Echo and Narcissus Redux.

Social media can be congratulated for many things but it has been criticized as a toxic influence on the young. The most damaging accusation is that it encourages narcissism. Narcissists have always existed but social media sites have been blamed for enabling them.

There is certainly more visibility associated with this phenomenon. Young people are more visually orientated than previous generations due to the ubiquity of smartphones. Previous generations relied on magazines, the radio and the four terrestrial television channels. While young people today are being accused of being fragile and frankly rather vain, previous generations were derided as being rather over earnest with politics and self absorbed.

Plus ca change indeed! Young people have always been blamed by the ones who have gone before just as that song goes. We tend to forget our own foibles as young people. When we remember those things we wince at the memory but grateful that we survived relatively intact. This story of growing up is as old as time itself and we must bear this in mind next time we glance at yet another “snowflake” story.

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