Netflix’s To The Bone: is there a right way to have the conversation?

On the 14th of July 2017, Netflix’s anticipated To The Bone was officially released. The film – starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, amongst others – is a story about a 20-year-old woman (Collins) who is sent to an unconventional centre for youths in an attempt to overcome her battle with anorexia. The film has been met with incredibly mixed reactions. Some cite relief that To The Bone engages with a severely underrepresented problem in society. However, others believe that the film glamorises the mental illness and, in doing so, does more harm that good.

 

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Are we really less focused than goldfish?

According to a Microsoft Corporation research report, goldfish now have a better attention span than humans. I watched a few unrelated YouTube videos and replied to a few WhatsApp messages while in the process of writing this article, so perhaps these researchers are on to something.

It is believed that our constant interaction with the instantaneous nature of modern technology has been a strong factor in shortening the average attention span from 12 seconds to 8. As the use of digital devices expands to, and gradually saturates more domains of our lives, our attention is increasingly divided.

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Trigger warnings: belittling or empathetic?

The first time I started noticing trigger warnings preceding posts, photos and articles, I was relieved; we were finally being considerate of vulnerable audiences. In a previous post, I discussed how constant exposure to harrowing online content may have severe psychological consequences.  I had thought trigger warnings may be an opportunity for audiences to decide what they are prepared to see and set a limit when it becomes unbearable. I was confused when I noticed people mocking the use of trigger warnings on online spaces.

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Do the online conversations help?

At the beginning of this year, YouTube vlogger Trisha Paytas had a public mental breakdown, which was documented through her YouTube channel. Paytas has disclosed that she suffers from a few mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, but many commenters were insistent that she lied and her videos depicted a performance that was purely driven by the desire to cultivate attention.

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The impression of the internet – how much news is too much?

In my first post, I commented on Simon Sinek’s remark regarding the prevalence of depression  among millennials, and how this is related to how social media takes over their lives. While compulsive Internet use presents itself with a wide range of psychological consequences, I would like to consider that the problem may lay in the kind of content we are forced to engage with, rather than the amount of time we spend online.

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Don’t trash ‘safe spaces’ – this is why we need them

In psychological research, it has been put forward that lonely people, or those who do not possess good social skills, are at risk of developing a compulsive relationship with the Internet. Many people suffering from loneliness or depression may find communicating on the Internet less stressful or risky, a factor that makes interacting digitally far more appealing than face-to-face confrontations. Researchers believe that this could have negative impacts on the individual’s life, such as compromising the person’s work productivity and the ability to have meaningful relationships with the people around them.

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Sensoring bodies online: is it ever okay?

During October 2015, a Change.org petition was signed by over 18000 people to remove vlogger Eugenia Cooney from posting videos on YouTube. Cooney, aged 22, is a sweet young woman posts videos related to beauty tips and clothing hauls to an audience of over 890 000 followers. The problem? Her emancipated-looking body. The petitioners believe she is promoting anorexia and want her to stop making videos until she seeks medical help “before she dies”.

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