Is social media addiction worse than drugs?
Social media or networking has changed our lives completely in the ways of communication, expression of ideas, building business and get our daily dose of news and entertainment. The social networking sites as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tinder have become the most dependent cornerstone of the communication today. At one point, where it has many pros, there are more cons associated with it as per the recent surveys and studies. Social media addiction is the word used recently for the excessive use of social media which is making us completely dependent affecting our personal and professional lives. It has become a norm nowadays to stay on phone, for every information, we use the technology to provide a solution to answer. This seems to be ruining our lives more as compared to the better future, as you can see we provide devices to children for a source of entertainment, but, the end result is that they get so used to it that their behaviors, thinking abilities, and most importantly health get affected.
It may not be necessary that every individual sees this as the beginning of addiction or has the same opinion about social media addiction, but the good and bad effects can be actually observed by everyone. Social media has detrimental effects on the lives of a person both personally and professionally.
According to Forbes, New Yorker article explained the social media addiction by putting forward Mark Zuckerberg business views in which he explains the technology and psychology connection for business growth which clearly explains Facebook is not concerned with people’s mental health.
Are you really addicted to social media?
In case you feel urges to use social media or you feel an urge to check your Facebook feed at least once in a day that clearly defines you are addicted out of compulsion. You keep a constant check on your phone for notifications from Facebook and all that clearly says you are addicted to using social media. Moreover, you feel isolated and emotionally low when you are not having access to the network or social media and you do not even follow your daily activities happily, that is also a definite danger sign. Using social media to stay away from personal issues or in case excessive usage of social media is affecting your personal and professional life, these are warning signs of your addiction.
Let us discuss the best and worst of using social media.
Pros of using social media:
Quick and easy communication: Social media is helpful in expanding and nurturing relationships with close ones, friends, and people located globally. It has led to increased communication and strengthening our bonds with people. You can stay close to your closed ones when situated far through means of social media communication and interaction.
Helps business growth: By reaching out to huge potential users, you can expand your business interests, ideas, and your values. Many business owners and professional organizations rely completely on social media to get more customers and sell their products. Social media lets you grow your business by reaching out to most of the customers globally.
Provides real feedback: Users can give you instant feedback on your posts or your marketing campaigns. This helps you in knowing you to update or improve your work. This increases your productivity in terms of business or professional point of view.
Fun and enjoyment: It is a great medium for general fun and enjoyment as many people switch to it for a break or to relax. Talking to friends or reading on comments on profiles of your friends on Facebook can be entertaining.
Great market research tool: Many monitoring tools allow you to know about the basic information about any market. From the business point of view, you can get to know competitors, clients, and get insights on your organization or your products and services. You can also get a large amount of data available on social media sites. You can target your specific audience to grow your business.
Helps in promoting your content: Social media is an excellent way of publicizing your content to reach out to a mass audience.
Provides educational benefits: Students can reap benefits to get more knowledge and information on their subject. Social media can help students to reach out to various education sites and access them for their growth and get a better understanding of the subject.
Cons of using social media:
Cyberbullying: Due to social peer pressure to fit in with their peers' teens and young adults can become the target of cyberbullying leading to stress, depression, and anxiety. People with a competitive spirit and who are emotionally low can get affected with posts of peers to not be able to reach certain heights of success or their lifestyle.
Stalking: As people have got into a habit of regularly posting their whereabouts and location, there might be chances of them facing stalking. As a cause of posting whereabouts, their habits can be easily monitored by stalkers and can have serious effects.
Viral nature of content distribution: Due to so much false and much available content that can be placed instantly on social media sites, it can be confusing to know the genuine information. The viral nature of content on social media allows unreliable or any sort of false information as well as indiscreet remarks and photos to spread quickly over the internet.
Privacy issue: Too much sharing across the internet can be a big concern for your privacy. Tweeting inappropriate remarks or posting your locations can lead you to trouble in your professional or personal lives.
Distraction: With the information flowing at a high pace over social media, people get distracted by any messages or news that they receive. One of the major concern is the distraction during driving, also not showing attention during a conversation can really affect your lives
Sedentary lifestyle habits: Social networking can promote a sedentary lifestyle as it involves a lot of sitting while accessing social media. Social networking makes use of a computer or mobile device, therefore, sitting for long hours and without any physical activity can also lead to health issues.
Lack of sleep: People have gone so addicted to using their phones before sleeping that staring into the screen of your computer or phone at night can affect your sleep and lead to certain problems. This results in not getting enough sleep and can result in physical and mental health issues.
Affecting mental health: Signs of depression, anxiety and loneliness can be noticed in people if unable to access social media. Limiting its use has been studied to improve the mental well-being of an individual.
Loss of productivity: With the excessive use of social media, a person is drained mentally and becomes less active with eyes constantly on phone. This has led to a loss of productivity at workplaces or offices where people have access to social media at all time.
How can you control or prevent social media addiction?
- Limit your time to few hours in a day or a week for use of social media accounts and networking.
- Keep your ‘push’ notifications off to avoid distraction by social media so that it does not impact on your day-to-day life.
- While you are about to sleep, make sure to keep your laptops, tablets and all social media-enabled devices outside your bedroom to avoid an urge to access social media before sleeping at night and when you wake up in the morning.
- Try to adopt other hobbies or activities like strolling outside, doing exercise, reading books or newspaper or you can even try learning a new skill.
- Spend time with your loved ones outside the virtual world and cherish those memories and keep them personal to you instead of making it a point to show it to the world.
- Try to use the social networking in a controlled manner at times when needed to but not access it limitlessly.
- Governments or organizations should come forward to help minimize or prohibit the use of mobile devices.
- Follow a regular complete digital detox for a selected time and ensure you completely disconnect from the social media.
- You can also try to stay away from social media by deleting apps from your phone or deactivating your accounts on social media.
- Socialize more by joining a club or get together with friends
- Keep your phone out of sight and reach when you're driving. Even hands-free phone systems slow reaction times as people don't concentrate on the road.
- Set small limits initially to stay away from social media by giving yourself benefits on achieving those limits.
- Make rules for yourself and your family to avoid using phones while sitting on the dining table, or when spending time with each other.
With the dependency on social media or networking and using mobile phones, the lives of people have become unbalanced. Therefore, it has become a need of an hour to avoid excessive use of digital devices to access social media. Digital Detox is the term used for a temporary period of disconnecting yourself completely from all digital devices in order to focus more on personal interactions, social interaction to reduce stress. Follow a 30-day detox challenge to challenge your limits and urges to use social media. Stay focused and there you are living a digital dependent life.