We're All Addicts: How This Generation Has Become Consumed By Media

by Chris Riotta

Truth be told, we’re all addicts. Our drugs of choice come in many different forms.

People all around the world are waiting for the next trending topic. We sit idly by for the newest scandal to break in Hollywood so we can tear it apart, shredding it piece by piece.

Social media is forced onto us throughout all hours of the day, and is becoming a social institution -- a hierarchy of who’s who, determined entirely by amount of "likes" and photogenic ability.

Even technology is a drug. In order to not feel out-of-sync with the people around us, we carry smartphones and tablets at all times. Have you ever thought of the irony in this? The more connected we become, the less we are connecting. And, it’s only getting worse.

Soon, we will live in a world seen entirely through search-engine spectacles. It will be impossible to give your undivided attention to nearly anything, without the flash of a notification popping up in the corner of your eye, or to even go on a stroll without an alert for a coupon or discount to a store nearby flashing in front of you.

And, then, there are the actual drugs. We learn about drugs the same way we do about guns, fast cars and violence: Drugs are dangerous, deadly and forbidden, but they say you haven’t lived until you’ve tried them.

The media is a complete hypocrisy when it comes to drugs; it reports on deaths and overdosing while flashing our favorite celebrities blowing coke and inhaling smoke. But, then again, the media is a drug, too. It feeds off of society’s greatest vulnerability: fear.

There are only six media giants controlling 90 percent of what Americans read, watch and listen to. These billion-dollar corporations present themselves in local newscasts and through the radio waves in our cars, and they even own most of the websites we flock to for the latest news.

The media trains us from a young age to buy things we don’t need. The news teaches us to fear the unknown, and to always expect the worst out of any situation, whether it is political, social or environmental.

Instead of focusing on our triumphs, the media emphasizes the tragedies and pitfalls of humanity. It spearheads campaigns against people based on rumors and fallacies, often leaving out some of the most important information within an event to make something seem darker and more humiliating than it is.

By doing this, the media creates a lasting control on our lives, creating a glass ceiling above our towns and cities, telling us we are all incapable of achieving greatness.

However, there is always hope. We can take back control from these addictions. We don’t need social media to reinforce our worth. Feel the inner beauty and radiance inside you, within all of us, each day.

Use that self-confidence to guide you through the day without always feeling the need to share it online. So long as you feel happy and confident, people will see your beauty without you having to post it anywhere.

Consume the media, but don’t let the media consume you. By remaining aware of its motives and biases, we can free ourselves from the dependency on the media to dictate our lives. We can mature as a society and understand that not everything we see, hear or read is always necessarily true.

We can ignore the fear and threats to daily life with which the media scares us, and perhaps, the resulting lack of viewership will eradicate this methodology in the news.

Some of these drugs aren’t always negative; it’s the addiction to them that causes problems and imposes limits to society. By trying to use moderation in all areas of our lives, we can start to live much more peacefully and addiction-free.

In a world constantly telling us what to believe, the most important thing is to always remain a thinker.