Character cannot be bought: the digital “cool” facade

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ART BY HAZUKI TONOMURA

By CAROL LI 
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF 

    “How come your earphones still has wires? Where are your Air-pods?”

    It is no secret that today’s society places an extreme emphasis on materialistic factors. With a quick glance at someone’s outfit or the items they own, we immediately have an initial perception of the personalities or even social status of the particular individual. 

  Although this practice seems extremely shallow, it is understandable that society’s mindset has changed; with the excessive updating of technology and innovative designs, it is easy to become wrapped up in emphasising material goods in our lives. 

  Despite this, it is important to take a step back and realize that, instead of defining a person through their possessions, people should come to an understanding of what truly encompasses a person’s identity: their character. 

  Personally, I believe that character has taken a backseat in today’s world. For example, social media has impacted the way many adolescents view their peers. Through apps such as Instagram, teenagers have a new priority–not to be kind-hearted people, but to boast about their accomplishments or strive to be aesthetically beautiful.    

   Moreover, with the use of social media apps, it is easier for brands to market their items through celebrity figures, correlating the idea of becoming cool with the particular products that appear in famous individuals’ posts.

  Indirectly, this online world is detrimental to the future because of the message that teeneragers receive on these platforms. A simple post advertising high-end brands appear to be harmless, however, we must remember the specific audience that is targeted: teenagers. 

  Essentially, adolescents are the leaders of that future. If we condition the next generation to believe that what matters most are superficial measures such as presence on social media, how will we react in the future to political issues? Will these future leaders neglect environmental problems or the lack of governmental support simply because it does not directly affect them, or their “coolness?”

  Not only has social media become a large aspect of our lives, but also the items that individuals own. Especially in high school, it is a popular assumption that certain students have a higher social status simply because they own expensive clothing and are able to afford the latest model of phones. How these “popular” individuals treat others or where their moral values lie are likely not to be taken into consideration, which emphasizes our shallow, judgemental society even more. 

  In addition, if everyone is obsessed with the idea of gaining the same products or style of fashion, it would strip the world away from uniqueness, since more people would be focused on conforming to wear specific pieces of clothing, rather than attempting to express their own style. 

  The impact of the cookie cutter implication may be extremely negative. Since adolescents are taught not to express their personal flair, they may also feel as if their opinions or beliefs may be insignificant to the majority, which may lead to difficulty in expressing individuality, both physically and emotionally.

  This should not be how the future of the world should be trained to think. Instead of being held up in the virtual realm of technology or physical appearance, younger generations should be taught that it is extremely necessary to not become self-absorbed. 

      Consequently, it is still perfectly fine to scroll through your Twitter feed, update your Facebook status, and post images on your Instagram account. Despite this, it is important to remember that not everything is about social media or possessing the latest technology. As a result, individuals should focus on developing upon their own character, and never be afraid to speak out for what is right.

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