Earlier today, my attention was directed to a thread on an Internet discussion forum that lamented how much America had changed over the years. I don’t know exactly why, but the posts on that thread really touched me.
Those of us that are old enough to remember what America was like before the Internet grew up in a much simpler time. Yes, we didn’t have all of the luxuries that we take for granted in 2019, but we found joy in the simple things and people were generally much happier. Today, we seemingly have so much going for us, and yet people are lonelier, more disconnected and more depressed than ever before. The suicide rate in the United States is up 34 percent since the year 2000, approximately 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder, and overdosing on drugs is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. Clearly our society is not heading in the right direction.
So that probably explains why a thread entitled “I Cry When I Think Back How Things Used To Be” got my attention so much. This is what the author of the thread posted…
I can never go back to my early days growing up on the farm. Had time to enjoy each day, the warm sun the hay in the barn. Even with all the work there was to be done. Eating an apple off the tree, taking a long drink from the cool spring. Working the garden…..What the hell happened.
In just five sentences, this individual captured what so many of us have been feeling.
Of course most of us didn’t grow up on a farm. I certainly didn’t. But without a doubt there are lots of people out there that are saddened by the contrast between what America used to be and what America is today.
Another person that grew up near Boston also shared memories of simpler days…
only it was just suburbs Boston.
actually, just sitting and talking with neighbors, drinking lemonade in summer as Boston is insanely humid then..
or even more recently, in Wisconsin.. listening to thunderstorms roll in.. the state is so flat you can see these beautiful storms for miles…
Once upon a time in America, people actually sat on their porches and talked with their neighbors. I know that may sound quite strange to many of you, but it is true.
Sadly, most houses that are being built today don’t even have real front porches because they are considered to be a waste of space.
So what has caused such a dramatic shift in our country?
Well, the truth is that there are a lot of factors, but one that kept coming up over and over in the thread was social media. Here is what one astute poster had to say…
Social media made people cold, uncaring and combative.
People have lost their connection to one another. They’ve lost the drive to socialize and have friends and form solid connections. Instead they opt to argue, fight and divide themselves.
This has made society negative, bitter, and have no hope or joy for the future.
You arent sad because you look back into the past, you are sad because you are looking into the present and future and you realize the path humanity is currently on is a very bad one. A path that is very different than the path humanity was on not that long ago.
You don’t have to spend much time on social media to realize that a lot of people are downright nasty, mean and cruel.
It isn’t healthy to spend much time mentally immersed in that type of environment, but many of our young people are online almost constantly, and as a result they are developing all sorts of problems…
Teens and young adults are in the midst of a unique mental health crisis, suggests a new study out Thursday. It found that rates of depressive episodes and serious psychological distress have dramatically risen among these age groups in recent years, while hardly budging or even declining for older age groups.
Lead author Jean Twenge, a 47-year-old professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has spent much of her career studying the attitudes and beliefs of younger generations. Most recently, in 2017, Twenge published a pop-science book laying out her central argument that teens and young adults coming of age are especially lonely and disconnected, thanks in part to the growing abundance of social media and devices like smartphones. Her book is titled iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.
And one shocking study that was conducted not too long ago found a direct link between social media use and levels of depression and loneliness…
A new study concludes that there is in fact a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness. The study was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
“What we found overall is that if you use less social media, you are actually less depressed and less lonely, meaning that the decreased social media use is what causes that qualitative shift in your well-being,” said Jordyn Young, a co-author of the paper and a senior at the University of Pennsylvania.
The implications of this are staggering. As Americans become more and more immersed in the online world, we are likely to become increasingly unhappy.
So is there anything that can be done?
Well, some are suggesting that the social media giants should change their algorithms…
The solution is obvious: change the algorithms. Which is to say: make less money. Ha.They could even remove the algorithms entirely, switch back to Strict Chronological, and still make money — Twitter was profitable before stock options before it switched to an algorithmic feed, and its ad offerings were way less sophisticated back then — but it’s not about making money, it’s about making the most money possible, and that means algorithmically curated, engagement-driven, misery-inducing feeds.
Of course that isn’t likely to happen, and it would probably only have a marginal impact anyway.
In the end, the reality of the matter is that technology is always going to be a part of our lives, but we need to strive to find proper balance.
Because those that spend too much time on the hate-filled Internet are in danger of turning out like this crazed woman…
A crazed leftist with a mohawk attacked an elderly gentleman minding his own business inside of a Starbucks in Palo Alto, CA because he was wearing a red MAGA hat.
A ‘woman’ who goes by the name Parker Mankey, posted photos of the elderly Trump supporter to her Facebook page Monday and called on her Facebook friends to find out who the “freak” is and “confront him.”
Parker Mankey, who declared her support for Bernie Sanders, says screaming at him, stalking him and doxxing him is a way to fight back against Fascism.
Do you think that this woman would have turned out this way if she had been raised on a farm with no access to the Internet, television or the mainstream media?
Of course not.
What we regularly feed our minds determines what we will become.
The Internet can be used for great good, but there is also much online that is highly toxic. And the more toxic the Internet becomes, the more toxic our nation as a whole will become.