Do Thi Hai An – Vietnam

  • May 12, 2020 at 1:43 pm #2620
    Huong Nguyen

    Name: Do Thi Hai An
    Assignment 02 Submission

    Please write a short paragraph of less than 300 words on the negative personal effects of social media on youth in your community or country. Have you or someone you know experienced depression, cyberbullying, or other negative result of using social media? How was it handled, if at all? What is the youth social media culture in your country? Can youth take a stand and change the culture?
    The social media firstly creates a false sense of self for the youth. Glamorous pictures, luxury lifestyle, romantic relationships, etc. easily capture people’s attention and moves our concentration to the wrong goals. Instead of working hard and enjoying the process, the pressure coming from the seemingly-perfect life on social media makes us feel helpless and stressed. Secondly, young people are more prone to privacy violence since we are one of the first generations who are exposed to technology in its early development. The fun of sharing can quickly become someone’s nightmare with a simple click. Since our world becomes globally connected with the assistance of Facebook, we cannot help but sharing something about ourselves. What we share later get exploited for personal schemes or commercial use. Though the data comes from us, once they are on social media or even via messages, we no longer control how they are used. Finally, in a constantly-connected world, people are losing contact with each other as we spend more time with computers and smartphones. Since we can mask and decorate ourselves with whatever we want, we strive for the non-existent perfect image to connect. Meanwhile, the genuine connection involves accepting other’s flaws but the number of likes on Facebook does not seem to illustrate that. All in all, the youth is struggling with self-image, digital safety, and relationships in the time of social media.
    I used to experience depression. It started when I was in 1st year of my university. I started using Facebook for the first time when I went to university. I felt confused when I tried to talk to people and did not receive the reply, or how they treat me differently when we meet in person. Besides that, I was never the pretty girl as my body has always been criticized. Once, I was tagged in a friend’s picture, I was later commented on my weight and how poorly I dressed in that picture. Since then, I have tried not to post anything or get tagged in any picture. Gradually, I questioned my existence when I saw my Facebook profile and compared it with my friends’. At the end of my 1st year, I was diagnosed with depression. I withdraw from Facebook for a while and started focusing more on myself, such as joining a book club and doing volunteer. I get better then but the feeling of non-existence, not enough, and scared is still inside me when I spend too much time watching others’ Facebook.
    In my country, social media plays an important role. Firstly, many people get news from Facebook, Zalo, and they even trust the news more than the mainstream newspaper. Since Facebook is a place to display, many similar patterns can be found in most but not all people. For example, single girls or boys will post their beautiful pictures with some flirty or hidden caption. However, when we meet them in person, they may deny looking for partners or even turn down on potential ones. In some cases, they may not be even single but still act like one to receive more attention.
    I strongly believe that the youth can take a stand and change the culture. From what I can see, people are growing up and starts questioning the authenticity of what others share on Facebook too. After struggling, I have found more people who are also working on themselves and set them apart from social media’s influence. Another reason is that we can never find satisfaction from short-term pleasure. It feels good to be liked on Facebook but thousands of likes cannot help a person from depression. The youth is equipped with not only the technology but also love and passions. Even we can get lost sometimes, we still always try our best to find ways and move up.
    In your opinion, is excessive use of social media by youth an addiction? Are the damaging effects as bad as drinking or drugs?
    In my opinion, the excessive use of social media by youth can be considered as an addiction. Thought the effects are not direct but overuse of social media can lead to both mental and physical damages. Take Facebook for example, after opening the page, we then keep surfing the endless news and notification for no reason for hours. As when we look at our Facebook friends’ picture, we may start comparing ourselves with them and feel depressed. While we want to have a healthy and fit body, we normally just sit there editing our Facebook pictures or envying our friends instead of doing the real workout.
    It is said that use of social media reduces job and academic performance either by wasting time or by consistent mental distractions. Do you think this is true or false and why?
    This is true but not complete. We human being have always been so good at being proscatinators. Social media is one of many distractions but not the first one or the last one.
    Please write a paragraph of 400 words or less on whether social media played a role in government elections or politics in your community or country? Have you experienced “Fake News” in your country? Have you observed the attempted manipulation of public opinion using social media as a platform? Has any social media networking been shut down or censored?
