Generally speaking, whenever there is a major technical development that radically affects people’s way of life, it sparks controversy over the essence of such development and as a result, questions if it is right or wrong. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram have changed the manner in which we humans obtain information, share ideas and engage with people. In such a brief period of time, social media has made some really significant impacts on motivating and linking people. So also, it has created an avenue for activities that are clearly unhealthy and damaging.
No matter how beneficial social media might seem, it cannot be a substitute for human connections in a physical world. In order to release hormones that relieve tension and help you feel happy, better, and more optimistic, face-to-face interaction is usually needed. Paradoxically, with apps intended to promote a sense of connection by bringing people closer together, focusing so much time on social media can potentially leave you feeling more alone and isolated and can even worsen mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Social media encourages anonymity. It is easier for people to feel free discussing issues and say things as they are when there is a little chance of identification, but anonymity facilitates cyberbullying. This is particularly difficult for adolescents, since bullies often harass and exploit vulnerable high schoolers without taking responsibility. Stalking could also be a matter of concern, since social media users often share their locations, and their activities can be easily tracked.
Picture this-It has become our reality that these days, you might be in the bus, sitting down on one of the seats and the person sitting beside you is actually glued to their phone screen. You look around and see that some people are on their headphones chatting or texting, scrolling past videos and are basically unaware of what is happening on the bus. Some even miss their destination as a result of this. So, what do we call this? Addiction? Is social media making us salves to our phones?
Social media sites are created to hook your interest, keep you scrolling, and have you browsing on your phone constantly. It’s simply how the companies make their profit. Similar to gambling obsession, or addiction to cigarettes, liquor, or narcotics, constant social media use can trigger psychological addiction that can result to common mental disorders.
The feel-good hormone generally known as dopamine is released in the brain when we put up posts that gets a lot of likes, shares and pleasant comments. This feel-good hormone is quite similar to the one you feel when for example, you have a piece of chocolate or light a cigarette. Other facets of our lives can be disrupted when we continue to devote a huge amount of time on social media.
Social media platforms for example Instagram, encourages comparison. We compare ourselves to other people’s posts or videos and we begin to doubt ourselves as we feel that we are not good or beautiful enough. For some people, viewing other people’s enjoyment and achievements can exacerbate feelings of inferiority and this is quite common with people battling insecurities and low self-esteem. Our self-worth is however drawn from other people’s display but we often forget that people hardly show their ‘behind-the-scenes’ so we probably should be careful of who we idolise.
Today, we have a generation that has been brought up by the internet, social media and modern technologies. So, imagining a world without social media would be quite hard as it has come to stay. Just like every other aspects of human life, social media no doubt has its pros and cons. What is important is to strike a balance that works for you.