Tuesday, June 18 2024

Stories, posts and videos are part of our new way of communicating, sharing, connecting with others, whether with friends, acquaintances, clients or even strangers.

But many say that the mechanisms of social media are making relationships arid. Many argue that friendships are less authentic, and that narcissism and ego-centrism are being fostered, since screens have invaded our existences. Social media, seems on many occasions, to divide us more than it allows true connection.

Social media doesn’t help us to cherish the past

One of the greatest risks associated with the use of social media – and this is what we want to talk about now – is the loss of a memory, traditions, and lived experience that every family should jealously guard. We are referring, for example, to our way of creating and keeping alive memories.

It has been proven that frantically taking photographs or videos can spoil – rather than capture – the magic of the moments we experience with loved ones and ruin, therefore, the recollections that will be imprinted in our memory.

The most recent generations live in anxiety to immortalize or instantly share every experience – instead of observing, contemplating, “savoring” the reality one experiences.

We have already told you about Maryanne Garry, a professor of Psychology at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, who argues that if we want good memories, the craze for selfies and uncontrolled sharing on social media should be kept at bay.

According to her thesis, it follows that it is better to fix our gaze on reality, rather than on the screen, while we’re enjoying good times.

How to keep memories alive?

It is not our cell phone that makes the beautiful moments we are experiencing eternal; on the contrary, it is sometimes more of an intruder than an ally in preserving the beauty of the emotions experienced. There is nothing wrong with taking souvenir photos, however, if we want to fully savor the moments, “few but good” is better.

By taking a lot of photos, capturing so many snapshots, we believe that we will “remember better”; in fact, this psychologist explains, the opposite will happen, because giving too much attention to snapping shots leads us to focus less on what we experience.

Finally, worrying excessively about sharing photos or videos on social media – and thus with those who are far away from us physically – can lead us to not fully experience the reality with those who are currently beside us. It is a paradox, yet it can happen.

Let’s recover the concept of “private life”

Of the same opinion is Paolo Crepet, a prominent psychiatrist, who expounded to the Italian newspaper La Stampa his concern about the way photos are being used on social media today, pointing out the absence of boundaries between public and private in today’s society.

The expert said, “I am shocked by the idea that private life no longer exists, having been torn apart by the cannibalism of social media.” According to him, our continuous exposure to powerful and traumatic images via social media is leading us toward increasing insensitivity.

Crepet also points out that social media are not just platforms we use, but tools that control us and shape our perceptions of reality. “There are no longer family albums, but film reels. After you show it to everyone, what’s left? This is the century that pulverizes our lives,” he said.

What to do then? Go back to polaroids? Get off social media? Print photos only on paper and hang them in pictures or collect them all in an album, to be stored in a drawer?

The master rule is to use common sense.

Some practical tips 

  1. If we find that social media is pulling us away from reality or our family, it is good to reduce its use or take a break. You can even think about getting off social media, if and when you realize that the harms are more than the benefits.
  2. We recover the habit of printing (and hanging up on the wall, if we have the chance) the most significant photographs of our family history.
  3. Turn off your cell phone at certain moments, in order to spend them with family.
  4. Resist the urge to share online in order to recover offline life, with those whom we are close to. It can help to turn off the Internet on certain important days.
  5. Keep children off social media and the Internet in general as much as possible to protect their privacy and reduce risks related to online pedophilia.

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