When does the anguish of adolescence become a compulsive need for affirmation? When does this anguish become pathological narcissism? To begin with, we can look at the devices in our hands. Unsurprisingly, millions of young people are obsessed with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media. Daily or even hourly, they post pictures of themselves and their whereabouts, as if the world had total interest in the details of their daily lives. But what is it really to them and what is their long-term impact on us?
Questions always done to psychologists specializing in self-image and self-esteem:
Are we just seeing the kind of self-involvement that is inherent in adolescent behavior? “Look at me, am I or am I not special?” Or is it a growing reflection of narcissism among our general population? “Look at me, or
Cultural critics often say it is the latter, that the presence of social media has led to an epidemic of narcissism, and although I do not deny its contribution, I have a slightly different perspective. Could not the two trends be truer and perhaps even interconnected? Is it not possible that millions of insecure teenagers, like those of previous generations, are doing what they always do? Adolescents are by nature self-preoccupied, and “finding oneself” is a fundamental passage for their adult life. But with so many accessible locations likely to be encouraging more narcissistic behavior, and as a result, perhaps this virtual playground is shaping its most vulnerable users.
Since the emergence of mobile technology, computers, mobile phones, iPads these devices are in the hands of our children, often since their infancy. In high school, they use them for homework, exploration, communication and connection. In high school, “no smartphone is left behind”, and with that come the texts, tweets and uninterrupted selfies. Poses, or carefully crafted portraits, serve as stars for your own reality show, seeking approval from your fan base and friends. No eye contact, no face-to-face interaction. Everyone does this because everyone does.
Typical teens self-concern are with: “who I am” and “who I want to be” have gone from the privacy of their homes to be shared with hundreds, if not thousands, of other people, as well as with followers answers or instant feedback, whether positive, negative, personal or anonymous, is those kind of attention that reinforces the desire for more.
If our young people grow up believing that others can nurture their self-esteem, consolidate their identity and provide security, this can interfere with learning how to provide it for themselves. For a teenager hungry for acceptance among peers, social media is like water in the desert. “If I had more followers on Twitter, more friends on Facebook or more ‘tanned’ on Instagram, maybe I’d feel better about myself!” These attention opportunities are huge, varied, and expanding every day, but to really understand the difference between adolescent self-absorption and pathological narcissism, it is useful to see the underlying dynamics. Teens naturally use their peers and subculture to gain confidence and self-awareness. They trust others to reassure themselves until they are able to provide for themselves. Narcissists, on the other hand, never develop this emotional ability. Pathological narcissism is not simply going through self-absorption; is a failure to create a solid and cohesive self. The result? A chronic and desperate need for attention, a desire for continued external sources-for example, affection, sex, wealth, and power-to feel secure and protected, while the self-absorbed teenager may be irritated and challenged when asked to separate from his mobile devices, the narcissist may feel a deep and intolerable void when access is denied.
“Narcissism is associated with various interpersonal dysfunctions, including the general inability to maintain long-term healthy interpersonal relationships, low levels of commitment to love relationships, aggression in response to perceived threats to self-esteem, and unethical and exploitative behaviors such as academic dishonesty, white collar crime and destructive behavior in the workplace, “write the researchers in their study. “At the same time, narcissism has an apparently positive relationship with some psychological health indicators, such as self-esteem and emotional stability, and the evidence suggests that narcissists tend to emerge as leaders.”
Young people negotiate the social boundaries of morality / immorality, order / disorder; prepare and deploy specific skills in their handiwork; and maintain a sense of control. By being naked on the internet, young people feel a sense of well-being and belonging, engaging in “intimate manual labor”.
Repetitive and sensory activities changes the way our brains process information. Such concerns expressed decades ago when children began watching television in their homes, when video game systems entered the living room and when personal walkmans introduced. Some researchers argue that concerns about the impacts of social media development are not new – a typical and alarmist approach to technology that adults do not understand.
Teens and adults like to “hang up” and relax by rolling social media. Many find it a relaxing getaway. One way to upgrade. Some may call this a happy place. In small doses, that may just be it.
How Social Networking Abuse Occurs:
There is nothing too technical about how people abuse other people on social networks. It is actually very simple: people lie. There are, of course, more complicated technical ways, such as hacking into user accounts, accessing email address lists, and finding and posting fake photos for the attacker to appear as someone he or she is not. Regardless, abuse happens when people lie and, unfortunately, is becoming more common as social networking sites start to grow.
An open door for predators
Here is the most common scenario for social network predators:
• The predator opens an account using a false name and date of birth.
• The predator will post a photo of someone else, usually a photo of someone the same age as the “target group” of predators.
• The predator is then open to rummage through social networking sites such as a 16-year-old girl when, in fact, the predator is a 42-year-old pedophile.
Unfortunately, sexual predators are not the only social network abusers; there are also cyber bullies.
While social media can encourage existing trends, it takes much more that narcissism flourishes in a culture.