You don’t have been ‘verified’ on Instagram to be authentic. A decade ago, when Instagram did not exist, there was more genuine likeness among people and less trust issues. But now with the advent of Instagram and its surprisingly increasing usage, it has now become an instrument to measure one’s popularity as well as a means to earn money. There are approximately a billion users on Instagram out of which half of the users are active once a day. Users constantly take selfies, crop, edit, add filters, choose the best one, add emoji and digital flowers to it and upload. Only to later delete it, due to less likes, one can buy Instagram likes monthly!
The ‘like’ button at the bottom left of each picture, on the photo sharing app is the feature that proves to be a basis for judgement. Every picture is judged by the number beside that heart sign. According to scientists, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine, by which we feel happy and would want to have more of a thing that we do. This is true when we consume chocolates.
When the same desire is not fulfilled it may lead to anxiety and sadness. To dig in the bigger picture, likes have become a mode of competition among youths, where more number of likes on the photo means an individual is popular and good looking. Whereas the teenager with fewer likes on his photo may go into depression and lower his self-esteem.
It simply goes out of the logic of almost everyone when we explain to them the un importance of likes and make them understand that now what we should seek is not external validation but internal satisfaction. The same like button has led to various mental health issues among youth all over the world.
Constant use of this platform may lead to increased levels of anxiety, depression, psychological distress and isolation.
Although agreed that Instagram and other social networking platforms have increased connectivity. But recently the platforms are all in the news due to negative impacts on the society, data privacy and decreasing mental health of individuals. The question here is, are we ready for this type of change? Or are we so used to the digital report card that we can’t just do without it and we will switch to some different application or social platform for the same. Because, in the end, the choice really is ours.