Selena Gomez: ‘Social media has been terrible for my generation’ | Film

Selena Gomez has spoken out against the “devastating” effects of social media on young people, arguing that its emergence has been “terrible for my generation”.

The singer and actor, who with more than 150 million followers is one of the world’s most popular figures on Instagram, said at a press conference for her new zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die that it had become “impossible at this point” to make social media platforms safe for users, and called on young people to take a break from social media if they were feeling overwhelmed.

“For my generation specifically, social media has been terrible,” Gomez said. “I understand that it’s amazing to use as a platform but it does scare me when you see how exposed these young girls and boys are. I think it’s dangerous for sure.”

When asked whether as one of the most prominent social media figures she had a responsibility in making platforms safer, the 26-year-old said that it was “impossible to make it safe at this point. I’m grateful I have a platform. I don’t do a lot of pointless pictures. For me, I like to be intentional with it. I see these young girls … I’ll meet them at meet-and-greets, and they’re just devastated by bullying and not having a voice.

“I would be careful and allow yourself some time limits of when you should use it,” she advised.

Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez and Jim Jarmusch at Cannes film festival.

Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez and Jim Jarmusch at Cannes film festival. Photograph: Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Directed by auteur Jim Jarmusch, The Dead Don’t Die stars Gomez, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver and tells the story of a picturesque American town that becomes overrun with zombies after “polar fracking” tilts Earth off its axis.

Speaking at the press conference for the film, Jarmusch spoke about his concerns over the state of the environment and called on individuals to boycott corporations linked to climate change.

“Watching nature decline at unprecedented rates is terrifying and concerning. And what concerns me is a failure to address a threat to all living species. That disturbs me.

“The sad thing is that it’s in our hands,” he added. “I’m as guilty as anyone else, I’m making a silly film with wonderful people. If everyone here for example decided to boycott a certain corporation because they don’t like their activities, you could take them down. We have the possibility to do these things, but time is running out.”

Swinton, meanwhile, confronted the long-running issue of the lack of female directors at Cannes, arguing that the real problem was in the lack of media exposure for women who were able to see their films made.

“Women have been making films for 11 decades now,” Swinton said. “There are countless films by women. The question is why don’t we know about them.

“You have a great master like [Ukrainian director] Kira Muratova, who died recently. Her obituary was that size in most national newspapers,” she added, squeezing her fingers together. “Whereas the great male masters, when they pass on we’ll have whole issues dedicated to them.”

Watch the trailer for The Dead Don’t Die.

In contrast to the grave subject matter raised by Gomez, Jarmusch and Swinton, Murray brought some levity to proceedings. When asked what scared him, the veteran comic actor replied: “I find Cannes frightening.”

Later, when Murray was asked about the prospect of an afterlife, he said: “I believe in life after death, but not for everyone. So heads up: some of you I’ll see, and some not.

The Dead Don’t Die opened the festival on Tuesday to a mixed critical response. In his review the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote that the film “seems flippant and unfinished” but praised its “elegant deliberation and controlled tempo of weird normality”.

The Dead Don’t Die is released in US cinemas on 14 June and in the UK on 12 July.

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