The student news site of Downers Grove South High School

Social media: An emotional landfill

January 21, 2022


Faith Nelson

Many young people have participated in trauma dumping– a recent trend of sharing highly personal information and traumas on apps like TikTok.

Aside from the physical dangers that are present through social media, damages could also be a danger to your emotional state.

For example, you are scrolling through TikTok and you see a video of a father-daughter duo practicing the latest dance trend. You open the comments expecting to see an outpour of adoration for the family, but instead you see that the top comment is “must be nice to have a dad.” This is trauma dumping– a newly coined phrase to describe unwarranted sharing of deeply personal issues.

This is a phenomenon that has become more prevalent on social media over the last few years, and some people are concerned. DGS counselor Kate Blader shared why she thinks young people are drawn to this practice.

“The internet, a screen or your phone gives you a barrier from the real world, so sometimes people forget that what they say is being heard by real people on the other end,” Blader said.

She is concerned about the consequences of sharing too much online.

“Sharing traumatic experiences on social media can be dangerous, and we would hope that students would share their traumatic experiences in an appropriate manner and in a time in place that makes sense so that they can be heard by the right people and get the help that they need. That might include staff members at school, family members, parents or other trusted adults,” Blader said.

Blader does not disregard the positives of social media although she worries about the effects of oversharing.

“We saw this in the pandemic that social media connects people in such awesome ways, so I think that there’s lots of great ways that you can share what you are about and what your life is on social media. I just think that it’s important to try to connect with people you actually know and use social media as a means to communicate rather than a way to escape the real world, but rather to connect more deeply with people,” Blader said.

Senior Kylie DelRe echoed this opinion and expanded on the experience of being on the receiving end of this unsolicited sharing.

“I’ve had friends go on rants about things that are upsetting to them and just wear all their emotions on their sleeve. And that’s not a bad thing, but it does make me a little uncomfortable because I’m empathetic, and I want to support people in any way I can, but on Snapchat it’s hard to convey emotion through texting. It’s different than someone verbally telling me about something they’re sad or angry about, and there is a slightly odd feeling of not really knowing how to respond,” DelRe said.

DelRe explained the nuances of online etiquette and when the line should be drawn.

“There’s no problem in sharing something that might irritate you or you are struggling with online with a friend to consult them or ask for their input– my friends and I have done it numerous times. It can get to a point, though, where dumping all sorts of emotions onto people online can make them uncomfortable, and so it raises all sorts of questions if the people who are expected to respond don’t– ‘I thought they were my friend? Why aren’t they saying anything? Do they not care?’ and so on. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining connections and sharing some info online ,but when it comes to trauma dumping, I think it’s better for people to consult trusted friends or family in person to better establish a connection,” DelRe said.

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