Sunday, May 28, 2023

The Curse of Endless Scrolling

We have addicted ourselves to mindlessly and perpetually scrolling our social feed. This is not only depressing but also very concerning. Thanks to apps like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, InShorts, Google News, LinkedIn, Twitter and many more that aren't even mentioned here - chose your pick, they all work in the exact same way. 

We are so hooked to the endless scroll that we do that at every single opportunity, in the lifts, buses, trains, driving a car, restaurants, with friends, without friends, in washrooms, its omnipresent. Whats worse is that even children are getting hooked to this. It impacts the adults but it impacts the children more. This addictive and unending nature of scrolling comes with its own set of consequences.

  • It is killing the creativity of our children. Boredom is a gateway to creativity, but with endless scrolling there is no time left to get bored. We just open our favourite social app and start munching on it. 
  • Its manufacturing an entire generation of distracted people. The addiction to social feed is so deep that we can't even turn off notification on our phones while we are at work or even while at the dinning table with family. We have shorter and shorter attention span, this can have detrimental effects on academic performance, work productivity, and overall cognitive abilities.
  • The frog in the well effect. The entire feed is driving by algorithms, it is carefully curated based on the persons interest, behaviour and life events. It is tuned to reinforce what the person already knows or thinks they know. This causes spread of false information like wild fire. For e.g. people believing junk forwards floating around on WhatsApp to be true and fall victim of propaganda marketing. 
  • The FOMO. Social feeds inclined to highlight reels of other people's lives, leading to a constant stream of comparison and a fear of missing out (FOMO). This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, and even depression, as individuals constantly compare their own lives to the seemingly perfect lives portrayed online. This is a huge problem, its painful to watch people falling prey to FOMO, showing off, living beyond their means, buying things that they can't afford forcing bigger and bigger EMI's and credit card bills. 
  • Present but absent syndrome. So many times we sit with friends and family to have a meal and all of us are busy on our phones. We are physically present, but mentally absent. We seem to care more about virtual people and their lives, rather than those who are right in front of us at the very moment! Endless scrolling leads to a decline in real-life interactions. The young generation may find it challenging to engage in conversations, build personal connections, and establish a sense of belonging in the real world.
I am more concerned about the next generation of young people, this one behaviour can have disastrous consequences. Social apps should start caring a little more about actual people and not just focus on maximising their profits!
Have some Fun!