The Platform


The youth of today, popularly referred to as Gen Z, comprising a set of compassionate, broad-minded, vibrant, and committed individuals, are determined to propel the world to new heights.

A multitude of factors has been their driving force, and social media constitutes one of them. Unleashing a mix of both positive and negative implications, it has become indispensable in the lives of Gen Z.

According to a study conducted at the University of Ohio, about 61% of Gen Z experienced a sense of cultural compatibility and social inclusion as a result of sustained exposure to social networking sites. Owing to their communicative advantages, the youth have significantly leveraged these social platforms to articulate their position on such aspects, thereby developing a growing consensus on the same.

While the substantial focus has been paid to the positive aspects of social media, it is important to consider the unfavorable side as well.

Social media fosters communication. However, while barriers in communication have been blurred, aspersions have been cast significantly on physical proximity, especially for Gen Z. Statistics show that nearly 60 percent of young people prefer to restrict their daily conversations to these online platforms.

Take India for example. Young Indians are one of the world’s largest consumers of social media, but they don’t grasp the importance of actual human-to-human interaction.

At a time when issues of mental health and depression have become more rampant, social networking sites make these problems worse.

In 2019, it was estimated that over 300 Indian children committed suicide related to social media usage. A study conducted by Lisa Barman on students in Kolkata found that over 90 percent of social media users experienced greater levels of stress, and changes in attitude and behavior. Social media usage can also affect something as simple as handwriting skills, inability to communicate, lack of linguistic proficiency, and loss of concentration.

If used productively, social media can change the world for the better. However, the onus is on Gen Z to understand and harness social media responsibly.

Ainesh Dey is an incoming freshman at St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. Ainesh's interests include diplomacy, foreign policy, advocacy and regulatory affairs in light of a rapidly changing sequence of events and a dramatic shift in the geopolitical equilibrium.