Generation Z was the first generation to be raised with social media in our everyday lives; many of us downloaded Instagram and Snapchat as early as fourth or fifth grade. I have an issue with this. In many ways, being raised by social media has made Gen Z somewhat worse off.
I know the many positive aspects that having social media has brought to our lives. We have a much easier time staying in touch with loved ones, long-distance relationships and friendships, especially in college. It also helps us check in on one another and keep tabs on people's lives. Social media has brought the world closer together in a way that no other technological development has.
However, social media has pulled us further apart in real life. You can see this just walking around campus. Everyone's heads are tilted downward to their phone or listening to music with headphones in. It sometimes seems like no one is interacting with one another.
Social media has also created this problem of people saying out-of-pocket, rude things to others while online. People say things online that they wouldn't say face-to-face because they feel the screen they're hiding behind protects them. Some have forgotten that digital footprints exist.
Something that comes to mind is the rise of "BookTok," a niche side of TikTok focused on book recommendations. What came of this was the growth of various fantasy relationship books, specifically ones about hockey. This resulted in the fantasy extending beyond books and into the real-life NHL. Some people went to hockey games and recorded hockey players while doing things like stretching and posted videos on TikTok.
These videos went viral and caught the attention of these NHL players' wives, who were uncomfortable with their husbands being posted in such a way. They were also disturbed by the comments, as people took the video much too far. There are human beings on the other side of our screens who can — and are — affected by people's lack of manners online.
These behaviors also lead to cyberbullying and the spread of hatred online. Regardless of what a particular person or influencer posts, they still have feelings; animosity doesn't give you the right to say whatever you want.
Unfortunately, part of the generation raised by social media doesn't know how to act on social media. We, as young people, need to start doing better for the next generation before this negative behavior becomes the "norm."
Chase Borland is a freshman studying marketing and journalism at Ohio University. The views and opinions of this columnist do not necessarily reflect those of The Post. If you have any thoughts, questions or concerns then you can contact him at email@example.com.