The world will have a few more trees in the future … but fewer magazines.
Back in the most ancient of days, when the internet still had its new-tech smell, many predicted that print was on its way out. And while that hasn’t been true across the board (books are doing just fine, thanks much), two magazines have succumbed to perhaps the inevitable and shuttered their print products. Glamour, a fixture for years on supermarket newsstands, is ceasing publication of its print magazine, surely disappointing its 2 million subscribers. (It reaches about 20 million online still, and that iteration isn’t going anywhere.)
Seventeen, a 75-year-old magazine with a sometimes salacious history, also announced that it’s shutting down, which made its teen columnist Torie Bosch sad. “At a time when the internet was itself an awkward adolescent, teen magazines offered girls—who were typically a few years younger than 17—a way to learn about sex and health,” she wrote.
Which begs the question: Where will 14-year-olds turn for sexual advice now? Parents, maybe? Well, if they’re not around, there’s always the internet.
Why, rapper Lil B, who has a huge presence on social media, is giving teen girls lots of sex advice: Advising them to send him pictures of parts of their bodies with his name scrawled on them, that is. And then there’s actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, who posted a lingerie-clad picture of her past self on Instagram and all over her house as a reminder not to overeat on Thanksgiving, sparking criticism from some. Kim Kardashian is always happy to be a role model, too (though she admits that her hubby Kanye West doesn’t always approve of her revealing posts). Oh, and Facebook just got in trouble for not stopping the sale of a child bride.
Granted, Facebook’s been in trouble a lot lately, including criticism for planted stories and, according to some of its advertisers, having “no morals.” Some even inside the company are calling it’s leadership out for “total arrogance,” and a few in the media are even suggesting that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg should just “step down.” Well, Zuckerberg’s showing no signs of stepping down, and he’s getting a little fed up with all the negative news coverage Facebook is getting. But Facebook is also creating a “content oversight board,” too, which could help.
The problems with the social media go well beyond Facebook, naturally. We only have to look at the curious story of blogger Katie Bower, who complained that cute pictures she posted of her son never got as many “likes” as she thought he deserved. (She felt that, statistically, he was underperforming, and that it would thus harm his self-esteem later in life.) Studies continue to suggest social media can be pretty terrible for your mental health. But if you leave? You just might suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It’s one reason why some experts are recommending that parents buy their kids flip phones instead of the smart ones. Is it any wonder that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is “toxic“? I thought not.
Granted, technology, as we often say here, isn’t all bad. It allows you to read Plugged In, for one thing. It might help convict a killer for another (courtesy the Amazon Echo, though there’s some debate about whether the murder one Echo device allegedly documented will ever be heard in court.) And who knows? A selfie might even save you from a 99-year prison sentence, just like it did for a guy in Texas.
Still, technology can still do some terrible, terrible things. Just take a look what it did to the typically cute, typically 2-D Pokemon from the upcoming film Detective Pikachu.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.