Mental Health in the F*uckboy Era

Sarah Scott is a current public relations advanced diploma student at Humber college.

What is a ‘f*ckboy’? You may be sighing to yourself right now saying, “Oh great, another Igenerational word”, praying and hoping that this word does not end up in Webster’s Dictionary next to ‘selfie’ and an emoji. And while I share the same sense of disappointment of the fall of the English language, I find myself concerned with the fact that these words are created for behaviours and actions that, as a species, never existed until now- at least not publicly. This word has been flooding my Facebook page, memes, Instagram and even popping out of my friends’ mouths as they explain some experience they recently had with a guy. But what exactly is it? Although Urban Dictionary has its own definition that holds some truth, they seemed to have missed the main point. A ‘f*ckboy’ seems to be a term commonly associated with the strangers or acquaintances you casually sleep with. The word is the very definition of itself- a boy you f*ck.

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With websites and apps such as Tinder, Bumble, Grinder and Ashley Madison, casual sex and even cheating has never been so easy and readily available. With the swipe of a finger or a click of a button you can be connected to all the hot singles in your area. What a great invention, right? Wrong. Although the younger generation constantly seizes the opportunity to connect in new and more technologically advanced ways, I wonder how this new hookup-culture era affects our mental health and our ability to develop deep connections. How is a world of meaningless relationships truly going to affect the human race?

Don’t get me wrong, I can see the convenience of using a dating app to scroll through an infinitely large sample size of people to find your new fling. But I keep asking myself, is the convenience worth it? Is the instant gratification worth the sacrifice of not just physical but emotional intimacy?

It is important to remember that it is not the apps themselves that are to blame for our dating epidemic, but the mentality we have adopted in recent years. I truly believe the websites and apps would not have been created if there were not a demand for them.

Although it is natural for a woman to express herself sexually, the dangers she exposes herself to are not just that which can be rhymed off a STI factsheet but include emotional consequences we are only beginning to discover.

The first thing I have seen associated with ‘f*ckboy’ syndrome is shame. Despite the overwhelming amount of pro hook-up media messages and reassurance from friends that having a ‘f*ckboy’ is socially acceptable, some still can’t shake the feeling that what they are doing violates their standards and what they feel they deserve. As I sit back and listen to friends describe their latest sexual encounter, every story starts the same… “You will never believe what this ‘f*ckboy’ did.” “I had a lot of fun with this ‘f*ckboy I met last night.” No matter the context, my friends always describe them using this word. What really concerns me is the fact that many, if not all of them, never use ‘f*ckboy’s’ name. Now, I know that these men’s names don’t really matter, because the truth is most of these men will be gone from my friend’s life in a week or maybe even a month. However, the detachment they have from someone who they are sexually active with seems anything but healthy.

Side effects of these rendezvous’ such as shame, embarrassment and possibly regret have a major impact on self-esteem and overall wellbeing. Although the vicious cycle of wanting to obtain gratification and validation through casual sex may temporarily make you feel desirable and happy, there is evidence that suggests we are more likely to have depressive symptoms including loneliness post hook-up. Because, at the end of the day, casual sex will never give you the fulfillment and happiness a true connection or relationship can provide and at the end of a ‘f*ckboy’ day, you are, in every way, alone.

I am aware that this blog may be targeted on how the hook-up culture is affecting women but the truth is men are just as affected by this. Because despite the macho, social-gender norm that men love casual sex, the truth is it affects their psyche in the same way. All of this is a tell-tale sign that this new ‘f*ckboy’ era is catastrophic for our mental health and our species as a whole.

So next time you are tempted to fulfill your instant-gratification need by hooking up with a stranger or someone you refer to as ‘f*ckboy’ or ‘f*ckgirl’, ask yourself, do you really want to contribute to the death of human connection and intimacy as we know it?

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How screen time affects your lifetime

Sarah Scott is a public relations advanced diploma student at Humber college.

 

Do you ever wish you could unplug yourself? Not just your Mac, PC, tablet, or smartphone, but unplug your mind? In a society fuelled by smart phones, television, tablets and laptops, it is easy to loose track of the number of hours our eyes spend looking at screens. Many people in North America are dealing with overwhelming anxiety, depression or even stress. One has to wonder if it is because of the pressures of school, work and home life. Or, is it all somehow connected to our screen time usage?

In a world where we have nervous breakdowns when our phone battery is at one per cent,

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one has to wonder if technology is to blame for the 200 per cent increase in mental health illness in the past decade. After reading the article, “Heavy Technology Use Linked to Fatigue, Stress and Depression in Young Adults”, which was published by Huffington Post, one cannot deny that there is a connection between the power of our minds and the power of our technological devices.

As we are constantly texting, tweeting, listening to music or checking Facebook or Instagram, we leave ourselves no time to process difficult emotions or stress. We have no time to sit in silence and contemplate all that we have been through that day, week or even month. And, no time to allow the brain to work through problems and figure out solutions. We distract our minds with LED screens and funny cat videos on YouTube while tucking our worries and anxieties into the back of our minds and hoping that one day they will work themselves out.

At some point we have to look at ourselves and ask, what has changed? Why now? What is it that has led to this horrific increase in mental illness in youth and young adults? With technology being as innovative and new as it is, articles are only being published now about the detrimental effects of heavy technology use.

One of the questions I have been asking myself lately though, and I challenge you to ask the same, is it the screen time that is affecting our minds and mental health or is it the content we view? With unlimited access to music videos, advertisements and risqué content I believe that it is not just the screens that are affecting us. It is the limitless images of unrealistic body types and unhealthy relationship dynamics that we bare witness to in our hit TV drama series that may be contributing to the negative influences in our lives.

We have forgotten that the real world and our true values as a human race exist outside of technology and cannot be found within the digital world. It is as if we blanket ourselves with these devices to make us feel more safe and connected. We hold onto our phones so tight that we develop a closer bond with our iPhones or Samsungs than we do with our friends, significant others or family.

Cyber bullying, physical ailments, intimacy and self-esteem issues have all been linked to technology use in one way or another. It is about time we pull ourselves away from these devices, not to just prevent ourselves from walking into poles and people on the street, but to prevent a world where the psychological issues stem from the one thing that was meant to bring us closer together, technology.

With our heads constantly looking down at a screen, the world outside our electronic devices continues to pass us by. Our unlimited access to information, communication and social media, is turning our generation into a hunchback society filled with serious musculoskeletal problems, communication, intimacy and trust issues. It’s a major contributor towards low self-esteem and cyber bullying. Our society is neglecting the real world and taking for granted many wonderful things about life. Don’t let a screen destroy your health and happiness; pick up a book, go for a walk, window shop, exercise, take an hour a day and do something for yourself and for that hour, unplug yourself.

The real world awaits your arrival. How will you unplug yourself?