MetroTVNews has reported on how the young people today who referred as the “millennial generation” have a higher level of consumption and shopping than the previous generation. Millennial generation is the generation born in the period from 1980 to the early 2000s. “The reason is because of the ease in shopping, through credit cards and online shopping,” explains Ivan Sudjana, M. Psi, lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Indonesia coincident with an event Millennial Generation Survival Guide Towards 2020, in Jakarta, Wednesday (13/04/2016).
Consumptive nature is also the impact of the rise of social media. Social media often leads a person to flaunt what they have as a form of self-expression. “The knowledge they have and the speed of accessing the internet obviously play an important role,” said Anton Wirjono, Founder Brightspot Market and The Goods Dept., in the same forum.
Youth consumerism through social media does not occur naturally, but this is a global phenomenon as a result of what is called as the flow of ‘digital economy’ driven by capitalist giants. Young people who were born and grew up in a digital world – have been exploited as a huge market for online trading or e-commerce. With statistics of global internet users reaching 3,249 billion and social media users as much as 2.317 billion (We Are Social Singapore, 2015) and young people with astounding numbers dominate this. That’s why today massive free trade deals are not only being carried out directly but also online through the social media. Then it makes sense if in early 2016 US technology companies dominate rankings of the world’s largest companies as never before. Facebook has even leapfrogged Exxon Mobil position-an oil giant corporation, to become the fourth-most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of US $330 billion. The social network joins Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. atop the rankings, the first time the top four are all American tech firms, according to data going back to 2000 compiled by Bloomberg.
Inevitably the symbiosis between social media companies, the entertainment industry, and free trade regimes work together to target young people as their consumers. As a result the social media – that previously only functioned as social virtual communications and a networking arena – has become the arena of lifestyle industry- buying and selling of various needs of both goods and services. This flow of digital economy will treat Muslim youth as no more than just economic engines producing money, and paralyze their nerves from thinking and their ideals, as well as shove them away from their Deen. Coupled with the dominant values of Capitalism in the community that consistently put material profits above the values of religion and humanity thus forming a materialistic lifestyle, hedonist and consumerist. Not to mention the intensive de-radicalization programs that focus on children and young Muslims, added with the secularization of education curriculum and schools, and regulation of madrassahs, as well as existence of liberal culture worshipping Western culture at the same time eroding Islamic values.
An identity crisis and crisis of Iman therefore developed amongst many young Muslims, where they became enticed by the Western liberal lifestyle and system, shaping their thoughts, inclinations, aspirations, and allegiances upon it. We know that the West has always wanted to seize the alignment of Muslim youth. Even if they fail, at least they have crippled the idealism of the young people so that they are wasting their time and their youth by consuming many damaging things. Beware, O Muslim youth!
Member of Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir