Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi South chapter.

Imagine you wake up late in the morning. You open your phone to go through WhatsApp and suddenly a push notification pops up, a Swiggy advertisement, saying “Good morning, it’s okay if you woke up late, you will have an amazing day today. Enjoy this breakfast for Rs.150”. The fact that you woke up late and due to that, you would have to miss the first class would have put you in a really bad mood. However, from the moment you see the message, you start believing in the possibility of an amazing day ahead, and you aren’t as sad as before.

We live in a world where these push notifications and advertisements have become a part of our lives and we have become so averse to them affecting our actions and behavior that we do not see anything wrong with them. Have you ever come across ads that show a zero-size model advertising joining online gym classes while you are in bed eating cake? At that moment, there would be an instant regret for eating that cake, which you were very much enjoying till that point. All these ads control our moods and how our day will go so much that we have almost gotten used to it. Due to this control, we have an entire generation of more anxious, more fragile, and more depressed kids.

If you haven’t experienced anything that has been talked about as of yet, this next thing is one that I am sure a lot of you have gone through. So, imagine you were just on a call with someone and you mentioned to your friend that your friend group should go on a trip to Goa in December. The moment you put your phone down and you open Instagram, the first thing you see there is an AD from some company showing a list of cheap hotels and the best places to visit in Goa. Now, you get intrigued and start searching more about it, but isn’t it crazy how from a phone call, the internet just knew? This does raise the larger question of privacy and how little of our lives are left in our control. Was it just me or did everyone suddenly realize how much of us is available on the internet when Zomato released area-specific ads? Everything we are doing online is being tracked. Every single action we take is being monitored thoroughly.

Nowadays, corporations are trying to pull our attention and focus it on the things they want us to look at rather than what aligns with our goals and values. They are modifying our behavior and we are completely clueless. We are not consumers anymore, we are the product. These companies control our social habits more than we do. An entire team of people beyond our computers is using our psychology against us. We now have less control over who we are and what we believe. All of us are fed different realities and thus, we have different personalized versions of these realities.

If you are randomly scrolling through the internet and there are pop-up ads about “10 tips that will leave your partner satisfied” or “These are the 5 keys to success,” why wouldn’t you click on them when you are always left intrigued by these headlines? People are recruited to figure out how to get users to click on ads. There is this competition to steal your time as much as possible and sell ads against it. Our smartphones have become these questionnaires now that we are constantly filling out, whether consciously or unconsciously.

This is a problem that is a genuine concern and would grow even further if not dealt with at hand. Some of the experts who are behind curating some very famous social media sites have given this alternative of paying for content without ads because if we take away ads, we would have to provide them with some possible money to exist in the market. Thus, for the time being, when we aren’t switching to these alternatives, we need to create our own realities, be protective of our information, and not let this era of advertisements harm us beyond our convenience.

Devika Gautam

Delhi South

Devika is a Political science Honours student at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. A dog lover, a fashion enthusiast, and a dancer from the heart.