When I was younger, I used to think that all the people that claimed that violence on t.v., movies, music, etc. made on impression on us, were ridiculous.
I ardently believed that people were conscious enough to come to their own decisions and thought patterns, and ridiculed those that speculated otherwise.
Perhaps that was me jumping on the bandwagon of mocking the alleged “conspiracy theorists”. Calling them crazy and uninformed.
Well, who's laughing now?
(Well, I suppose it’s no laughing matter, but at least I’ve finally come to the realization that I was wrong.)
Before I delve in, what do you think? Are you here on this page because you believe the same thing? Or are you here because you think it’s a ridiculous concept like I once did?
If you’ve read my previous posts: How do we Find the Truth? and When News Media Lies, you already know about the levels of deception and manipulation that these “sources” have propagated to the population. (With the help of the CIA, I might add.)
So is it that much of a stretch to contemplate on this idea?
If that’s not enough of a reason, I will be addressing other points that might provide a little more insight into this kind of “mind control” programming.
Welcome to the 3rd part of this series “Does Media Affect Our Thoughts” – “Media Addiction”.
Slave to Social Media?
If you’ve had any foray into the social media blowout, I think most of us can admit, at some point in our life, that we have been reeled in by the “glamour” and whirlwind of a social media online presence.
I had a brief bout of this on a few media platforms. I won’t say the names of them (a couple of them were popular forums – some, not some well-known), but during that brief time even I could feel the pull of the social media attraction and allure.
And, perhaps surprisingly, I don’t have a facebook account. I refuse to get one, as a matter of fact. But I think with as many people who do have one know, the appeal of getting views and comments and likes can be quite euphoric. Just having the positive feedback can boost one’s self-esteem.
However… on the flip side, not getting any comments or views, or getting a lot of dislikes (or no likes/dislikes in general), negative feedback… can have a detrimental effect. This particular topic will be covered more later in this post when I address depression and anxiety.
But to continue with the slave-type addiction to media, what are your thoughts? Do you, personally, feel as if you’re addicted? Do you see your friends, families, classmates, etc. fallen victim to this scenario?
A common theme I see is when everyone (and I mean, absolutely everyone) in a particular area is on their phone. Perhaps you’ve seen the same situation. Unless you were eyes-deep into your phone as well.
I know one that has happened to me, personally, was 3 years ago, while sitting in the DMV, with about 15 other people. I AM NOT LYING when I say that EVERY SINGLE PERSON was on their phone. It honestly felt like I was sitting in a movie and slowly coming to the realization about what a hold the media has on us. It was eerie. And it reminds me of this very profound saying:
“We have never been more connected; yet never so alone.”
Now this alone doesn’t mean we’re addicted, necessarily. Right?
You’re right. But some of these other examples are a somber look into this very real dilemma:
This site: psychologytoday.com asks some very important questions to evaluate one’s use of social media:
- Do you spend a lot of time thinking about social media or planning to use social media?
- Do you feel urges to use social media more and more?
- Do you use social media to forget about personal problems?
- Do you often try to reduce your use of social media without success?
- Do you become restless or troubled if you are unable to use social media?
- Do you use social media so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies?
If you feel as if you are having problems with being addicted to media, social or otherwise, then don’t fret. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to reduce the pull that technology has on us. From the same site, they list several ways you can come to terms with this addiction: “Top Tips for a Digital Detox: 12 ways to help you cut down on your technology use“
Interestingly, The Social Dilemma (Netflix film which came out just a month ago) covers this topic, which features several people that have worked (or still work) at big tech industries, such as Facebook, Google, Youtube, Pinterest, Tumbler, as well as others. Even they, the creators and designers of some of these addictive programs, are against their own creations; urging the viewer to reduce their screen time and realize that there are many ways that we are being manipulated. Many even confess that they refuse to let their children on to social media; at least until they reach an acceptable age.
I have to add a precaution to this film; there are many aspects to it that I agree with, however, there are also a few to me, that I view as a red flag. Namely that of when they mention “conspiracy theories” – again, casting it in an unflattering light – a very common tactic of manipulation, and a couple of situations pertaining to this. Please be very discerning about these kinds of topics. The film itself mentions fake news and how easy it is to fall for something that’s not necessarily true, thanks to all the deception and lies that are deliberately enforced to push a certain agenda/propaganda, yet seem to turn around and do the same thing. Attempting to “debunk” certain topics. Again, I ask that you be aware of any ways that you may be coerced or manipulated into believing a certain narrative.
Other than that unfortunate addition to the film, it did seem to touch on a lot of subjects that are a very real problem in our social media age. And it does raise an important subject to be discerning, because certainly, not every “conspiracy theory” is true, but there are alarmingly many that have been proven to be true.
