By Natalie Foote
Every high schooler is familiar with memes. Funny images, usually coupled with some words, are passed around on platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest. As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold in every country, the sea of virus-related memes is obvious. It’s hard to browse any platform without coming across one of these memes. Common things that the memes poke fun at include introverts being used to social distancing, toilet paper hoarding, and the Corona beer company, to name a few.
With students on an extended break, many are spending more time on social media and are sharing these memes. While this is normal teenage behavior, spending too much time looking at memes can become an unhealthy way to cope. This whole situation can be overwhelming, stressful, and lonely, but filling that void with memes is not the answer.
If you find yourself looking at memes for too long, or spending too much time without contact in general, reach out to a family member or friend. While getting together isn’t the best idea, a phone call or video call can improve both your own mental health and that of the person you are talking to. Additionally, make sure you aren’t on electronics all day long. Get outside and get some fresh air. Use this time to slow down and take a breath from the busyness that was second semester.
Xenophobic behaviors have also started emerging in memes. They have been targeted towards those of Chinese descent and are unacceptable.
If you see a meme that targets Chinese people, do not reshare it. Use the reporting tool of the platform you are on to issue a complaint about the image. With enough people doing this, we can work together to get offensive memes removed from social media and ensure a safe space for everyone online.
Memes are fun to look at. They bring humor into a dark situation and allow for some relief from the constant stream of bad news coming from the media. This is okay unless it turns into a coping mechanism or a way to promote xenophobic or racist behaviors. We need to come together as an online community and lift each other up instead of putting each other down.
Photo courtesy of Esquire.