This generation dominates the social media world, where self-presentation online becomes more imperative in an age in which every detail of someone’s life is posted all over the Internet.
“I think people use social media as a way to build their self-esteem and to validate themselves,” said Hannah Wolfe, sophomore public relations major. “People post things dependent on what they want others to view them as.”
People have the ability to write and edit their statuses, filtering all of their content to ensure they only present the best versions of themselves to the world.
“I think there is, within every human heart, the natural response of wanting to personify or put this image that’s really not based on the reality of who they are,” said Tyler Perry, senior applied theology major. “They play the game of comparison to others a lot of the time.”
Perry admits being pulled into the world of perfect posts for the sake of the “likes” and “followers”.
“Every time I get on Facebook someone is always being torn down,” said Steffano Oyanader, junior biomedical engineering major. “It’s just continuous harassment regardless of their opinion or what they post.”
A study conducted by Indiana State University professors found 15 percent of college students admit to being bullied and 22 percent of those students reported it as cyber bullying.
Another study by the University of Washington found college girls who are being cyber bullied were three times more likely to be considered clinically depressed.
“Bullies use social media to victimize people because they can corner them in a way where the person can be alone in their room,” Wolfe said. “They’re not bullying them in front of a big crowd of people so I feel like it’s a lot more personal, even if people might not realize it.”
Perry said the desire to please others, for the sake of acceptance, can come with repercussions.
“I’ve heard it be said that if you live for people’s acceptance, you’ll die from their rejection,” Perry said. ”I think that’s partly due to us settling for less and expecting others to tell us who we should be instead of who we want ourselves to be.”