25 Conspiracy Theories That Turned Out to be True – (Another
sad fascinating fact, 23 out of 25 of these “theories” involve the government (most from the US)).
Where Does the Time Go? (and the moral ethics?)
Perhaps some people still don’t think an addiction to media is that bad. Or maybe people are just making it a big deal.
Well….. take a gander at the link below (or not… it is a harsh and cruel reality check into some of the atrocities going on around us) and tell me if people are just blowing this out of proportion. These are tragic and horrific accounts of people choosing video games/media over real life people (including themselves):
15 Bizarre Deaths Caused by Video Games – theclever.com. Some devastating accounts due to media addiction from this site (visit the link for a full list):
- “In 2010, a South Korean couple ended up spending so much time raising their digital baby, in turn neglecting their real life baby, who ended up dying of prolonged malnutrition.”
- “In 2007, a Chinese man engaged in an unknown online video game for three consecutive days at an internet café.” … “fixated on the computer for 72 hours straight, the man finally dropped dead out of exhaustion.”
- “17 year old, Daniel Petric, shot his parents because they wouldn’t let him play Halo 3. He allegedly shot both of them in the head, instantly killing his mother. His father survived. – kotaku.com“
- “October 2010, Alexandra Tobias was playing Farmville … and she got so addicted that she apparently forgot that she had a three-year-old son. Her attention was taken back to reality when her son cried out of hunger, and instead of feeding her child, she responded by shaking him to death…”
- “In the fall of 2007, according to his mother, Shawn Woolley killed himself as result of a lack of socialization and detachment from reality caused by endless hours of playing EverQuest.”
There are many more events attributed to video games, especially, but also media in general. And as you may have noticed, the articles I’m making on this topic don’t just mention “social” media, but “media” as a whole. That can range from anything as social, internet use, television, movies, video games, etc.
How many times have you caught yourself on a binge-watching marathon? Or scrolling through the internet/on facebook/youtube? How many times do you check your phone for notifications, text messages, emails, forum posts?
While all of these aren’t necessarily bad things, per se, the habitual time sink it proposes definitely is. Which is why it’s important to be aware of how much time we really are spending on these different platforms. I find myself occasionally going on binge-watches, spending way too much time on youtube (although admittedly a lot of times I’m on there for research) and checking email for communication.
The important thing is moderation. Once we’re aware of how much time we’re losing to these different arenas, the better chance we have to come back from that and consciously choose to spend time more efficiently, and essentially.
Sadly, sometimes these addictions to different media platforms disable us from focusing on real life situations: work, school, relationships, raising our own kids… As we saw with some examples above, the decision that some people have taken to choose technology over other people, is a scary and serious look into the hold that media can have over us.
Porn and Gambling Online
We’ve already covered some topics detailing the horrible situations that have erupted due to media addictions. But we haven’t even covered media addictions in conjunction with other addictions, such as porn, gambling, and shopping. (Yes, shopping.)
In this day and age, with everything so readily available to us through the internet, the instant gratification mode that many people have is more prevalent than ever. And that’s not a good thing.
Instead of us appreciating what we already have, the constant push of “more and better” things that the internet poses to us keeps us in a state of always wanting more. Many are unhappy with what they already have and instead are continually searching for ways, in their mind, to improve their quality of life. Not realizing that material items are not going to make them happy, but being there for their loved ones (and friends and strangers), will.
What kind of satisfaction do we get when we watch porn, or gamble, or buy material things? A temporary one, if that. And more often than that, if one has moral decency, guilt and shame as well.
So not only do we have the issue of spending money (and/or time) on temporary gratifications, we also have to deal with the remorse that comes after that. Now with everything, moderation is key. I’m not here to condemn anyone who chooses to do these hobbies. Although some I do feel could be eroding our conscious (and conscience) and creating a negative cycle that’s hard to get out of. But if you do feel guilt and shame, then it may be a sign to start pursuing something else.
Some helpful links that dig a little deeper into this dilemma:
- Porn Addiction Destroys Relationships, Lives – sfgate.com – Different looks into how pornography and sex addictions can have severe detrimental affects on people’s lives.
- My Online Gambling Addiction Ruined My Life – abc.net.au – Revealing confession from a man who has experienced divorce, job loss, criminal charge for theft, child neglect, financial loss, threats, destroyed relationships: all from his online gambling addiction.
- Inside the Growing Problem of Online Shopping Addiction – stylecaster.com – An important look into the minds of several addicted online shoppers – and the inner (and financial) turmoil they go through.
