SOCIAL MEDIA FROM THE EYES OF A YOUTH
Several years ago, communication was not as smooth, easy and accessible as it is today. It was the norm to wait for a day, month(s) for a mail from the post office. Document sharing was a tedious and complicated task to do. Cheap advertisement was a nightmare. Even access to news was so time consuming and limited to the news around your hood, town, and country. Today, it is common to follow a news story currently happening at the other end of the world in mere seconds on your phone. The silent enabling arm behind all this is the Social media and its power source the internet.
Social media is the most trending thing in this generation right now and by definition I will say it comprises of all applications or websites that is used for communication, to share information, for research and study, business and many others. The social media consists of applications like; WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram, Google, TikTok, YouTube and many others. Social media in itself isn’t bad – it’s actually very helpful and fun. It does have many benefits like;
- Communication: One can communicate via social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram just to name a few, with love ones, family, friend and colleagues both near and far.One from Cameroon may speak with his brother in Canada like he is just a mile away from him.
- Advertisement: It remains the number one advertisement outlet reaching out to billions of people at a time and the cheapest and easiest advertisement tool.
- Research: It has proven more than helpful to researchers in enabling them not only to get information and reach out to correspondents but also to hold productive communication and get feedbacks.
- Sharing information: It remains the number one information sharing hub not just for friends and family but for business people who now hold meetings on zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook, sharingwork files via emails, Instagram and so on. One can share documents, photos, videos, music, voice notes, Location, phone contacts, chart rooms, websites info, etc in such an exciting way. We even have a lot of ecommerce taking place now all over the world and social media through the help of the internet has made this even faster, convenient and a lot easier.
- Education: Steve Job the then CEO of Apples Telecommunication company once expressed in one of his speeches he made to the graduating class of a certain university that one of his main goals in creating the iphone was to help make learning easier; with the help of many social media application and search engines this was made a reality. Today, many students hold meetings on Facebook, zoom, WhatsApp and so on. A lot of knowledge is being exchange by students across the globe. Even more recently, the emergence of The University of the people – an online tuition free University out to help students who cannotafford to pay tuition fee for the programs of theirchosen, now thought by internationally well qualified teachers across the world 24/7.
In as much as Social media in itself is not bad yet it has so many influences especially on the youths of today. Social media as generally known I will call it “fake life” because not all you see is real. WhatsApp for example has much negative impact on youths as most showcase their lives which in most cases isn’treal. Some show pictures of their progress in life or their beauty. I am a living testimony. I have a friend whose name I won’t disclose for confidentiality sake; she always posts pictures of herself, and in those pictures she looks so beautiful and fresh and smooth and I was like “feeling bad that my friends are glowing while to me I wasn’t but behold not long from that day I met her along the street – Goodness, she did not look one bit like what I saw on the pictures she usually post on Social media, that is her face was a total opposite to what she showcased and she was the one asking me the secret of the skin colour I have. From that day I was very careful on what I see on social media.
Many youths use social media as a platform to demonstrate and advertise their bodies. Some will even go to the extern of captioning their pictures as “message me if you want me”. I see this a lot on social media especially on Facebook and WhatsApp. Social Media has unlearn many of the youths, instead of spending time studying or doing some other useful thing, they prefer to follow bloggers who have already attained their future, or watching pornography. Many youths have been dismissed from schools or suspended because of this. The tendency is always to try the pornography they have watched with their age mates.
In fact I am shocked everyday by what I hear and see in my neighborhood; very young children but what comes out of their mouths is shocking. As a matter of fact, the latest songs they know, immoral words too they know it all.
It is still on this social media that fashion is been copied both good and bad, both parents and children dress immorally. Parents who are suppose to caution their children are encouraging all kinds of wild and indecent hairstyles in the name of fashion, some even go to the extern of smoking marijuana to be like some music star they admire.
It is still because of this social media that people don’t care anymore for others. When an accident occurs; instead of people to help, they quickly take out their phones to record instead of helping people in pains. What a generation!
Still on this social media all kinds of evil transpire, some people killed because of envy from others due to their life they showcase.
On social media there’s competition everyone belongs to the high class, some go to the extern of faking it. I once visited a friend back in my university days, she usually complain of lack of finances, poverty and lack; as friends we usually contribute money to support her only for me to visit her one day, I was shocked: her wardrobe was filled with designer dresses and shoes – that’s what she spends all her money on. She would rather prefer to go hungry and buy a dress, shoes or bags than feed herself. After advising her I seized contributing for her again. Many girls, women have been caught in the super market with stolen items just to showcase it amongst friends or to maintain a fake standard of living.
