If you think you cannot imagine your life without social media, that indicates that you have fallen a victim to the impact and evil power of social networking. It also a sign that you have experienced some of the negative effects of social media on society.
The excessive use of social media strongly impacts people, especially children and teens. The effects of social media on teens are drastic and can affect their mental health and overall wellbeing. While social media can have a positive impact on them, that doesn’t mean it cannot put them in trouble. There are some common social media issues that are affecting society at large.
A study reveals that constant exposure to social media leads to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, negative body image, and isolation. We can also learn more about how social media affects teens in a blog posted on Child Mind Institute.
Social Media Issues Prevailing in the Society
Let us learn how social media is bad for everyone in society and explore the darker side of it. You will be surprised to find out that the negative effects of social media are not only mental but physical as well. These negative effects can change your perception of the world as well as yourself, for better or worse.
If you still doubt that social media can affect you negatively, then read on to find out what are the common social media issues prevailing in the society and how they are impacting people in different ways. And if you think you have experienced any of these issues in your life then maybe it is time for you to limit your social media use or put an end to it altogether.
Depression and Anxiety
Do you spend a lot of time on social media? Have you been spending more than two hours every day on social media? If yes, it’s time for you to take notice of how much time you are spending on social media.
Spending too much time on social media sites could be impacting your mood negatively. In fact, you will be more likely to hear yourself whine about poor mental health, including increased feelings anxiety and depression.
So how can you use social media without letting it cause you psychological distress? According to common sense media, you are recommended to spend only half an hour per day on social media sites. If you use social media moderately and sensibly, you can keep yourself away from the symptoms of depression and anxiety. As Katie Hurley has explained in an article on Psycom that social media affects teen’s mental health.
Gone are the days when was bullying was only experienced in person i.e. face to face. However, with the invention of social media, it has become easier to bully someone online anonymously. In this day and age, everyone is aware of cyberbullying and to what extent it can damage an individual.
Social media has allowed bullies to send mean, threatening, and offensive messages to others, causing them to feel hurt. It is a lot easier to hide behind your screens and bully someone else without revealing your true identity to them.
While social media is helping us connect with people easily, it has also made it easier for cyberbullies and predators to look for their victims. Social media sites facilitate perpetrators to gain people’s trust and threaten them in front of their peers.
These cyber attacks often leave deep mental scars on people and even cause them to have suicidal thoughts. It is surprising to know that cyberbullying is not only affecting children and teens but also grown-ups. A survey from the Pew Research Center shows that 59% of American teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is one of the most common social media problems we have right now. This phenomenon came into being at the same time as Facebook. It is another form of anxiety that people get when they are feared of missing out on a positive experience or interesting event that someone is experiencing.
Social media engagement further adds fuel to this fear. The more you use social media, the more you realize that someone is having more fun than you are right now. And this is exactly what causes FOMO.
Social media causes you to develop unrealistic expectations of life and relationships. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are the social networks that help you form these expectations. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that these platforms lack online authenticity.
The best way to keep yourself out of this is to never lie or show off on social media. However, with so many YouTubers and Instagram influencers, we doubt that this is going to happen anytime soon.
Negative Body Image
Social media promotes negative body image, especially among girls. Young girls and teens follow popular Instagram models and celebrities on Instagram and get influenced by their pretty looks and perfect bodies.
And body image is not an issue only for girls—it is also a problem for boys as well. Seeing those perfectly toned bodies and appealing looks on Instagram makes both the sexes conscious about their looks and body image. They constantly draw comparisons with them and worry about not being like them. They may do certain things that they shouldn’t do to be like them.
Lack of Sleep
Besides causing anxiety and depression, social media is also responsible for disrupting sleep patterns. Several studies have proved that spending too much time on social media leads to sleep deprivation. If you notice that your sleep patterns have become irregular or that you are feeling insomniac, then it is better to avoid spending a significant amount of time on social media.
People spend way too much time on social media and stay awake in the wee hours of the night scrolling their feeds. By doing this, they do not realize they are disturbing their sleep patterns. Poor sleep patterns affect your productivity, hence you should avoid using social media when you’re in bed.
Social Media Addiction
Social media is becoming an addiction for so many users, especially children, and kids. In fact, social media addiction is being described as more addictive than alcohol and smoking. Social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have made this addiction severe.
You can avoid social media addiction only if you realize you are strongly addicted to the social media sites you are using. Do you think you can go about a day without checking your social media? Do you feel upset when someone unfriends or unfollows you? Would you feel depressed if you found out your social media account has been terminated?
If the answer to all of the above-mentioned questions is positive then it means you are strongly addicted to social media. This shouldn’t surprise you because most of the people are, especially the younger generation.
The best way to not let social media affect our lives negatively is to use it in moderation. Ask your kids and teens to use social media responsibly and wisely. Never make social media their priority.
It is true that social media has offered us many benefits but we should not forget its harmful effects as well. Always consider the pros and cons of spending too much time on social media because sometimes extreme use of something does more harm than good.