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Social Networks and their impact on Mental Health

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The primary objective of social networks is connecting people. Social networks are artificial ecosystems. In short, they serve as a link to reconnect or to meet people. And so, the modern world began a distant process of relativization of the “I.”This modern era seemingly opened up an immense range of alternative possibilities. That is until skepticism and personal debate triggered the hot fuss over the purpose of social media. Today the relativization of the “I” is bumping up against the “who I am” and “where I am.” The so-called metaverse calls all of these concepts into question.

If analyzed deeply, the relativization of the “I” is quite old. Not to be confused with the vanity movements, this is an entirely new thing. When a woman with curly hair undergoes chemical processes to obtain a temporary straight effect, this woman is relativizing her “I.” She is opting for a stereotype that is not necessarily more beautiful but that she likes more, but why? My theory is, over time, the development of the ‘ego’ takes a turn. These attitudes have become so common today in our society. The daily lives of people are becoming more visible.

What happens next is the relativization of the “I.” Temporary interventions become permanent. The advent of plastic surgeries and aesthetic procedures creates a perfectly attainable mathematical formula. These metrify beauty and are achievable as you pay. I call this pseudo-democratization of the ideal “I .” Universal acceptance of ideal beauty, in opposition and aversion to natural beauty. 

Put this into context. Social networks have an abundance of image resources. Think about all the image distortions. With increasing perfectionism, touch-ups and image enhancements in social media are artificially creating a new ideal. The concept of “who am” and “where am I” manifest an idealized universe. Dominated by its creators, today’s influencers rule the metaverse. I fully believe these people are causing severe damage to the psyche of those influenced.

The psychic balance is shifting but in a disturbing way.

Now, more than ever, knowledge of ‘the self’ is being damaged. Once providing important ego fulfillment like self-acceptance and psychological maturity, self-knowledge is no longer the case. So, what is happening to our mental health? Our mental health is now in the hands of influencers. They now create the reality they want for us and our existence. 

Depression and other disorders related to the faithful and fundamental concepts of “I,” “who I am,” and “where I am” are all at risk of serious harm. In the face of so many technological possibilities, filters, and other devices that allow, people need to take a closer look at what is ‘really’ happening. Is there objective truth, or are people’s mental health at risk? 

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Marcelo Henrique, PhD

Marcelo Henrique, PhD

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