Are Memes Unhealthy? Study Shows the Detrimental Effects on Your Wellbeing
Kids idolize them. Parents are appalled by them. Elders become lost trying to decode what today’s youth mean by them. “Memes,” regardless of your opinion, have undoubtedly changed our means of interpersonal and mass communications. After all, it’s completely logical of the world to compress our acrimony and passive-aggression into an image of Kermit the Frog sipping Lipton Tea. There’s also rationality behind our thinking Brads and Chads in Pi Kappa Pi signify fraternity douchebags and Caucasian aristocracy, right?
We can’t deny, nor stop laughing over, the angle of truth memes shine light on. However, non-meme enthusiasts who struggle to grasp the concept of Grumpy Cat (sorry, grandma and grandpa) are, more than likely, disillusioned as to what the f*ck popular culture is like in 2019.
In our minds, memes perfectly summarize the universal feelings of dog sh*t you and ecstasy we constantly experience everyday. We then take these images, tweets, and videos to not only bring attention to our own thoughts, but memes are used to additionally acknowledge current events and celebrity news (both fake and actual). Memes are relevant to the particular time and are easy to connect with; thus, it’s no wonder as to why memes have the god-like powers of connecting hundreds thousands of people – this time, through reshares and likes for these humorous and relatbale images.
So, what are the drawbacks to these internet sensations?
The wide range of applications and increasing popularity of memes makes us yearn for recognition for these relatable posts. After all, there is no better accomplishment than receiving thousands of affirmations from Instagram-users, who double tap your memes and respond with, what other than, more memes. Consequently, we’re hungry to highlight unhealthy mannerisms for likes and publicity. For instance, Paper Magazine featured an October 2018 study composed by Loughborough University that exemplified obesity in the UK. The study found that “memes that make light of or promote unhealthy dietary habits normalize that unhealthy behavior among teens.” Most people are aware of the dangers of obesity on the body. However, we dismiss how many meme-lovers today – most of whom are millenials and youth – take a serious problem like obesity and use it as an opportunity to transform a victim into an internet star.
This sounds grave – even inhumane. Regardless, this is how we make popular culture “popular” in the 21st century – through consistent meme consumption. To draw the line between memes and reality, we must identify the irony and message behind the light-hearted meme. What does the meme imply, which parties does the meme involve, and what does the meme bring attention to? We don’t need to reiterate on how memes bring us pure joy, as they’re mean’t to be taken only with a grain of salt, and at the end of the day, our appreciation for sarcastic, amusing memes isn’t the problem. The problem commences when our appreciation takes suffering and turns it into an affliction for likes and comments.