A decade ago people were talking about the spread of internet and how it has changed lives by bringing in better means of communication. Now, people are witnessing yet another major change—the advent of social media. Social media is a platform through which people can connect with others across the globe while producing and consuming content. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp bring people closer by functioning as tools through which people can reach out to anybody. What a boon it seemed to mankind that they now had an opportunity to connect with their loved ones from across the globe!
However, nowadays, people are connecting with others virtually instead of actually going and meeting them. Everyone seems to be concentrating on updating their live updates online without focusing on spending time with the ones right beside them. One finds people completely occupied with updating stories or posts, telling everyone what they are up to. Obviously, there is nothing wrong in letting people in your life know what you are up to, but the problem arrives when one is so busy connecting with those who are not there that one ends up forgetting to connect with the ones who are right beside.
There are many problems that this excessive usage and dependence on social media have brought about. For instance, the likes and comments have begun to become a validation factor. This has various psychological issues as it leads to low self esteem issues of the individual. This happens when they resort to the likes or comments as the only validating factor of how good they are. Moreover, various studies which have been conducted have shown that people have been diagnosed with social anxiety and sleep disorders. There is a constant urge to keep checking the notifications which is yet another way of wanting validation through comments or likes on pictures. Other psychological effects include depression, inattention and hyperactivity.
Sleep disorders are yet another problem. Using social media excessively has caused a decrease in the number of hours of sleep, and has also impacted the quality of sleep. The light of the screen often interrupts the sleep cycle, causing a delay in the sleeping pattern. Using social media has also reduced one’s sleeping time. If one does not get a normal seven to nine hours sleep then it has an impact on the mental and the physical health of the person. A study conducted on 1,763 youth concludes that those who check their social media before going to sleep are more likely to have 1.5 more times of having a disturbed sleep.
The ‘fear of missing out’ is another phenomenon that has been linked with social media usage. The individual forever remains anxious that he is missing out on something interesting happening elsewhere. This over reliance on the social media is what has bought in another phenomenon—the spread of fake news. Social media has also become a platform, where fake news is spreading so easily and rapidly. Because of all these drawbacks associated with the over usage of social media, PEW Research centre has released a report, according to which 26% of the adults deleted their Facebook apps from their phone. Similarly, all of us should make a conscious effort to disconnect from social media. Disconnecting from the social media does not mean that we stop using the apps altogether, it means that we reduce the time that we spend on them every day.
By reducing the time spent on social media, not only do we save ourselves from the psychological issues like depression and loneliness, but we also have more time to spend on ourselves and live the moment. Complete abstinence from social media is not possible in the world we live today. Along with that, we should not completely let go off social media because its usage has various benefits as well, for the simple fact that we could connect with anyone instantly. This is why we need to take active measures to reduce social media usage and try not to use it at least right before going to sleep as that can have an impact on the sleeping pattern of the individual.
Picture Courtesy- Econsultancy