The twenty-first century has been significantly marked by post-traumatic stress disorder. While the reason behind this is up for debate, the obvious connection between this century and its predecessor is the increased technological awareness and consequent usage. Of more notable importance is the use of social media platforms as sites for global communication. Statistical experts assert that as of the year 2019, the number of social media users will stand at 2.7 Billion; a drastic rise from the 2014 figure (1.9 Billion) (Thio 124). This suggests that social media affect the daily lives of people all over the world, more than said persons would care to admit. In retrospect issues such as racism, gender inequality, and chauvinism and sexism have been explored lengthily on social media sites and, more often than not, these debates have had negative effects on society. The rate at which social media are growing definitely illustrates that it will continue to impact development across all their pillars. While some analytical scholars assert that social media has only affected development within the social pillar, the larger percentage agree that its effects cut across the physical, economic, and environmental pillars as well. This then postulates that in truth, it may be one of the significantly larger determinants for development.
The general misconception across the board is that social networking began following the onset of the 21st century. However, the concept came into existence in the early 1980s. The first site, as records have it, was Bulletin Board System and CompuServe; both were businesses sited and allowed members a platform to share business files, news, and events. This was then followed closely by Yahoo, Amazon, and Classmates.com which came into existence in the 1990s. Upon the onset of the 21st century, Friendster launched in 2002, LinkedIn in 2003, Myspace in 2003, and Facebook in 2004. This set networking into full gear and gave rise to the myriads of social networking sites in existence today. As previously asserted, social networking has had negative effects on the larger part of the population. Among these negative effects is the occurrence of PTSD resulting from negative interactions and observations on networking sites. A good example of the dysfunctional relationship can be observed with perceptions created surrounding service persons in the military (Thio 59). This paper intends to address the relationship between PTSD and social networking; more so as regards the military.
Social networking has allowed for the occurrence of “vicarious traumatization.” This concept is centered on the occurrence of psychological trauma following trauma of other people. For instance, grotesque images on accidents leave the audience in question traumatized as well even though the discomfort wasn’t directly applied to them (British Psychological Society 1). Military tragedies are a common source of “vicarious traumatization” on social media. This is through the constant posting of images that illustrate physical torture that militants undergo, more so, in the event of war.
Furthermore, social networking sites have been known to contribute to the reoccurrence of PTSD. According to a report conducted by the British Psychological Society, 68% percent of domestic violence survivors asserted that they had re-experienced PTSD following unfavorable interactions on social media. Following this assertion, it is, therefore, easy to conclude that militants and their loved ones may be re-exposed to PTSD long after the effects have subsided. Notably, this would then force them to restart the healing process and it is very likely that PTSD would occur with even heavier impact (Thio 92).
In the report postulated above, it was also established that the majority of persons that experience PTSD on social networking sites have outgoing extroverted personalities. This is because these kinds of persons tend to draw their energy from external surroundings, and therefore any psychological trauma could mar their wellbeing significantly. Introverts, on the other hand, draw their energies from their internal makeup and are more advantaged
Notably, in comparison to other communication platforms such as the mainstream media, social media do not embody healthy warnings. For instance, if a TV station is about to air content that would psychologically harm its audience, they put out warnings such “the following images may be upsetting” or “the following program contains scenes of nudity and violence.” In this way, people are able to avoid exposing themselves to traumatic effects beforehand (British Psychological Society 1).
Following the above, it is evident that social media, especially through visual representation, define incidences of tragedy. As previously pointed out, the general conception of matters regarding the military has been severely affected. Consequently, rather than allow for social media to define the life of a militant to the general public, it would be best to have face-to-face programs where the matter can be addressed (Thio 111). In this way, the public can learn from the militants themselves on the nature of lives they lead. This would be, especially beneficial for the millennial generation whose recruitment is required Notably, this group of persons engage in social networking. They spend their valuable time on social sites, which reduces the interaction with friends and parents.
The face-to-face programs would result in the humanization of militants. In this way, both civilians and militants could understand each other’s positions and develop healthy interactions with post-military life. While this lack of understanding existed long before the onset of social networking sites, the latter has served to worsen the situation (Thio 167). PTSD is not an issue that should be handled lightly. Consequently, allowing networking sites to propel the portrayal of militants severely hurts all parties involved. Essentially, proper monitoring of the images and content released on social sites is vital. A control unit should be mandated with that task. The persons found guilty of murder should face the law. If such measures are effected, PSTD would reduce significantly.
Social media have had limited positive effects on PTSD. This can be observed in the posting of hopeful messages for survivors of tragedies such as rape and domestic violence. Besides, it cannot entirely be assumed that the relationship between PTSD and social networking only bears negativity. The assertion that extroverts are the more exposed to PTSD allows for there to be a primary target audience for the proposed solution. Notably, this is not to say that these persons would be the only affected but rather they are targeted. Psychological scholars state that the majority of persons, although drawn to social media, is inadequately prepared for their negative elements. It is importance that people are aware of the risks that may come off social networking in the long run. In this context, to curb the menace in question it is best to ensure that warning is given across all sites as do mainstream media. Notably, while it can be deduced that those posting on military life intend to draw empathy from the audience, the result is that the society feels the need to alienate militants so as to avoid causing further psychological pain. Social media have grown rapidly but in their wake so has PTSD; said issue can no longer be overlooked.
- British Psychological Society. “Releases/2015.” 6 May 2015. Science Daily Website. 21
- Manganaro, C. “Millitary Millenials.” June 2016. The Millitary Leader Website. 21 November
- Thio, A.,Taylor,J.D. Social Problems. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012.