Many people have fallen victim of online fraudulent businesses, some have lost thousands and millions of dollars into the hands of scammers and fraudsters even disguise as ministers of God to collect money from people. My mom and I were almost victims of fraudsters. My mom is a strong faithful Christian and a follower of the late Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua of Lagos – Nigeria, popularly known as Prophet T.B Joshua; on a certain day, she saw a post on Facebook about the prophet praying and asking that prayer request should be forwarded via text message to his personal contact. When she sent a personal message to the “so called” prayer number, she got a reply that she should fast and send money to them for the orphans. Fortunately for my mom, she quickly alerted me and I told her they were fraudsters but she didn’t believe me. I had to take her phone and write to the suppose imposter of the prophet that we don’t have money and we are in crisis and his response was that its only when we send the money will be given that the prayers will be made; I called him “Fraudster” and he never responded again. Many have been victims of such scams.
Social Media has replaced the place of God in the lives of several Christians and they no longer spend time reading and meditating on God’s word; praying but concentrating on their phones all day long watching things which most of the time do not glorify God.
I believe the time spend on social media by some people, If the same time and energy was put towards a job, it would yield great output.
Some people no longer concentrate in church anymore but keep on manipulating their phones, chatting and discussing during sermons.
Some people have been initiated into occult groups through social media because they saw their age mates or classmates on social media very successful which in most cases it is all fake.
Also on Social media we get all kinds of scandals especially for the famous bloggers, they have no privacy everything about their life is in the open air especially their marriage lives each day we see posts of divorce or quarrel or “side chick” or “Baby mama’s” Scandals. No privacy.
Social media has so much engulfed the world at large in that without it, I don’t know how many people will cope, some will be idle while others will be Jobless. The recent shut down of one of the most famousapplications in social media, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram that occurred on the 4th of October, 2021 got many confused and idle. Here in Cameroon, All of a sudden connection was very bad and messages weren’t going through. At first we thought it was just local network problem as MTN Communication Company in Cameroon usually disturbs unlike the other communication companies but not just MTN but Orange and CAMTEL also had issues. Still others thought maybe their internet bundles had expired and as such activated new ones. Some thought the phones was the issue but it wasn’t. It was much later that we got the news that it was a Global shutdown. Here in my neighborhood in Buea, places where so calm, I could see my siblings, friends and neighbors got so bored and idle, a lot of fear and uncertainty in the atmosphere, others taught rapture has occurred and they were left to suffer in this world. This got me thinking, what if it was actually the day of the Lord, social media has actually taken over us in many ways that most people cannot live without it, we have become so much glued to our phones that many people don’t follow news anymore or have any other things to do aside being glued to our phones all day long. There is so much install for us out of social media. We are focused on spreading bad news than the ones that will actually help us; imagine majority of Cameroonians did not know there would be such a problem.
Social media has caused a lot of troubles following fun videos, charts many housewives have burnt food or even fire accidents because they were so concentrated on their phones probably on WhatsApp, Instagram, or Facebook.
Some people have been really lucky to have found their missing rib through a platform like this, while others have been really used and dumped or even marry but discover their true character in their marital homes which accounts for high percentage of divorce out there.
Others, use social media to showcase everything concerning their lives, many cases of people who have been robbed have been reported to get the people’s information on social media. For example, there was a newly wedded couple who showcased their new home and location on Facebook. After their wedding this couple posted on their honeymoon whiles the bride’s sister will be home alone. Some group of men got this information plus the house address and stormed that house that night and stole and even rapped the sister in the house. When they were later caught they revealed how the couple exposed all their moves on social media. Hence, we should be very careful about what we showcase on social media in order not to attract thieves, others have lose their lives due to mere jealousy, showcasing your life on your WhatsApp or Facebook on Instagram status; someone who isn’t happy with your progress may get so jealous to the extern of plotting to kill you due to envy. We should be careful and dread wisely.
I will say, social media has its good and bad sides depending on the way we use it. Let us use the good side to our benefits. Be contented with what you have, never be envious or jealous of others. Not everything you see is real and not all fingers are equal. God help this generation.