ISLAMABAD-The inaugural SOT TALKS will be taking on the pressing issue of how social media affects our self image at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts, Islamabad on April 27.

SOT TALKS is part of the highly-anticipated SOT Events that is held once a year. The last SOT Event ‘A World of Tomorrow Re-imagined’ held in Karachi in November, 2018 was very well received.

Anyone who has ever used social media is aware of pressure: of taking the right picture, with the right filter, wearing the right outfit, having the right food, at the right place, with the right people – of looking perfect. And it goes beyond this to having the perfect family that goes on perfect vacations to perfect places. The time and effort spent on creating this social media identity may well be at the expense of a ‘real’ self, with the digital curtain hiding a range of mental and emotional struggles. Seeing people having the time of their life -- all the time -- can create feelings of lack and self-doubt. Cyber-bullying, trolling or not getting enough ‘likes’ make it even harder to accept the less-than-perfect beings we are. On the flip side, it is argued that social media benefits people by enabling them to enhance their communication skills and social connections.

Social media sites and apps allow people to make new friends, exchange ideas and pictures, develop new interests and experiment with new forms of self-expression. Through usage, people can learn basic social and technical skills that are important for functioning in day-to-day society. Most people use social media to build on social communication and friendships taking place in real life and extend it to the online world. They are not necessarily meeting new people so much as enriching their currently existing friendships.

Experts largely agree that social media is neither wholly good nor bad for our emotional well-being. Its impact on our mental health depends on a number of factors, including how it is used. In the panel discussion to be held at the SOT TALKS, panellists will discuss the good, the bad and the health of social media use in terms of mental health.

SOT TALKS are free and open to public where people wishing to attend can confirm and fast-track their entry by registering at sotevents.com or visiting facebook.com/SchoolofTomorrowEvents.