Since the race to space in the 1950’s, the powerhouses of the world have been interested in how we can take advantage of our advancing technology to utilize space and other planets. Many scientists have predicted that the human race will eventually go extinct due to our increasing climate issues. Water was recently discovered on Mars which has raised many questions- Was there previous life on Mars? Is Mars habitable? Can we utilize Mars for the future if life threatening issues arise on Earth?
With our current carbon emission levels however, the human race needs to seriously consider drastic changes we can make to prevent the end of the world. We cannot use Mars as a fallback or an excuse to continue or environmentally harmful process of life. Mars has not yet been classified to be livable, and instead of the brains of America putting their time into space colonization, they should put their time and energy into fixing our current climate problems on Earth before they are irreversible.
For our big research paper this year, I want to research the pyschological effects of the use of social media on adolescent brains. I plan to analyze different apps and how they correlate with different disorders in teens such as anxiety, depression, and self worth. I want to focus on Instagram specifically but use evidence from all social media platforms.
The effects of social media have deeper meaning than what they seem. The adolescent brain is more susceptible to outside stimuli than a fully matured brain, so these factors ingraved in social media have had a larger impact on the American youth especially.
I want to analyze the specific parts of social media that cause these insecurities such as the number of likes, number of followers, self doubt and comparrison towards others on Instagram, and the growing competitiveness of the app as a whole. Then I went to see how these factors biologically effect the brains chemical patterns and how that effects our moods and mindset. I also wanted to compare the effect of social media to the effect of televison in the 1950’s and how technology can alter a whole human society.
Lastly, I will address my thoughts on how to fix and prevent this issues from growing, along with research what apps are already in the proccess of doing to fix these issues.
A huge issue in America today is taking action to prevent school shootings across the nation. Just in 2019, there has been 46 mass shootings in U.S. school facilities thus far. These events have began many conversations over not only firearm regulations, but what the government has the power to do to make a difference. When it comes to gun laws, the two ends of the political spectrum have drastically different views on solutions. However, a large portion of the American population has voiced their concern about this issue and their views on possible solutions. Many powerful political art pieces have centered around this topic, and through controversial imagery, many artists have made it their goal is to spark conversation about this ongoing crisis.
Jim Carrey, a very successful Hollywood actor, has recently taken a step back from acting to put his time and energy into his painting business. His artwork display a wide range of color and topics, from abstract art to deep, powerful political pieces. His most famous pieces are his negative depictions of Donald Trump, who he is obviously not a fan of if we analyze his artwork of him. One piece in particular stood out to me, as it addresses the big issue of mass shootings in our public schools.
This painting, done by Jim Carrey in February of 2018, titled, “Oh say, can’t you see?!” displays an emotive picture of a female student that has been shot in her school. Her clothes represent a stereotypical schoolgirl outfit that includes the plaid skirt and a long sleeved sweater. She is laying on the floor with her eyes closed, surrounded by her school supplies like her backpack, pencils, glasses, and books. The floor of the school is painted to be an American flag, which represents freedom, which this girl in the painting does not have. The red color of the stripes overtake the picture, as it symbolizes the blood of the incident. You can see the red color leaking onto the students clothing and body, as well as her school supplies. The red of the flag is also shown in the red combat boot prints that go along the bottom of the painting, as if the floor was covered in a red liquid like blood. The red boot prints represent the shooters path, and are shown as if they walked overtop of her body to continue their rampage. Her body position in the painting can infer that this student is either unconscious, severely hurt, or has already passed away. If we look closer at the picture however, Jim Carrey has painted about 7 bullets laying on the ground around her, which allows the viewer to know that she has been shot.
Jim Carrey has brilliantly showed the horrific truth of this national issue: That innocent children are being killed in a place where they should feel the safest, at school. This image evokes strong emotion from the person who views it. By using a visual of a child being physically hurt, he is targeting everyone in America that values the safety and protection of our children, which is just about anyone with a heart. This sadening image stirs emotion in all Americans no matter their political identification, and creates the feeling of wanting to do something about the issue.
With almost everyone you meet, whether you’re at a party or meeting friends of friends, they will most likely give you their Instagram username rather than their phone number. Instagram and other social media apps have become the main source of networking amongst young adults, especially in the United States. But have these fun, lighthearted apps become detrimental to the mental health of its users?
Instagram has recently been under fire for how the creators organized the application to make it addictive and harmful to the human brain. For instance, the app will alert you when you receive a new like, comment, or follower. When this happens, the brain releases the “happy hormone”, also known as dopamine. This chemical response to the notification causes the brain to constantly crave this feeling when dopamine is released, therefor getting these users to check up on the app more frequently, till it becomes a daily or even hourly habit.
Another issue that Instagram has been dealing with is the backlash from people saying that receiving a number of likes causes users to subconsciously compare themselves to others on the app, turning Instagram into a competitive playground where people feel as though they cannot be themselves with the chance that they won’t get as many likes. Due to this, an idea has been in the works to remove the number of likes off of posts to create a more positive environment on the app.
Young adults whose minds are not fully developed yet will have a larger response when effected by outside stimuli. This meaning, when a 14 year old girl sees beautiful “Instagram Model” on her feed receiving many likes or comments, she begins to contemplate if her looks are good enough. This comparison to others on social media has people not only judging themselves, but thinking that their life is insignificant.
But the truth is, Instagram is anything but the truth. No one posts about the struggles they’re going through, only the times when they were the happiest. This creates the other users to see their “perfect” fake lives and compare that to their own behind the scene lives. Eventually, everyone starts to believe that the grass is greener on the other side and feel saddened by their perception of their own lives.
Instagram and other social media apps like Facebook and Twitter have more issues overall than positive impacts on our society as a whole. Not only their programmed addictiveness, but their negative effects on the developing brain that can cause serious mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. If changes are not made to fix these issues caused by these applications, there could be serious repercussions in the very near future.
Hello my name is Lauren Aldrich and I am a Freshman who is currently undecided. I am planning to major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Journalism starting this Spring. I love to travel and plan on studying abroad next Winter. In May I am going to London and Ireland and could not be more excited! Also a big part of my life is the music I listen to. I love almost everything from Classic Rock, to R& B, to Alternative music. Just this past year, I saw Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Mac DeMarco, and the Rolling Stones in concert. One day I hope to see the Eagles in concert while they’re still alive. Other than traveling and music I enjoy fashion and style diversity and would love to learn more about fashion trends of other countries.
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