So why are these hobbies so damaging to our lifestyle? Well, they’ve been known to cause, in some people: divorce, financial problems, child neglect, and crimes (sometimes even all of the above). I guess one can come to the conclusion that just about anything could result in these sad situations, and while that may be true, the focus is on this topic to show the damages it can create.
Social Anxiety / Depression
The culmination of all this evidence into media addictions has boiled down to one interesting connection: higher rate of anxiety and depression.
In every single subject covered in this series, people have experienced an increase in depression, anxiety, relationship strains, and in some tragic cases, even suicide. This has been especially true in today’s children and young teens/adults – in which media/technology started becoming a prominent part of society.
Excerpts are shown detailing just some of the psychological difficulties that have arisen due to media addictions from a few of the topics covered above:
“They explained BSD (buying-shopping disorder), and particularly the online form, can cause a loop of extreme cravings for buying things and satisfaction when spending money. This can then lead to a breakdown in self-control, ‘extreme distress’, other psychiatric problems, relationship difficulties and physical clutter and debt.” – dailymail.co.uk
“Research has shown that there is an undeniable link between social media use, negative mental health, and low self-esteem. While social media platforms have their benefits, using them too frequently can make people feel increasingly unhappy and isolated. These negative emotional reactions are not only produced due to the social pressure of sharing things with others, but also the comparison of material things and lifestyles that these sites promote.” – addictioncenter.com
“Research shows that 97% of Americans 12 to 17 years old play video games, and as many as 23% of gamers of all ages show signs of addictive behavior. According to the WHO, these signs include impaired control over gaming and “continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.” And these repercussions can be seen in a person’s personal relationships, career, schoolwork, or daily life. Gaming disorder also puts people at greater risk for other detrimental issues, including:
- Sleep disturbances
- Bad moods
- Suicidal thoughts
Recognize When to Seek Help
Unfortunately, because media plays such a huge part in today’s societal norms, (case in point – my 7 year old son had to get a gmail account for school… I, personally, was not too happy with that idea), the delicate issue of people’s personal habits is something that has been ignored for far too long.
Ultimately, this should be a collaborative effort between the tech industries and the adults in charge of themselves, and especially their children, to monitor these kinds of behaviors and work towards a common solution to educate ourselves of these addictive dangers, and become consciously aware of our choices and the decisions we make. Because we can’t rely on the tech industries (after all, it has been admitted that their job was to create these programs to be as addictive as possible), then it is up to us, individually, to make the right choice and break away from this harmful lifestyle.
If you feel as if you are suffering from anxiety, depression, frustration, anger, suicidal thoughts, or anything of the like, please seek help. There are numerous support groups and phone lines that can help assist you in addressing these issues.
Disclaimer: Expanding Awareness Relations shows these links as a resource for your perusal. I take no responsibility or credit on the ability of these sites to help or hamper one’s addictive behavior.
The FOMO (fear of missing out), “dopamine hits”, social interactions (whether it’s positive or negative), etc. can all contribute to an addictive behavior of the media. Once we can recognize it and address these factors in our lives, the better self-aware we can be and more thoughtful in our actions – leading to a healing and recovery of our mind, body, and soul; and, equally as important, our relationships.
Social media = social distancing? (no, not the coronavirus “social distancing”)
If we keep allowing the media to rule our lives, the possible end result is actually quite terrifying; a literal unplugging us from life and reality, and plugging us into a virtual reality that separates us from each other more than ever before.
With the ever-looming advent of powerful AI, is our future heading towards some kind of technological dystopia? We may laugh, now, at the “silly” prospect of having a real life “Terminator” or “Matrix” on our hands, but with the terrifying onslaught into the Internet of Things, microchipping, virtual reality agenda, it is honestly a serious proposal we must consider.
Are we okay relying even more heavily into all these tecnological advances? Or will we finally realize that a return to nature (in it’s pure, uncorrupted form), is the best way for society to move forward?
In part 4, I discuss the media experiments that have taken place; starring “us”, the unwitting user. In part 5, I cover the issue of data mining our information (and our minds).
Stay tuned. (no pun intended)
Fact checking is extremely important. I want to reiterate not to take everything at face value; no matter what you read, where you read it from, or who you hear it from. And to be clear, do not rely on “fact checking” websites to give you accurate information either. These are just as likely, (if not even more likely…), to feed false information and false debunking accounts to manipulate the reader. Please take everything into consideration before adhering to a certain narrative – and always keep your mind open to other possibilities.
Fair use disclaimer: Some of the links from this article are provided from different sources/sites to give the reader extra information and cite the sources, but does not necessarily mean that I endorse the contents of the site itself. Additionally, I have tried to provide links to the contents that I used from other sites as an educational and/or entertainment means only; if you feel that any information deserves further citation or request to be clarified, please let me know through the contact page.