Please go outside

Lindsay Giovannone, Copy Desk Chief

I heard the phrase “chronically online” a while ago, and I think it is one of the best terms to describe parts of Generation Z and Generation Alpha. Chronically online, sometimes referred to as terminally online, is when someone spends so much of their time consuming content on the internet – usually a social media platform – that they lose touch with reality. This usually comes in the form of social justice and politics.

Chronically online people can mostly be found on Reddit, TikTok and Twitter. I was born in 2002, making me an early Gen-Zer. I have grown up as the internet has. When I was younger, my family had a wall phone and a television shaped like a shipping container. The iPhone came out when I was six, and social media soon followed, which inadvertently created echo chambers – communities that reiterate to legitimize the outlandish ideas.

An example of echo chambers is the quarantined Reddit community, The Red Pill, which describes itself as a place for “Discussion of sexual strategy in a culture increasingly lacking a positive identity for men.” Many men who partake in this discussion are incels, or the term for men who are considered “involuntarily celibate.” Based on the comments on a post where a redditor describes losing his virginity, I don’t think many of these men interact with women in the real world much.

Social media started out as a fun way to share photos and messages with family and friends. Now, I go onto Twitter and see people saying that they support a California serial killer because he is only targeting men between the ages of 35 and 55, and since men are oppressors, this is “aspirational.” No it isn’t.

Another great example of being chronically online on Twitter is someone tweeting, “has anyone tried making edibles but without weed? Like virgin edibles or something?” to which they received the reply, “you mean food?”

On TikTok, there are people making videos saying they identify as a lesbian despite having a boyfriend, or how people identify themselves with absurd neo-pronouns and genders such as “Cakegender.” I also saw a TikTok of a creator replying to a comment asking, “What pride flag is that?” in reference to an Irish flag in the background.

Stitches or duets by other creators who (correctly) call out this behavior as ridiculous, have the comment sections flooded with these same chronically online individuals calling them now-bastardized words such as “transphobic” or “gaslighter.”

This needs to end. Everyone needs to close their laptops, shut their desktops off or put down their phones and go experience the real world. We all need to have real conversations that lack internet jargon or extremist ideas. For the chronically online people, go touch some grass.