Linh Nguyen • TEDxYouth@GMIS
Parasocial interactions are psychological relationships experienced by a viewer with performers online ( Instagram, YouTube, etc.) Viewers or listeners consider these social media personalities as their friends and act as they know them on a personal level despite only having limited interactions with them. With the rise of social media figures and especially during tough times like the pandemic, many young people turn to these personalities in order to find comfort. However, an emotional dependency on these people may result in the viewers becoming delusional with their fantasies. They start to think that they have control over these strangers’ lives— commenting on their relationship choices and thinking that they are entitled to know everything about the creator because they are self-proclaimed ‘friends’. And once they realize that their idols are not what they made them out to be in their heads, they often feel betrayed and lash out. This is an unhealthy mindset that unfortunately many young people with low self-esteem or loneliness problems fall into. As a young person myself, I’ve fallen into this relationship and have seen many examples of people like me online falling into them as well. The influences have a monetary incentive to not raise this issue to their fans so I’m motivated to talk about it to my demographic.