How Gen Z Can Reach a State of Digital Flourishing

Tyler Rice
A long time ago, a generation of cavemen was born with fire already invented. Even though fire made their lives more comfortable than their parents', they had to learn how to avoid the flames devouring entire forests.

Gen Z's relationship with Technology is similar today. Their generation grew up in an era of technology and the internet, so many things are easier for them. But learning how to relate to the digital world in a way that benefits them more than harms their health is also a challenge. The flames of digital devices can also devour our well-being, and Gen Z knows that. 

Emma Lembka, a rising sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis who created the Log Off Movement, describes in an interview with The New York Times what healthy Technology - specifically social media - usage should look like. She says: "Healthy use of social media would be any interaction where the user feels as if they are benefiting and that their health is not being harmed. It's mentally logging off for a second and reflecting upon what makes you happiest and why you're on social media."

However, with the rise of social media use among teenagers, depression, anxiety, and suicide rates have also increased. Although there are no direct correlations, there is evidence that some platforms have worsened young people's mental health issues. One in three teenage girls experiences body-image concerns due to Instagram, according to Facebook research documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal by whistleblower Frances Haugen. It appears that the flames are consuming the mental health of our future generations, and we don't seem to notice. 

Our goal should be to use technology and social media in a way that benefits us and does not harm our health. Ultimately, an unhealthy relationship with social media and technology, in general, can lead to individuals having issues at school, at work, and home.
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