Maybe I should also delete my social media from today

Maybe I should also delete my social media from today
Maybe I should also delete my social media from today
Lale GulSeptember 3, 202203:00

‘I notice a gap between what is actually happening and how people feel. The number of armed conflicts is decreasing, despite the war in Ukraine. Prosperity has increased across the board, the number of poor has halved, security has also increased for all; for women, youth and minorities. At the same time, people feel more insecure and under pressure. Expectations are higher, people are constantly talking about stress,” Beatrice de Graaf recently announced in a podcast interview with Jort Kelder.

De Graaf is professor of international political history in Utrecht and author of the prize-winning book Fighting Terror after Napoleon – How Europe Became Secure after 1815, published by Cambridge University Press. She won the Arenberg Prize for European History.

“If I look at today’s students,” she said, “they all have an iPhone, they can all go to cafes, they can go on vacations by plane, they’ve seen the whole world in their 30s, I couldn’t do that at all. But still, in their time there is so much doom and uncertainty on the horizon. You notice that there is a lack of clarity about what to do with their lives, what to do with relationships. The number of young people knocking on the door with psychological problems is increasing enormously, and universities are also complaining about this.”

I was all ears, for I too belong to this generation; I can do much more than the previous generations at my age could and were allowed to, but I also have the idea that my generation has a more stressful, hectic and vulnerable existence. So where does that come from? De Graaf has an answer: the constant exposure to disaster via your mobile phone.

Her essay will be published this month Crisis!, in the context of History Month. In it she debits a number of statements that give much food for thought. For example, she opposes the inflation of the word crisis, which is used inappropriately these days and therefore puts many people, especially young people, unnecessarily and permanently in a state of urgency and fragility. Our coolness also seems to be slipping from our fingers more and more; it’s in to be a victim. The stoic attitude to life is no longer of this time.

“The Netherlands seems to be in a permanent state of crisis,” De Graaf said in the interview with Kelder. “Every now and then the word crisis is used in all sorts of contexts, but it is only a crisis when vital interests are involved. It is no longer about disasters and catastrophes and wars, but about everyday problems, the newspapers are full of them every day.”

You probably know it: housing, energy, healthcare, nitrogen, climate, credit, confidence, baggage and refugee crisis.

De Graaf: “If you look at the statistics, you see that the age category 18-25 experiences more stress than the category over 65. The young people still have a lot to do and are confronted with really every problem via social media such as TikTok and Instagram. What is striking is that SGP young people are the happiest; they make clear moral choices and their path is already mapped out: you get married, become the breadwinner, you have children and so on.”

I looked for that research myself, but unfortunately I couldn’t find anything about it.

Maybe I should just delete my social media from today.

Lale Gul writes a column for Het Parool every week. Read all her columns here.

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The article is in Dutch

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