‘It Is Toxic’: Gen Z Leave Major Social Media Platforms

Photo created by Alexander Shatov via Unsplash

‘It Is Toxic’: Gen Z Leave Major Social Media Platforms

By Movieguide® Staff

According to a handful of recent surveys, Gen Z is turning their back on major social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

A Fall 2021 survey conducted by investment bank Piper Sandler revealed that only 22% of those surveyed—between the ages of 7 and 22—named Instagram their favorite app.

In Spring 2020, that same number was up at 31%.

“When you delete it you realize you don’t need it,” 20-year-old Gabriella Steinerman told The New York Post of her motivation to stop using TikTok and Instagram in 2019.

“When I was posting I wanted the best photo that I took and the best angle and I had 20 different photos of the same thing. I was comparing myself to myself, it’s not a fun game,” Steinerman added. “I would say it’s an obsessive behavior and it is toxic, but it’s also sneaky in that when you do it, it seems so normal.”

If the dangers of social media were once murky, last year’s report from the Wall Street Journal on leaked Facebook documents put the harmful business models under the spotlight.

Movieguide® previously reported:

In an internal report obtained by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook confessed that Instagram hurts teenagers’ self-esteem.

“Teens told us that they don’t like the amount of time they spend on the app but feel like they have to be present,” an Instagram research manager wrote. “They often feel ‘addicted’ and know that what they’re seeing is bad for their mental health but feel unable to stop themselves.”

Derek Thompson, a writer for The Atlantic, responded to the WSJ’s article by noting that social media is “attention alcohol.”

“It has some beneficial qualities, but it’s not naturally wholesome,” Thompson said. “Many [people] use it often and love it and are basically okay. But a lot of people abuse it and develop unhealthy compulsions with it. Also, it’s functionally a depressant.”

More and more young users are ditching social media as its negative effect on mental health becomes more evident.

A recent Tallo survey found that 56% of Gen Zers said “social media has led them to feel left out by their peers.”

The survey also noted that younger generations are more interested in TikTok. However, even as the most popular video-sharing app on the market, users are starting to question the benefits of addicting platforms.

But body-image and low self-esteem issues for young female users are only at the surface of TikTok’s potential to harm its users.

According to two former TikTok moderators, explicitly sexual and graphic content finds its way onto the app, nestled among seemingly harmless challenge videos.

Read Also: New Report Discovers TikTok Exposes Minors to Explicit Content and Drug Usage

Movieguide® previously reported:

Two former TikTok moderators are suing the video sharing app after claiming they experienced emotional trauma after seeing “highly toxic and extremely disturbing” videos every day.

TikTok moderators review videos posted on the app and determine if they break any of the site’s content rules and guidelines.

“We would see death and graphic, graphic pornography. I would see nude underage children every day,” Ashley Velez said. “I would see people get shot in the face, and another video of a kid getting beaten made me cry for two hours straight.”

Velez and another moderator, Reece Young, have filed a federal lawsuit seeking class action status against TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.

“You see TikTok challenges, and things that seem fun and light, but most don’t know about this other dark side of TikTok that these folks are helping the rest of us never see,” said lawyer Steve Williams of the Joseph Saveri Law Firm, which filed the case.

The list of reasons to leave social media giants behind continues to grow for young users, and should encourage parents to practice and teach media discernment.

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