Narcissism, a term derived from the Greek myth about a young handsome Greek youth called Narcissus who fell in love with himself, is a Psychological condition characterized by excessive self-love and egotistic admiration of one’s idealised self-image and attribute. The use of social networking sites has tripled in the last few years. At the moment, social media platforms influence what we eat, say, wear and most importantly how we think. With so many social networking sites, internet users in Nigeria keep hopping from one to another. Recent studies are now reporting that we are living in an increasingly narcissistic society. Relax, this is not an academic post, I promise, it will be fun.
We live in a world where the numbers of “Likes” on an Instagram post is more celebrated than validation from a close friend or family member, where people prefer talking with social friends rather than real friends. Data from a study conducted in America showed that narcissistic personality among college students rose just as fast as obesity from the 1980s to the present. Narcissism is becoming an epidemy in America, and with the current pace, Nigeria is not far behind. So, who should be blamed for this generational increase in Narcissistic behaviour?
Social media, yeah, I said it, Social media. Since the advent of Facebook a couple of years ago, researchers have reported a positive correlation between Facebook usage and narcissism. Studies have indicated that people who score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory Questionnaire tend to have more friends on Facebook, tag themselves more often in photos and update their statuses more frequently, sounds scary right? I’m not done. According to American researcher, Laura Buffadi, “Narcissists use Facebook and other social networking sites because they believe others are interested in what they’re doing, and they want others to know what they are doing.”
As a rule, social media sites encourage self-promotion, as users generate all of the content. People often utilize Facebook “to look important, look special and to gain attention, followers, status and self-esteem”. On Social media, nearly everyone presents an unrealistic portrait of themselves, most people select the most attractive photos of themselves to use as profile pictures, populate their newsfeeds with the most attractive bits of information about themselves.
To curb this growing narcissistic generation, the solution is to inculcate a healthy sense of true self-esteem offline before anyone is old enough to upload their first status update. Only by being less self-obsessed and placing more value on personal relating can we impart these values to the next generation.
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