In recent revelations regarding the potentially harmful effects of Meta’s social media platforms, a multi-faceted narrative has emerged, encompassing both global concerns and a unique Nigerian perspective. Leaked statistics and whistleblower accounts fueled the initial report, highlighting the distressing impact on teenagers worldwide. Simultaneously, a closer look at Nigeria, guided by insights from a social media strategist and C.E.O. at Lizsocial Media Agency, Ms. Elizabeth Michael, offers a nuanced perspective on the consequences being faced.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed alarming statistics. One in three teenage girls using Instagram reported struggling with body negativity, while higher rates of anxiety and depression were prevalent among users. The leaked information also suggested that Meta’s platforms intentionally allowed minors to bypass parental authority, heightening the potential harm faced by young users.
A federal lawsuit filed by Kathleen Alexis and Jeffrey Spence highlights the devastating impact Instagram has on an individual level. Alexis battled addiction, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and even suicidal ideation—all stemming from her usage of the platform since the age of 11.
However, when examining the Nigerian perspective shared, the focus shifts to the broader societal consequences. Elizabeth Michael stressed that Nigerian children, exposed to the virtual realm of social media, grapple with a desire to emulate unrealistic standards, propelling them towards social vices such as internet scams, addiction to screen time, and engagement with explicit content.
In a phone conversation with Ms. Elizabeth, the social media strategist and C.E.O. said, “Nigerian children, especially teens, aspire to live in unrealistic realities because of exposure to social media. They set standards that prove unattainable, leading to engagement in social vices such as internet scams, addiction to screen time, and pornography.”
This additional layer to the story underscores the global nature of the issue, illustrating how the impact of social media platforms transcends cultural boundaries.
In presenting this narrative, AkweyaTV recognises the importance of balanced reporting. The aim is not only to scrutinise the practices of Meta and other social media giants but also to foster a broader conversation about responsible digital citizenship, urging a collective effort to mitigate the negative repercussions faced by youth, both globally and within specific cultural contexts.