Very rarely you come across people who don’t access social media. It’s a part of everybody’s life or even DNA. While there is nothing wrong with it, social media can cause many issues. Addiction, depression, poor mental and physical health are a few of them.
What are the dangers of social media?
Many times people are unaware of the harmful effects of social media; at times they don’t care.
Increased use of social media has led to negative emotions and lower self-esteem.
Depression: Research shows a strong association between social media usage and depression. Why could this happen? The holiday pictures, selfies and promotion posts develop jealousy. This lowers your self-esteem. If your mood is low, these posts make you feel even more miserable and hopeless. These have now led to the use of the term ‘social-media depression’.
Poor Sleep Quality: Social media usage at night impacts sleep quality as well.
Poor Physical Health: Apart from dangers caused due to constantly sitting in front of your computer and staring at your screen research shows incidences of upper respiratory infection in undergraduate college students.
Reduced attention span: There is a constant flow of information throughout the day. Most of which is unnecessary. As a result, the attention span has dropped to about 8 seconds now.
Addiction makes you helpless. Just like the hazards of smoking doesn’t stop smokers from smoking, the dangers of social media don’t stop its usage. You feel bad about using social media you can’t stop.
Why do people use social media?
There’re various reasons for it. Seldom are they good.
Social Media Addiction: According to a survey people spend 2 hours and 22 minutes a day on social media and messaging platforms. It’s an addiction.
Overcome boredom: Social media is the easiest option when you’re tired, bored or need a break.
Feel better during low moods: You visit Facebook to feel better and seldom does it meet your expectations. In fact, over time, every social media visit makes you feel worse than before.
Fear of missing out (FoMO): Social media activities, like daily soap operas and online games, are very engaging. Even if you remain away from for a short while you develop FoMO. Everybody has a need to belong. Research shows that people with a strong need to connect with others develop FoMO easily.
Emotional needs: All have a need to share, feel heard, get attention, get noticed, feel accepted and get sympathy. These needs are met through social media likes, comments and retweets.
What are the Benefits of Social Media
- People who created social media would have created these platforms for positive interactions.
Share ideas and inspirations: No wonder spiritual gurus such as Shri Shri Ravi Shankar and Jaggi Vasudev have millions of followers. They have used social media to serve society.
- Video calls, text messages, emails have all make global communication and social interaction much easier.
Best Practices of using Social Media
Read a few lines and decide if it’s useful stuff. Else ignore it.
No social media day: Remain away from social media 1 or 2 days a week. This will help you control the addiction.
Track usage: There’re apps to track the time spent on any particular app. Before you begin, guess the time you spend on social media. Then track the time you spend. You’ll be surprised to know that you spend much more time on social media than you thought.
Limit the usage: Tell yourself that you’ll use social media only once in X hours for Y minutes.
Discipline yourself: Every time you use your phone be absolutely clear on the purpose of doing so. Don’t do anything else apart from the purpose. Example, if you picked your phone to call your friend, stop at that. Nothing more.
Notifications: Mobile and laptop notifications are distractions. You don’t need social media notifications on your mobile. Remove it for a few days and check your productivity. Also, have a different notification tone for important contacts.
Block the apps: If you fail after trying everything use the last option. Block them. There are mobile apps and browser extensions for this. They block an app or website after or for a particular time period. Set rules to block social media after 8 pm or after 1 hour of usage. You’re forced to stay away from social media. Though it might be overwhelming in the beginning, you’ll find your productivity rise.
More than following the best practices of using social media, it’s time you ask yourself why you use social media? Are you aware of its dangers? It’s quite possible that you’re unaware of the intensity of the harm social media causes. But It’s equally possible that you don’t even want to know about its dangers.
Give yourself an honest answer.
Is it that you visit social media for your emotional needs?
You’ll realize that you do have the time to attend self-development courses and read good books.
You can be much more creative than what you’re now.
Whenever you get bored you can think of calling friends and asking them how they are. Trust me they will like it. You’ll develop an intimate bond with them which Facebooks likes can’t do.
When you reach a bottleneck at work, rather than opening social media close your eyes and connect with The Divine. He’ll help you.
Rather than fulfilling your emotional needs through social media talk to a close friend. You’ll see much better results.
I would love to hear what you’re going to do next with your social media usage. Please do comment below.