Next, I’m going to address voyerism. We all know voyeurism too. And like vanity, it’s been around forever. It used to found in playground whispers and late night telephone calls. It was the gossip around the lunch table. It was the celebrity magazine. It was the tabloid and it was the soap opera. But now voyeurism, like vanity, is at our fingertips 24/7. There’s drama. There’s weirdoes. There’s freaks. There’s the pitiful and there’s the shocking. There’s the slightly pornographic. There’s the partier whose parties you wish you went to but chose not to and yet you can secretly relive the party through them. There’s the college kids who are living the life you still haven’t left twenty years later. There’s the romantic relationships you wish you had or the single life you wish you hadn’t given up. There’s that one girl who has like 5,000 friends and then that one who has like 2. And they’re both equally interesting. There’s everything out there– everything, a source of constant entertainment.
But it’s more than entertainment. We get a rush from it. We get a rush from the drama– and the rush, like vanity, is addicting. And though it feels exciting at the time, it doesn’t do us any good. Voyeurisum inevitably decreases our own self-confidence and satisfaction with our lives. If we are voyeuristic towards someone who seems prettier/hotter/more popular/etc. then we will obviously immediately feel a marked decrease in self-esteem. Soon we will find that we are under the power of the person who we have allowed to make us feel this way and so we will keep coming back like a sadist to get trampled over once again. Our confidence continues to plummet. Even if we are voyeuristic towards someone who seems below us– it all comes back around. For when we boost ourselves off according to what others lack- if we get a thrill from the pitiful– our self-confidence is false. It’s not real self-confidence and so it will wane and it will decrease. Inevitably, voyeurism destroys our self-confidence and satisfaction with our lives.
Not only that, but voyeurism makes us worse people. Why? Because we forget how to be empathetic. The natural, balanced human understands how to properly react to other human situations and emotions. If we are balanced, if we are empathetic, we feel sadness when another is sad. We feel happiness when another is happy. But voyeurism screws this all up. Suddenly we find excitement in another’s misfortune or recklessness or mistake. Suddenly we are irritated or jealous at another’s joy. Suddenly we find the gross and the lewd entertaining and thrilling. We forget how to be empathetic and so our relationships with others, and in turn, with ourselves, suffer greatly.
So what do we do? In terms of Facebook, this one has the easiest solution of all. Sure, you could learn to control the voyeuristic feelings, but you’ll help yourself the most if you eliminate the situation. Go to your Facebook home page every day for the next week. And each time, allot five minutes to scrolling back through as far as those five minutes will take you and go through each post. Ask yourself the following question:
Does this post/this person’s Facebook persona inspire me/make me a better person/make me want to be a better person/make me feel happy and joyful/make me think and question intellectually/make me truly laugh at the truly humorous and not at the misfortune of others/provide me with useful information/keep me updated on the lives I have a true duty to be aware of (such as closest family and friends?) OR does this post/this person’s Facebook persona make me have negative emotions towards myself or the person/make me jealous/make me feel feel inflated/make me laugh at the misfortune of others/make me a worse person/make me want to be a worse person/make me more addicted to the whole thing?
Every post/Facebook persona for whom you answered yes to the second round of questions- go to the right hand side of the post and click and select “HIDE.” It will ask something like “hide all from this person? Or only this post?” Click “hide all.” Do this for a week and by the end of the week you will have a pretty voyeuristic free Facebook experience. Facebook will turn into exactly what it ought to be. A place for you to share your life with the people who matter to you and to in turn have them share with you so that you can build each other up and nuture your relationships. The great thing is you don’t even have to “defriend” so nobody’s feelings are hurt. No one will know you don’t see their posts except you and you’ll certainly benefit from it.