Vaping, Black Mirrors, and Other Addictions Facing Our Generation
I believe that, by and large, us Gen-Zers are a pretty incredible bunch. We’re socially conscious, deeply engaged in the politics and culture around us, and we practically invented memes as we know them today - truly important work. But like any generation, we’ve also got our fair share of shortcomings and challenges to face.
It’s not just our propensity to start Twitter wars over who’s the biggest BTS fan; we’ve got a few more serious issues to tackle if we want to take charge of our health, relationships, and overall well-being. Let’s take a quick look at some of the biggest addictions I’ve noticed shaping our generation.
There’s no denying it - our generation has a vaping problem. At first, vaping and other e-cigarettes like JUULs seemed like a smarter alternative to smoking. But in just a few years, we’ve seen countless reports detailing just how harmful vaping can be. Add in rising numbers of vaping-related deaths, and we’ve got a serious epidemic on our hands.
It doesn’t help that these items are now easier to get than ever, and popular companies like JUUL market their products specifically to look like trendy pieces of tech (you can even charge them from your laptop!).
While neither I nor anyone in my inner circle vapes, one of my best friends in college wrote her entire honor’s thesis on the harmful chemicals found in hookah and e-cig flavors. Needless to say, I learned a lot about the practice while following her thesis journey, and I’ve been thoroughly scared into not trying it, ever.
Similar to how vaping has quickly been normalized in social situations, I’ve noticed phone and screen addiction becoming more prevalent. Now, I’m definitely not trying to assume the patronizing baby boomer stance of “All phones are evil and kids these days are screwed”, but you’ve got to admit - a lot of us spend way too much time staring at our screens.
This one’s a little different, and if you don’t spend much time stalking Twitter or YouTube, it might not be on your radar.
“Cancel Culture” is basically the idea that, whenever a celebrity or public figure does or says something some people deem unsavory, that automatically warrants a deluge of hate comments, personal attacks, and at worst, doxxing attempts. Personally, I think, like vaping, being a part of a trend or bandwagon (even if that trend involves harassing or being mean to someone else) provides that hit of dopamine and sense of belonging I think a lot of us crave.
So why do I call this an addiction? Because I mainly see Gen-Zers and younger millennials participating in it. Next time you hear about a celebrity saying something off-color, check Twitter. You’ll probably see #InsertNameIsOverParty trending.
Indulging in too much retail therapy certainly isn’t specific to just one generation, but we are the first to have access to a whole new world of online shopping. At the push of a button, you can buy literally anything your heart desires.
And I’m definitely guilty of this one. Even as a broke highschool/college student, there were more than a few times where I couldn’t help myself from buying the latest trendy makeup drop or picking out a new outfit on Urban Outfitters even though I had a full closet of clothes.
I’ve learned how to better curb my appetite for material things now, but I still totally get the allure that comes from the instant gratification of online shopping.
Vaping may be the most physically dangerous addiction on this list, but I think this one is the most insidious. We’ve all seen tweets, memes, and social posts with captions like these, and to many of us, they’re quite funny. Sometimes, it seems like this hyper self-deprecating sense of humor is all our generation is capable of, comically speaking - it’s everywhere.
Why do we hate racist and homophobic jokes, but continue to joke at our own expense? It’s a bad coping mechanism that only continues to reinforce a culture of self-harm and negativity.
Do you agree with my list, or am I missing something? Start a conversation with us by filling out the form below!