    In my country, social media can make an official look worse or better but it does not affect the government elections. Politics is another story since many opposing groups of people have tried to exploit social media for their benefits. They may create many stories and spread them on social media, thus creating different conspiracy theories. Honestly, I find the information on social media sometimes very appealing. The mainstream media agencies in Vietnam are controlled by the Government and the Communist Party, therefore, in some ways, the information is one-sided and incomplete. Another reason is that many events are not even publicized or mentioned if they are not accepted by the Communist Party. Though it can be considered as a method for politics, the mainstream newspaper seems to be losing in comparison with social media news and updates. Fake news is quite popular in Vietnam nowadays. They can be covered as news or articles related to some important figures in Vietnam, or an anonymous post on Facebook. Since the news in Vietnam is not transparent and updated, many people can quickly feel worried after reading an article discussing the President’s poor health. Around 2017, there is a demonstration against the Law on special economic zone law. Social media was filled with many videos showing how vulnerable people were hit or abused by the police. Later, it was confirmed that these people used violence and even weapons to attack others first. However, the videos still stirred a great conflict in people. In Vietnam, many websites are prohibited, and the BBC is one of them.
    Please write a paragraph of 300 words or less on whether current social media “Influencers” are having a positive or a negative effect on youth in your country? Are they “Influencing” the right subjects and actions? Please be specific and provide names.
    Influencers in Vietnam are encouraging both positive and negative effects on youth in Vietnam. Take Ngoc Trinh, a famous lingerie model for example. She became well-known for her controversial statements and lifestyle. She talks about money and does not hesitate to show how rich she is on social media. I have a cousin who wants to become like Ngoc Trinh. She used to tell me that money is everything and only beautiful people are allowed to be happy. However, besides seemingly-negative influencers, some people encourage young people to be more self-aware and work hard for what they want. “Giang ơi youtube channel attracts more than one million subscribers, and she shares with people her point of view, encouraging the young people to be more honest but also caring. Her tips on IELTS help my examination and some of her videos are the reason why we pay more attention to the outside life. All in all, It is hard to say which influence is the right one, however, certainly, influencers can encourage one way or another, especially on the youth.
    Is there a lack of positive role models in your community or country? Does social media make it better or worse? What kind of role models would you like to see leading the voice on social media? How can you and your peers make that happen?
    There are role models in my community but they are outweighed by the negative models. The negative models can easily stir up controversy and draw people to gossip about them while the positive role models seem to be boring. The social media help both models, whether negative or positive, to be more popular, however, the effect is unpredictable as we haven’t conducted a thorough research. It looks as if the positive role models can make people envy instead of promoting their values. On the other hand, the negative role models are considered as more honest and closer to the young people’s life. I would love to see more of people who can share their personal development even with simple things. The results and the scale of achievements are still more valued than the process and personal transformation. Therefore, I sometimes find myself avoiding the typical positive role models in the news. They look like genius to me, so I cannot relate to them much. Changes come from within each of us. Even though I am still on my way, I believe one day, I can be someone to inspire people with my little experience.
    Do social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook lead to narcissism—an effort to get self-attention? Is it leading to the “look at me” syndrome? How is that damaging to the poster and to the reader?
    In my opinion, narcissism is not created by Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, but it can be discovered or amplified with the users of social media. The “look at me” syndrome is different because it comes from our desires and needs to be acknowledged. The unlimited likes and constant comparison on Facebook can make ourselves greedier and hungrier for the attention, especially when we unconsciously believe that we are not enough. Social media does a good job of keeping the circle running. Once you enter the game, you always want more, and when you see people having more, you will feel less. The idea that you have to achieve something or show that you surpass others can be dangerous since it never makes us happy. The problem is that both the poster and the readers can be the victims and the causes at the same time, constantly changing roles and manifesting this sense of lacking.
    Is it possible for youth to show the self-discipline to limit themselves to 2 hours a day on social media?
    It is certainly possible since I have tried it myself. Instead of avoiding the social media, I find things that I am passionate about to work on, such as joining Pencil Philosophy, a non-profit project, studying with Kectil, reading books, exercising with friends, etc. Once we start doing what we love, we may find ourselves being addicted to another thing but in a healthier way.
    A positive aspect of social media is education and awareness. Please describe a few examples where youth in your community have learned about an issue or subject and reacted appropriately to address a situation because of a social media campaign.
    I think social media has done a good job of promoting LGBT rights and the community. Stories and information about the LGBT community gradually gained people’s care and empathy, especially young people. The young people in Vietnam find it easier for the differences in sexuality and genders than the previous generations. For example, ISEE, an NGO in Vietnam has conducted many interviews and research showing the inside of LGBT, which creates a sense of acceptance to the readers.

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