side effects of Social Media is the ‘comparison factor’. Particularly amongst people in their early teens, the upward comparisons being made against content posted by they’re friends/peers is leading to a reduction in self-esteem, higher levels of jealousy and in turn higher levels of depression amongst teenagers.

However, the problems run much deeper than this and only now are we beginning to see more and more cases of the vicious circle that is consuming many young people in society. The ‘comparison factor’ can often be the trigger point that sets off the cycle of negative thoughts although there are many other reasons and external circumstances which can influence the mood of a person when engaging with Social Media.

One of the biggest issues is a chemical called dopamine, often referred to as the chemical behind all of our sins and secret cravings. In it’s simplest form dopamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger between brain cells and is responsible for things such as movement and speech.

However, it also plays a role in addiction due to the heightened sense of satisfaction we receive when the brain receives a so-called ‘fix’. You see it most amongst smokers (nicotine), alcoholics (alcohol) and gambling, now it’s beginning to take effect on Social Media too, particularly when people receive a ‘like’ or positive comment. It’s been proven amongst various research articles that dopamine triggers the ‘reward molecule’ in our brain and this okay for people who live with a very low level of stress and in broader terms are on good terms with the way their life is being played out.

Where the problem needs addressing is amongst people who suffer from depression, sadness, mental trauma or even temporary stints of unhappiness. The reason being is that people are turning to Social Media to get the ‘likes’ which as we know triggers the reward system in our brain leading to a feel-good factor. As we are aware with the other types of addiction, if this is prolonged over a period of time then the reaction becomes hard-wired in our brains and lo and behold forms an addiction.

It becomes a double-edged sword on many levels. The craving to get the likes/comments places extreme amounts of pressure on people to find content that will generate that type of engagement and when they can’t achieve this a sense of unfulfillment and sadness sets in. It’s also acting as a temporary fix and so the next day it becomes a repeat process meaning people are never actually learning to deal with the root of what’s causing them to feel sad, they’re only ever masking the problems and making their life seem something it’s not to the outside world.

This is extremely dangerous because to their friends, family, employers, it will seem as if everything is great and therefore they can’t offer the kind of support and advice that is needed to help nurture them through the period of negative thinking.

When we think about someone’s life and how they’re getting on, we tend to scan their social media and from the outside everything often looks great. The pictures of nights out with friends, sunny holidays, smiley selfies but in reality on the inside it can often be a very different picture.

To conclude, there is no doubt that social media can have an extremely positive effect on both our personal and professional journeys. There does, however, need to be a greater understanding amongst society about the negative implications that come with prolonged usage and most importantly how we deal with that.

YouTube is Dangerous

YouTube is supposed to be a place where content creators from all over the world can share their most entertaining creations for a more interactive social community. It is indeed that place but it is also a dark place people and bots can exploit the minds of children without even knowing it.

If I were to hand my phone, unlocked, to a child (some as young as three years old). They would undoubtedly know how to find YouTube and navigate around the app.

Parents use YouTube to keep their children entertained. It is used as a tool of parenting and they subscribe to what’s known as ‘kids content’ with the idea that what their children are watching is child-friendly… But is it really?

When delving deep into some of these YouTube channels, you can find a lot of disturbing cartoons, animation content that has been knowingly or even unknowingly created by humans or bots on a mass scale for the simple reason of creating content quickly. A quick turn-around of content means more ads on your videos which means more money and humans cannot create videos as quickly as robots can.

When we let robots create this kind of ‘child friendly’ content we’re often seen with results that aren’t very child-friendly and it is an issue that needs to be addressed.

I have personally seen The Joker from the Batman series, kidnap and tie up Elsa from Disney’s Frozen onto a bed. This is found on a very famous kids YouTube channel called Animals For Kids. There is a lot of content our here like this and Google/YouTube needs to take a stand… Quickly!

Love on social media

In this new age of social media, can relationships be what they used to be? Can you love someone unconditionally without showing the world how much you love someone? Of course you can but there are people who choose to document their relationship online for the whole world to see?

