Always looking over our shoulder

The internet has given us fantastic empowerment in so many ways, yet there are still one or two drawbacks that are going to be felt for generations to come. As a former child therapist, the one that sticks out for me is the way our young people are totally taken over by the need to present an online persona that is Liked and accepted.

The way this shows up is in constantly checking (all night sometimes) to see if people have Liked a comment or responded to something important, or said something that they need to know by the next time they meet if they are not to seem out of the circle.

Not so long ago (a year?? where did it go?) I portrayed this ‘danger of gathering Likes’ by illustrating a mousetrap about to slam shut on an unsuspecting child gathering from a pile of Likes (instead of cheese!).

The other day, I realised it is also possible to show this danger in more subtle ways. So I drew in graphite a quite studious girl looking over her shoulder, sort of ‘out of the picture’, to something she can see but we can’t. All I needed to do then was add the words – I wanted these to fit the form of her shoulder in terms of shape.

The finished image then reminded me that ‘would-be studious’ youngsters are popping pills at an alarming rate now to help them stay awake to study – which wouldn’t really be necessary if they weren’t on their phones (for fear of missing out) at 2 in the morning. It’s all very sad, because social media is wonderful in so many other ways.

This was the final image. I toned it all in a shade of red. After adding the background, I erased it in parts with a semi-opaque eraser tool to emphasise the grinding-down result of the stress that all this internet/social media stuff is causing people.

Of course, I hope you like it – or even Like it (I’m not immune to Likes myself haha!).

childrens mental health

 

 

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