Social media has become a necessity. One cannot operate without having several accounts in this day and age. It’s a very powerful tool that some use regularly for different purposes like discovering new things, seeing what is going on with their loved ones, easing boredom, and so forth.
It is safe to say that most of the world’s population is in a tight grasp of social media. It definitely has its advantages. But where there are ups, there are also downs. Everything in moderation is acceptable, but what happens when limits are crossed?
The way social media can affect our lifestyle is through information and news, mental health, and physical health.
The average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes on social media. The shocking fact is that experts recommend people to spend thirty minutes on social media in one day. Out of 24 hours, the average person also spends 8.5 hours staring at a screen.
Social Media – Information and News:
Let’s start with one of the biggest influences.
In a world that is dominated by social media, it is impossible not to use it. With time, it is imperative for us to adapt to the newest changes and stay updated.
Let me give you an example. A huge chemical-induced fire erupted in a factory a few minutes away from my house last week. Since this happened in the middle of the night, no one was awake. Soon people were flooded with messages, pictures, and videos saying that nearby families needed to evacuate immediately.
It started trending and going viral on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok in order to spread awareness. That day, social media saved countless lives. It would have been impossible to evacuate that many people if the news and information were not spread rapidly. The great depth of network and ease it can provide is a positive influence on us.
Even in terms of life progression, social media can provide more positive influences on us. It is a great platform for people who want to show their credibility, knowledge, and expertise. Through apps like LinkedIn, employees are getting hired from across the globe.
Again, with ups come downs too. It has become too easy to use people’s trust in social media to do horrible things like scamming and trolling. Social media is also the number one exporter of fake news and misinformation. It takes skill to know what elements you see online are potentially true or false.
With extensive use, online media can also come with the loss of privacy because people sometimes post their private information. Cyberbullying is another negative aspect that cannot be forgotten about. On average, 37% percent of students aged between 12 – 17 are victims of cyberbullying at least once in their lifetime.
Social Media – Mental Health:
Our trusty apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat provide us with one of the greatest benefits of all time; connection to people.
When I lived away from my family for the first time, it was a difficult experience for me. Knowing that I could video call my parents at any time brought me so much mental peace. I always felt connected to them. In times like covid, talking to friends and family and staying updated has become a necessity.
Spreading love and joy in times like this is only possible through the power of social media. It is a great tool to unwind at the end of a rough day, post something about yourself that you want the world to see, or simply see what your loved ones are up to. In moderation, it can be really great for your mental health.
By crossing a limit, there are some bad influences it can have on us. Social media is directly linked to depletion in mental health and is one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety. Individuals use it as an escape from their day-to-day hardships, which then leads to isolation from the real world. This causes more hardships, therefore, more time is dedicated to social media. This endless cycle encourages and perpetuates symptoms of depression, especially in teenagers.
By using social media too much, some lose the sense of what it is like to connect with people in real life instead of texting them. This loss of sense leads to downfall and can reinforce disorders like social anxiety. Learn more about the effect of social media on your mental health here: https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/it-or-not-social-medias-affecting-your-mental-health
Social Media – Physical Health:
All of us have the unhealthy habit of checking our apps before going to bed. It leads to delayed, irregular, or loss of sleep and increased fatigue during the day. The blue screen resists the melatonin production in the body, which we need to sleep. Fatigue brings in a huge list of physical dysfunction the following day, so we can definitely rule this out as a negative influence.
Social media induces a lack of physical activity. Any child with exposure to technology will prefer to scroll endlessly on their selection of applications rather than stepping outside in the sun and throwing a ball with their friends.
Not just kids but grown-ups too. Let’s take me as an example, an average person. I would much rather scroll through Instagram for hours on end rather than going outside for a walk to get some movement.
People have stopped putting in the effort of going to physically meet others because video calling exists. We sit around all day and most of us have sedentary jobs. This leads to a lot more physical dysfunctions, and one of the most prevalent ones is obesity.
In conclusion, social media is a blessing to us all which must be used in moderation. It can influence us in both positive and negative ways. Information and news, mental health, and physical health are the three horsemen influences that social media has on us. It is a very powerful tool that we can use in order to connect with people and discover new things.
However, it poses many risks to us such as online scams and trolls, mental disorders, and physical dysfunctions. It is up to us to know what bullets to dodge and when to cut back on how much time we dedicate to social media.