The millennials and Gen Z have been killing themselves at alarming rates. Data shows that Gen Z may have it even worse than millennials. Since 2012, suicide rates among 10-24 year olds has risen by close to 40%. Many journalists say that social media is the culprit, and I agree. I wrote an article about what I think about social media here if you would like to read that first. Suicide is on the rise and it’s a problem nobody is addressing. Boys seem to kill themselves more often than girls do, but both of them are on the rise. I truly believe social media has completely changed the way children grow up and has a direct effect of the suicide rates. Gen Z will be the first true internet era babies. My two year old can function a tablet and navigate through the youtube app. This has never happened in human history. Children are going into middle school with tablets and iPhones. Facebook, Snapchat, Tinder, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, Group texts, everyone and everything is connected at all times. Kids are constantly comparing their own lives against these models and famous rich people, and it doesn’t even have to go that far. Just comparing your own life to your friend’s social media fake life will do the trick. I believe social media has killed our sense of community. It’s now all about how many likes or shares you can get from a post that truly determines your worth. If you do something awesome and post it on any social media, you are now being compared to everyone else, and what’s worse is that there’s a numerical value to determine how well it is perceived by your peers through the vehicle of likes, retweets, shares, happy emojis and whatever else. This is toxic by nature. Another thing kids don’t realize is that once something is on the internet, it never leaves the internet. I am so thankful that I didn’t get full access to the internet and all of these apps when I was going through middle school and the early stages of high school. Think of all the dumb things we did growing up and nobody has video of it, or pictures of it, or anything about it. Nowadays, kids do something stupid and put it online without thinking twice. Not knowing that it will be there forever, and 5 years later, or 10 years later, they see it. Considering how much changes in 5 years when you’re that young, it could be devastating to see what dumb stuff is online and never going away. Anyone’s life can be destroyed in by something you put on the internet years ago… and this goes for anyone… at any age. It’s truly a different world post-internet. I don’t think it’s healthy for children and I would even support laws restricting children and their use on social media platforms. I think social media should be in the same basket as smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. To me, social media is a drug. An extremely addictive one at that. An addictive drug that increases self-doubt and lowers self-esteem, especially in young children.