For about a decade now, the Marcia Brady’s have moved their narcissistic ways to the social media landscape. How has this affected our society and how does it impact future generations? Written by Juliet Rocco
You’ve probably met someone who just can’t get enough of themselves. Whether it’s reading their Tweets of a drawn out story waiting in line for coffee, or turning their Instagram account into a portfolio of selfies for a modeling agency, you’ve experienced this common narcissist before.
While it’s a natural human tendency to show interest in one’s own self, the obsession has been fueled by an uprising in interaction on social media platforms. Even brands can be guilty of purchasing Facebook likes for their posts and paying for followers on Twitter so they appear more popular and successful.
In a recent University of Michigan study, “researchers examined whether narcissism was related to the amount of daily Facebook and Twitter posting and to the amount of time spent on each social media site, including reading the posts and comments of others.
For one part of the study, the researchers recruited 486 college undergraduates. Three-quarters were female and the median age was 19. Participants answered questions about the extent of their social media use, and also took a personality assessment measuring different aspects of narcissism, including exhibitionism, exploitativeness, superiority, authority and self-sufficiency.”
The study found that age impacted the level and type of social media being used. While we can predict the 18+ demographic’s behavior, what I believe will prove to be more important in studying is the 12-17 demographic. These kids are already spenders in the online marketplace and can make a story about Justin Bieber go viral in less than five minutes.
Social media’s impact on youth has had its dark side though. With cyberbullying being a culprit in the rise of underage suicides, parents are more concerned than ever about controlling what their children can and cannot do online.
With smartphones being an additional appendage to this youth group, it is nearly impossible to control the level of cyberbullying, narcissism, and sexting among them.
Takeaway: I love social media, but while it can be used for the greater good of sharing information and closing gaps in our society, there are many signs of trouble that our youth is facing through bullying and addiction. What can be done? And how can we as responsible adults make sure the future of our own children will be ok?