Getting more “likes” or more “views” or simply just more engagement has become far more important to people than many other meaningful things that we could label as meaningful only a few years ago. We are now seeing people share the most intimate part of their lives as a show to gain an audience and a following to ultimately gain a more monetary status. This is more than a reality TV show, this is reacting to people, demanding to see the ins and outs of the life you live.

But is this really a meaningful relationship? Is sharing every facet of your life keeping your relationship together? If it is… Is that true love?

Trends and social stigmas

We’re living in a life full of trends and what I like to call “the new age of peer pressure.” We’re now more so than ever trying to fit in with our social crowd and doing things that we would have never thought about doing five, ten or even fifteen years ago.

Let’s look at tattoos, gluten free or even veganism and try and understand how and why these have become social trends. Yes, people are educating themselves and become more “open” about such things but people are also seeking a way to become a part of a social setting that where they can “fit in.” With the rise of social and digital media, information is much easier to grasp that in the 90s and we’re being taught or some may say “brainwashed” into following trends unconsciously.

But maybe there’s a point to that…

Will our children’s, children’s, children require intimate human interaction and companionship?

It’s hard to believe that several generations down the line of present day won’t require human companionship the way we do today. In some instances, it becomes difficult to wrap our heads around the idea that going out with friends on a Friday afternoon after work to grab a few drinks won’t exist. Or having a general face-to-face catch up with good friends will simply always result to a mode of communication through technology.

In a way, humans will always need the companionship of other humans at least for the purpose of reproduction. But thinks again, do we actually need ‘companionship’ to create other beings, no… We don’t!

The way young people use their mobile devices today is a very obvious example of the direction that mobile technology and technology in general is moving. Who’s to say that in one hundred years from now, Rebecca and Jill will be communicating by hologram devices instead of meeting at each other’s houses to gossip?

There used to be a time when you had to physically talk to someone in front of their face in order to communicate with them. Now, all we need to do is pick up a phone. The more we develop as a race and create new ways of talking to one another, the less actual human physical interaction we’ll need. We will no longer need that level of intimate human interaction or companionship.

Yes, communicating with a friend in any circumstance or by any means is still companionship but compare this companionship to what we have today. Now ask yourself this question… What comes next after holograms?

Are video games a reality?

Video games have become a way of life for many people; young and old. They become so engrossed into digital entertainment that it has turned into a form of reality that is becoming increasingly difficult to step away from.

With the advancement in video game play and the tools that have allowed video gaming to become more ‘realistic’, we are now living in an age that can literally put us into games.

Take VR for example, a tool that allows people to live within a simulation or an event, or a game. This is the beginning of a world where we will no longer rely on the control pad to control our sword-wielding character but yet we will soon be able to use actions and thoughts to defeat the flame throwing nemesis that confronts us.

We live in a time where Egaming has blown up on a massive scale with a large influx of money that has been pumped into the industry. This has attracted a wave of gamers with a hunger to ‘make it big’, knowing that they have potential for fame and riches. In some territories across the world, especially South East Asia, it is not uncommon for gamers to where diapers while gaming. Why? So that they don’t lose points while taking a bathroom break. It is also not uncommon for these gamers to be fed while playing. Why? For the same reason.

These video games have now become a reality.

But there are two stories here and I want to ask the same question again. This time, with a twist.

Michio Kaku is an American theoretical physicist who has a lot to do with the way I think about things. He once questioned human life as potentially a ‘simulation.’ Think about that for a second.

Us humans have even created a video game that goes by the name of… ‘The Sims.’ A game where you can create humans inside of a simulation… I want to end by asking you one final question.

Why can’t we humans also be living in a simulation, being controlled by external beings?

Social Media and Generational Values

Why do certain people have a problem with the way young people attach themselves to their mobile devices and their use of social media?

Different generations of people value and utilise social media in unique and various ways, it’s important to remember this.

In today’s world, it is vital to understand that children are raised and grow up in a very different environment compared to that of 20/30 years ago.

They are exposed to a variety of nuances that help them understand and adapt to the world in a way that is digestible and understandable to them.

Digital and social media is a tool for learning and news gathering as much as it is for social related, friendship activities.

These young people will be the future CEOs and owners of companies that will be at the forefront of technology, digital and social media.

Let them use it, learn it, and build it.