Distorted Perspectives

Gina Matteo, Editor-in-Chief

Our world today is filled with miracles, beauty like no other, and people reaching success in society simply with determination.

Technology allows people to connect from all corners of the planet. No other generation has been able to understand one another so well. Yet, with mass communication and media in our faces, it seems that instead of using it to our abilities, we unintentionally misuse it, letting it break down the simplicity of life and skew our perceptions of ourselves and society.

Teens of today are referred to as millennials, the “i” generation, the “me” generation, the global generation, and generation next. We are a generation like no other, and at the rate we are going at, it’s hard to think of things that are impossible for us to achieve in the coming years.

There are 58 million tweets that are tweeted daily, 864 million active Facebook users daily, and 2.5 billion likes that are made on Instagram daily. The word “like” has now become a verb; millions of people scroll through endless posts, liking and commenting emojis. But what do the likes and emojis mean? Are the kissy-face and heart emojis the new expressions of love, or are they just empty actions that our thumbs are just accustomed to?

Studies have shown that empathy and the ability to feel for one another is lacking. Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying. Suicide is one of the leading causes in teenage death, having feelings of worthlessness being a top reason. Going on youtube I want to watch funny cat videos, not girls as young as eleven asking random strangers if they are pretty or not.

The media is the message and messenger. Even though we try to refute it, people learn more from the media (whether it be positive or negative) than any other source of information today. The content shapes our society and what is “the norm”. Although it’s hard to believe, a luxury car commercial flaunting a gorgeous man or woman has an immense impact on how we see ourselves. From photoshop to the Lo-Fi filter on Instagram, everything our eyes happen to glance upon on our screens have lasting effects on us. Whether we think about it or not, these tweets, posts, and statuses are meant to influence in the most innocent of ways.

With the new Yik Yak app taking Danville by a storm (literally), it just goes to show how individuals can be influenced by meaningless posts. What started as a joke, the #MVR (Monte Vista Rebellion) turned into a local trend. I even couldn’t help myself from downloading the app to see what was causing the chants and wanna-be Katniss Everdeens to start the fire drill “rebellion”. (Read more about Yik Yak on page 5.)

Technology has created what sociologists say is “social isolation” or a complete or near-complete lack of contact with people and society for members of a social species. With the United States spending 121 billion minutes on social media sites back in July 2012, I wonder: what are we wasting our time on?

A woman by the name of Alice Walker once said: “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

This quote explains what we are doing wrong with technology. We take technology for granted, not realizing the amount of power we hold in our hands. Rather than making insignificant hashtags trend, and boys like Alex From Target famous, why don’t we use technology to benefit one another and learn to grow?