Social Media and You By Gayatri Kapur from VIPS
A few days ago my 17 year old sister explained to me the strategies to be followed while posting a picture on Facebook or Instagram to get maximum likes. There were timing basics—don’t post on weekend nights because no one is checking. She also recommended to keep a check on time zones so as to avoid an entire coast being asleep when your picture is posted.
Kids these days and their all-consuming social media obsessions!
Users now-a-days spend time on websites like Facebook and Instagram exclusively looking at other people’s photos and profile content, which can trigger a sense of exclusion, envy, and loneliness . This sort of all day and night online browsing also promotes feelings of inadequacy or jealousy in the context of relationships. Within friendships, excessive monitoring of others’ activities can also trigger feelings of exclusion and, in turn, increase social anxiety. This phenomenon has come to be known as “FOMO,” fear of missing out, and initial research has found that individuals reporting higher levels of FOMO spend more time on Facebook and experience more negative mood.
All these activities are ultimately having effect on our mental health. These networking sites allow us to present our own filtered identity which, gradually we believe to be our real identity.
A user submitted that “I end up feeling really sad about my life because I see my friends travelling and I feel I should be doing that too,”.
Social media has negative impact on our mental health because it is:
People use social networking sites for various reasons. However, the basic purpose which it usually serves is distraction and boredom from daily routine and everyday problems. You become addicted to the things which distract you so easily from your boredom, but is this addiction good ?
Researcher found this so common that they created a scale to measure this addiction: The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.
Social networking sites makes us compare our lives with others’. Posts on social media show an idealised version of everything. This in turn leads to constantly comparing one’s lifestyle with that of the others and look down upon their own lives. For Example, if your newsfeed shows that things are going particularly well for other people and you’re having a bad day, then this is likely to have negative affect on your mood.
In 2012 a team of researchers in the UK conducted a survey, wherein 53% of users said that social media had changed their behavior; 51% said that it was negative behavior because of decline in confidence they felt due to unfair comparisons to others.
Social media makes us restless. Usually, we all feel restless when we are unable to connect to our social media accounts because of low internet connectivity sometimes.
- GLAMORIZES DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE.
A study was conducted to explore the relationship between teenagers, social media, and drug. It was found that 70% of teenagers between the age of 12 to 17 use social media and they had been exposed to pictures of people under the influence of drugs which encouraged them also to atleast try alcohol.
A study from the University of Michigan collected data about Facebook users and correlated it with their moods. Simply put, they found that frequent users of social media were comparatively more unhappy and unsatisfied with their lives than those who used it occasionally.
Fear of missing out is a feeling that occurs when you feel pressurised to do what everyone else is doing, attend every event, and share every life experience. It can lead to anxiety and push social media users to copy everybody else.
So if you are planning to deactivate your Facebook/Instagram/SnapChat/Twitter account, it’s also worth noticing how social media offers important benefits to our psychological health and help us grow in positive manner like social interaction with others, and identity development. Therefore there is a need to have a regulated use of these networking sites so that they can help you grow and not fall.
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