With social media being all-pervasive, we tend to use it widely for all types of needs/requirements. From advertising to publicity, to knowledge sharing, exploring talents, etc. Name it, and we do it! And it has been quite helpful too. We wouldn’t have been able to reach out to so many people across the world sitting in the comfort of our home or office. However, we need to exercise a little caution while using it – especially with kids and young adults. 

Nowadays, I see a lot of parents and relatives forwarding a link to like something that their child would have created – because they are taking part in a contest. And the one who wins is the one who gets most votes. It creates such an undue pressure in my opinion, not just on the kids, but also the parents. Now it is not just enough to do a good job but also to market it well. Ultimately, the one who wins might not necessarily be the most talented. It might just be someone who has a big social circle. Which I think is an unfair advantage. Someone who has a limited circle is now forced to expand – and all for a reason – not a purpose. The reason is to get votes. When you connect for a purpose, that is meaningful. When you connect for a reason, the connection remains at a transactional level. Plus, someone who isn’t at that social advantage might just land up feeling they aren’t good enough – which is completely untrue. Of the many, here are a few key disadvantages of social media contests to be wary of:

  • They advocate an unnecessary indulgence in social media at a very young age
  • We are setting the tone for what to expect from social media wrongly – i.e., acceptance and recognition. People start doing things for these reasons rather than pure passion. We may get sidetracked from our focus.
  • A pressure to get liked.
  • A wrong notion of what’s good – they start to believe that what’s popular is what’s good – which may not necessarily be the case. A lot of things that are popular are not because they are good, but due to a lot of other reasons. Doing things to gain popularity is the biggest derailer for humanity.
  • Get experts from the field who can judge the work. If there’s going to be a judgment anyway, you might as well limit it to a few experts from the field rather than open it up to a large audience who may be mostly biased to stories or connections rather than purely going by the work.

Brands that are advocating these kinds of contests, kindly think of the repercussions. See if you can host more friendly contests with less social pressure. You can get recognised as a brand for various reasons and in various ways. Need not necessarily be at the cost of young minds and hearts being corrupted or misguided. 

Parents and adults – please beware of what kind of contests your children are participating in. Winning is not everything in life. Recognise their talents and help them grow in terms of skills without compromising on values. Beware of the pitfalls of social media contests. Educate your child. If they get too hooked to getting this kind of recognition, it will be very tough for them later on. People sink into depression easily when these needs aren’t met tomorrow or if they face trolls or rejection for any reason. The highs of likes are constantly warning us of the lows of dislikes too. Encourage children to do things for the love of it rather than to get liked by someone. Eventually, excellence will cross paths with them when they are disciplined and dedicated about what they do, rather than spending time pursuing likes on social media. Use social media, but don’t get used by it or used to it in a way that your life depends on it.

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