Brainwashing: Social Media

A picture of a home screen to display the types of social media

Nearly 9 percent of the population will develop an eating disorder, 65 percent of the population have reported that they trust traditional news outlets, and 10 percent of the population admitted to reporting fake news at least once in their life. Do those statistics sound like something in need of change? Does 9 percent not sound like too much? 9 percent is 720 million people. To stop this brainwashing of falsities, we suggest educating yourself on how to spot fake news, spending time away from the Internet, and advocating for the abdication of fake news. The first step of further education is found within yourself. Come to the realization that not everything you see is true and remember this while reading. Have a critical mindset and check your source and images. Professional global news agencies have rigorous editorial guidelines. They only hire trained reporters and have enough fame that they do not need to sway you with a fake news story.

Spending your time scrolling through bikini models on TikTok and comparing yourself to them for the next hour is dragging you down the rabbit hole. You must understand that these people, male or female, are showing themselves in the best light. Terri Zischang, mom of one, feels, “kids will believe everything they see; they are innocent and gullible, so I think it is very dangerous for them to be exposed at such a young age (to social media), especially in the world we live in today.” Eating disorders are among the most commonly associated disorders that come with social media. You scroll through bodybuilders’ Instagrams claiming to be natural but show up to the competition failing the drug test four times. There is nothing preventing them from posting themselves with the caption “all-natural,” while still photoshopping their image. Young children often do not understand the truth. Some eating disorder symptoms include low body weight, hiding food, eating alone, and binging and purging. If you know someone who shows these symptoms, talk to them and guide them to help.

Madi Berry, 21, expresses, “if you are somehow caught spreading the wrong information, I think it is important to get punished for that. It is not an ethical way to get somebody’s attention, and a fine of some sort might do the trick to help stop fake news.” This is a point that would need to go through court to become lawful, but something the average person can do is choose to stop consuming fake news. Choose to stop buying certain tabloids that you have done your research on and that you know are fake. “We can spread the word on how to determine if articles, or TikToks, are inaccurate, and how to report it so it can get taken down,” Berry finishes.

The solution starts with you. Educate yourself on what is fake or not, choose time away from the Internet, and advocate for the stop of fake news. Instead of burying your head and ignoring the brainwashing of social media, stand to make a change. If you are struggling with this, reach out for help.