The unhappiest generation ever, that is what Generation Z is called. Even though life has become better to live for everybody, young adults have never been as anxious as they are now. With the level of anxiety, depression, and suicide increasing within the young, Gen-Z (born 1995-2010) are facing a challenging time to grow up.
If you have been following the latest news, it may not be a surprise that the new generation faces more mental health issues than previous ones. The issues have been given more attention to and are now even more talked about. But even if there is greater openness to talk about these issues, the number of cases is still growing. One explanation for this phenomenon that is often discussed is the Gen Z dependence on social media.
A depressed generation
I believe my generation is too focused on the outside world, meaning how they appear towards others, thereby neglecting their inner world. And who can blame them, since we today are practically living in a virtual world. A world where the number of followers, likes, or comments determines one’s self-esteem. Yes, it is human nature to care about what others think, or sometimes to be competitive, but not in this way. Social media has destroyed the young adults’ self-image. This anxious generation will be burned out if we don’t start to change our behaviour. Studies already show that with more anxious teens, we are beginning to take less risk. The numbers of young adults going out on real dates or attempting to take their driving license are dropping. We are too afraid of trying because we cannot imagine failing. Imagine if this level of anxiety would continue onwards to the other generations, what would the future look like?
Social media has destroyed the young adults’ self-image. This anxious generation will be burned out if we don’t start to change our behaviour.
Among my friends, it has become normal to feel anxiety or even depression. Sure, we know how bad social media impacts our self-esteem and how a lot of information can be misleading, but we continue to fall for its power and seduction over and over again. On one side, we do get the warnings, but on the other hand, we don’t know what to do with the warnings? We do not have any efficient way of disconnecting from the media.
Our parents want us to be happy, but sometimes, their way of supporting us by saying we can do anything leads to that we should do everything. We have this enormous pressure on us, always expecting to deliver and be available. Gen-Z is groomed to be the perfect teen. And with social media being available at all times, you will inevitably compare yourself to others, always trying to be better or do better.
When multitasking is bad for you
But we need to start focusing more on our inner world, on our wellbeing. We need to apply more filters and blockages to our virtual lives so that we can make conscious choices with both feet on the ground. Maybe pressing the pause button on our lives can sometimes help to become aware of the moment. Gen-Zers are constantly going around multitasking, compulsively scrolling through Instagram, answering messages, but at the same time, we are cancelling real commitments because we are simply too exhausted. It feels like we are all pretending that we are okay, filling our days with things to do when the truth is that we are all hooked on social media and feeling unwell?
Gen-Zers are constantly going around multitasking, compulsively scrolling through Instagram, answering messages, but at the same time, we are cancelling real commitments because we are simply too exhausted.
Why are we constantly on the move? Well, we are afraid of wasting time. We want to be sure of not missing out on anything aka FOMO. Social media makes it hard for us to be satisfied. Constantly seeing what others are doing, opportunities that open up or lives that seem remarkably better than yours, make us uncertain but also unsatisfied. Growing up there are multiple choices we have to make for the future. And these choices are often labeled as a once in a lifetime opportunity. No wonder we feel like every choice is life-changing, and the anxiety to perform that comes with it is unbearable. So it does not come as a surprise that the level anxiety, depression and even panic attacks are escalating within Generation Z and social media is just exacerbating this.
The solution is inside
The image of the perfectly successful and happy teen we see in social media is so hard to live up to. The idealized version of how a young adult is depicted needs to change. I know many young people who feel like they are alone in tackling all of the problems that most of Generation Z are battling with. But what they should know is that everyone part of Generation Z is sitting in the same boat. And the ones in charge of changing this is ourselves.
I don’t want to see my friends having a panic attack before an exam, throwing up to lose weight because of unnatural photos they see on social media or feeling depressed because they feel worthless. We need to find time in our schedule to breathe.
We need to take our lives back into our hands and disconnect the outer world that puts up unrealistic standards. Our well being depends on it. I don’t want to see my friends having a panic attack before an exam, throwing up to lose weight because of unnatural photos they see on social media or feeling depressed because they feel worthless. We need to find time in our schedule to breathe.
I hope in the future that my generation will not be as enveloped in social media and the outer world as they are right now.
Information technology has developed so quickly and unregulated that we have not realized the big effects it is having on our lives. Social media will need to be subjected to necessary regulations. I hope in the future that my generation will not be as enveloped in social media and the outer world as they are right now. Getting your shit together requires a level of honesty you cannot even imagine. There is nothing easy about realizing that you are the one that has been holding yourself back this whole time.