Written By : Arif Ahmed

The digital era brings many opportunities for the people.it helps the youngers in finding jobs, making class assignments, and socialize with their friends and family.  However, there is a dark side it has some negative effects on the young generation. Due to the lack of censorship on digital media, everyone can share information without any transparency. Now we can saw many irrelevant, false, aggressive, and social content which is not suitable for young minds. the youth is bombarded with information, misinformation, and disinformation, which created serious threats for the Youngs.

Instead of healthy physical activities such as sports, spending time with friends and family, nowadays the youth spend their leisure time on social media sites. Now from the age of three years, the children start watching cartoons and become addict to other applications. Similarly, the young ones are spending time watching social media websites and playing games. According to the latest research, the bulk of information affects the youth in many ways. It creates anger, laziness, reduces the size of the brain, and affects its functioning.

Among other problems created by new media, the youth is facing anxiety and depression disease. A study in 2018 highlighted that more than 300 million people are facing anxiety problems all over the world and this number increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015. Anxiety, stress, or tension is most often negative and harmful thoughts. It can cause serious problems if its intensity is high and it lasts for a long time. In many cases, the people become aggressive, violent, and sometimes commit suicide.

Research conducted in 2017 investigated that 44% of the people in Pakistan are facing anxiety disease. However, in 2020, a survey highlighted that 71% of the youngers are facing anxiety problems. It means that in every three-person, two are facing the anxiety issue. The frequency is increasing with alarming speed and based on the increase in Pakistan we can predict the future outcomes easily if the issue is not handled properly.

The problem of anxiety and depression also leads to many other issues such as low quality of life, dissatisfaction, drug addiction, sexual abuse, and committing suicide. The use of new media disturbs the sleep patterns, creates false needs, and mixes real-life with reel life which leads them to depression and anxiety. Nowadays the youth is not obeying their elders, parents, and teachers, ruining cultural and social values and spend their quality time on screens, and prefer to live in isolation. The media daily report several cases of youngers dying due to making Tiktok videos and killing themselves on small issues such as a discussion with parents, low grades in exams, and parents denying to buy them a smartphone or any other gadgets.

According to the world health organization in 2012, around 13000 while in 2016 around 5500 people killed themselves. The rate of committing suicide is higher in teenagers than the old age people. A few days ago on 15 March 2021, a 7th class student in KPK commit suicide in jail, similarly Eighteen-year-old student of Islamabad Model College, Khursheed shot himself when his father scolded him for refusing to take an entry test. Likewise, just after the announcement of intermediate results, four students committed suicide due to low grades, and one student Fareed Ahmad killed himself after getting 81 percent marks with which he was not satisfied. These are few examples from the society we are living and seeing such incidents on daily basis.

Highlighting the reasons for committing suicide at a young age, Dr, Murad Khan, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Aga Khan university says that “Stress is the major reason due to which younger are committing suicide. and research found that excessive use of new media applications such as PUBG Game, Facebook and YouTube posts, and videos are creating anxiety in youth.

There are many causes of this alarming situation. Firstly, the onus is on the parent’s shoulder to guide their children on the positive usage of media. Nowadays it is common that parents give a smartphone to the children so they do not disturb them for seeking attention. Secondly, the teachers should play the role and guide their students on the productive usage of digital media.

We need to take this problem seriously and make robust plans to save our youth. We need a holistic approach with the help of society, parents, doctors, media practitioners, and teachers to educate our teenagers, so they remain sound and healthy.  We also need to save them from committing suicide and other crimes.

Arif Ahmed (M.Phil Scholar)

Writer, Reseacher