Expert GD Moderators Group Discussion

Instagram is a scam and you're not realizing it

Cris Jain writes in his book venus in arms that “an overindulgence of anything, even something as pure as water can intoxicate”.

To define the problem of our culprit in mobile applications, Instagram let us first explain why social media is generally addictive and what do we really mean by this word ‘addiction’. Many people have not yet understood or woken up to the truth that technology and artificial intelligence is watching you. The majority of us view it as nonproblematic but once you realize that social media pertains to a certain kind of behavioral addiction. Meaning we are overly concerned about social media and this behavioral urge makes us want to keep using it. 

Social media addiction can come in two forms, mainly physical and psychological. According to a university study in Harvard, self-disclosure on social networking sites lights up the same part of the brain that also ignites when you consume an addictive substance. 

Instagram, is a very rewarding application as it provides people with a ‘you - are - accepted’ mentality, when in reality that might not be the case. Hence people who are suffering from grave mental illnesses like depression, sickness, etc will keep wanting to go back to it every time they feel down or people don't understand them. 

The thought of sharing content online activates a very important part of our brain. We are in fact so obsessed with this gen z culture of sharing and posting that picture you took just this morning. Dopamine is released in your brain when you post and people interact with your post – the same chemical that’s associated with addiction. Ok, people – so the draw of Instagram is real. And you can get people addicted to your account. We stay connected to this application all the time and we end up sharing almost 80% of our lives here. Instagram says that young users are the key to its success. And it is about right because more than 40% of its users are 22 years old or younger. The psychology that runs on your mind while you use the application is that of a wheel of fortune. You have been scrolling not knowing that your mind is wanting to pull off an invisible reward from the bottom of your screen, the more you scroll the more the algorithm knows you, the closer you're to getting that reward which is 0.000001% away but you are guaranteed to never get. Users are constantly posting about their jobs, love life, money, expensive designer bags they just brought, clothes, and only the better side. they draw curtains to the negative side making us think that every influencer we know is better off and happy, while we are stuck in a loop of one problem after the other. This constant base of comparison makes us want to feel less worthy and this is the psychology that Instagram buys traffic on. FOMO also known as the Gen-Z way of saying ‘fear of missing out, is simply a pervasive apprehension of the thought that if you miss out on this, you are missing out on something that others are being rewarded on. The higher level of FOMO the more engagement we gift these social media applications. 

Facebook knew for years that Instagram is bad for teenage girls because 31% of the teens who used it reported that they felt very bad about their bodies due to the constant comparison that they had to go through every time they logged into the platform. But no action was taken on this as technology and artificial intelligence are built on the sole idea of drawing in traffic and algorithms.

The constant sea of perfectly filtered photos, competition for likes and comments, traffic, money, and views are only going to keep going, and if we don't find a way to put a stop to this by ourselves we will at the end of the day find it hard to not be addicted to this scam. Our future is precious and so is the present, therefore the thought of sacrificing it for unrealistic acceptance is a complete lie. We must learn to embrace the real and limit the control these devices have on us cause Instagram is man-made, not vice versa.  

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