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At this year’s Cannes International Film Festival, singer and actress Selena Gomez made waves with her suggestion that “social media has been terrible for my generation.” Gomez says she has seen first-hand the “devastating” effect of social media on young women, and even advised young teens to take a break if they are feeling overwhelmed. The time might finally be coming when more Hollywood stars speak out about social media, and how it is warping people’s perception of reality around them.
After all, if Selena Gomez can feel insecure about her physical appearance, or about what people are saying about her on social media platforms like Instagram, just imagine what the average person must feel like after spending an hour or two on Instagram. They’re likely to run across social media bullying, lots of negative commentary, and impossibly perfect photos of people sharing snippets of their amazing lives. Even if you are happy in life, it’s easy to see how you might start to have doubts about different aspects of your life.
Moreover, as Gomez pointed out earlier in an interview with Vogue, social media at one time threatened to overtake her life. She woke up in the morning thinking about Instagram, and went to bed thinking about Instagram. She eventually deleted the app in an effort to break the cycle of addiction and stop Instagram from “consuming” her life.
Celebrities who have quit social media
And it’s not just Selena Gomez who is warning about the negative impact of social media. For example, the list of celebrities who have quit social media in the span of just the past few years includes Kristen Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe, Ed Sheeran, Lena Dunham, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Justin Bieber. At one time or another, these celebrities have dealt with fans sending them negative messages, commenting on their bodies, and taking them to task for their political views or comments they made in public. Just Google “celebrities who have quit social media,” and you can probably find many more examples of celebrities who have come face-to-face with the dark side of social media.
So just imagine what could happen if all of these powerful, public voices spoke out at one time about the perils of social media. In the same way that some celebrities endorse certain causes, raise money for certain charities, or become the public-facing spokesperson for nonprofit organizations, imagine what could happen if Selena Gomez took her Cannes message about the perils of social media to a much wider audience, or if other social media influencers stepped up and expressed concern.
A lost social media generation
A decade from now, we may be talking about the “lost generation” of social media addicts who spent all their time looking down at their phones, and not enough time looking up at the broader world around them. Stories of youth depression triggered by social media are no longer new, nor are stories about youth who spend all their time communicating with each other via social media and not face-to-face. Hopefully, more stars like Selena Gomez will step forward and share their personal stories about social media misuse and abuse. That might finally lead to the start of a real movement to rescue the current generation from the tyranny of social media.