Are we keeping our digital environment clean? #WorldEnvironmentDay
Every year we celebrate World Environment Day to create awareness about keeping our environment green and clean. But what about the environment where we spend most of our time these days? Our digital environment! Is it clean enough to make us feel comfortable? Are you sure that your mental health is not affected by the internet toxicity we have around us?
These are a few of the many questions I get when I think about my immediate environment. With screen time increasing every day, we are not mindful of the content we consume or produce. We all are forced to check our respective social media apps and stay up to date with whatever is going around. We never pause and ask ourselves if we really want to consume that meme which is indirectly shaming someone or their life choices or looks. We find it funny and we share it, because why not?
What we call as “FOMO” is actually a real thing that ultimately gets advanced into imposter’s syndrome and anxiety. This feeling of inadequacy is the main reason why 9 out of 10 users feel that their pictures are not Instagram-worthy. It imposes unrealistic expectations, reduces the satisfaction towards life in youngsters, and has multifaceted impacts on the mental health of each and every active user. The trends have drastically changed over the last two decades, and we, as a social media user, have failed to create a safe space for everyone in the digital environment.
Let’s not even go to the amount of negativity being produced on digital platforms. Let’s look at ourselves! Are we really posting the content that would create a green atmosphere for someone’s mental health? Do we ever stop ourselves from trolling our friends online, considering their mental health? No. And we don’t feel the need to be mindful of our content. What environment is creating for people who are going through a rough patch? Just a bunch of relatable memes, so they can indulge in self-loathing, but with a smile?
Imagine, how positive the internet would be if we became a little mindful about what we post or how we interact. Everything on the internet is 100% vulnerable to becoming a meme material and going viral. Producing content that people can laugh at is so important that we forget about the crossing line. The music we troll, the movies we bash at, and the destructive criticism we throw at artists completely overlook the effort that has gone into making it. May be sitting at the comfort of our home, living in a routine and watching Netflix is so convenient that we feel like we have a right to criticize the directors and artists who have worked hard on the movie or TV series.
When we choose to criticize a movie, music, or a series, we are indirectly speaking against a group of people who like them. And that’s how the Internet war starts! There arises one issue, and here we have a good number of people raging against it because we are far, far away from looking at things rationally. There is an immediate conclusion being derived if people choose to not speak up. In fact, most of the people speak up only because they fear that they will be called out for having their own reasons and their own opinions, which might not tally with the crowd. And then comes the trend to produce most likable content around the topic.
Amidst all this, does anyone realize the amount of pressure we all are exposed to? Nobody, literally nobody is concerned that there are millions of people who are already going through problems and they try to find their escape in the digital world. And we are creating an environment which is based on raging, having opinions, and a race to increase the numbers shown on our profile.
Someone is obsessed with getting maximum likes, while someone is upset that their artwork is not good enough. Someone is trying to prove the facts they have learned, while someone is trying to keep up with the trend. Someone is worried about their work being plagiarised, while someone is stressed about creative block. Somewhere, somebody is all exhausted and trying to distract themselves by going online, and this is the environment we are creating for them. People make things good or bad. According to research, social media has been used as security blankets, where people find their escape. Considering the current situation, it seems like escaping from one black hole to another one, and it’s not helpful at all for our mental health.
Who are these people? We are these people. We all are equally responsible for not putting things out there mindfully. On this World environment day, all I need is for you to be more conscious about the things you do online. Just pause, and rethink. You will get your answers. Sometimes, questioning yourself will open your way to answers and maybe that’s how problems related to the negative impacts of social media will get resolved.