The Truth about the Social Media Addiction
Just a little over a couple of decades ago, the World Wide Web and the internet started is boom on our dear planet earth- and our horizons expanded.
People were seeing miracles before their own eyes. Not only was it a step forward from television broadcasting, but it was something through which people could navigate and explore.
Then came social media.
Ancient Myspace. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. You name it, it’s there. Tumblr, Pinterest, Tinder.
The list goes on and on.
The amount that a person visits these sites and switches between them on not only their computers but now on their smartphones, varies from statistic to statistic. For sure, social media time takes up hours and hours of our daily lives.
And sure, the idea of social media seems to be something positive, a place for people to connect to one another and interact, an innovation to letters, emails, and even mere phone calls.
But the drawbacks, as the majority of us know yet do not acknowledge in the midst of our addiction, are many. And they are as severe as they are many.
Lack of empathy
Social media, and any sort of technological interaction, is prone to desensitize users and make a person feel separate from the situation. This is why bullying happens; this is why people are able to say things they normally would not mean.
Teenagers get into relationships with people they do not know. Predators find children. Bullies do their mean work on others. People create a new identity that is not their own.
In a way, the lack of physical contact and appearance brings a wider range of possibility of action. Empathy is lost, and we are desensitized.
Time Wastage and Distraction
It is a no brainer that the amount of time spent on social media is indeed a waste of time.
Of the many hours in a day that we spend on social media, we can do something productive- something that can make us happy or make us feel successful and like we are actually getting something done and making some progress.
When we waste time, we take away from the actual things in life that need to get done. Housework, assignments, homework, actual work, errands, chores, quality time with family. The things that shoud come first are pushed off as we slide and scroll and double tap our hearts away.
We are distracted from the things that need focusing on, without even realizing it, just for the surge and rush we feel from the scrolling and sliding and double tapping.
Even beyond the mere wastage of time, we are wasting the quality of our time by focusing on how we will portray our lives to others, rather than living and enjoying the moments for what they are in themselves.
The social media addiction takes away from the experience of life as it comes, causing us to set up a book of memories based on a time where you ran to just do that- collect a list of memories and not true, memorable experiences.
Constantly scrolling through our social media overstimulates our minds and eyes, and makes us unable to think without scrolling through one app or the other.
The problem with this is, that we lose the practice and ability to think, to meditate, to sit quietly and reflect. Meditation and deep thinking, and even the ability to clear one’s mind is essential to daily life. What our social media addiction does is makes us constantly stimulated.
And what comes with this overstimulation beyond the inability to sit back and relax, is the desensitization of enjoyment- any other stimulation is not enough or fast enough or controllable enough. Movies will feel cumbersome if you cannot forward and rewind on your own. The park will feel like a slow place, any natural setting feeling empty and heavy.
Lack of satisfaction- Comparison and Jealousy
One of the biggest drawbacks of the social media addiction is the way in which scrolling through our newsfeeds and dashboards make us feel.
We observe the lives of others, we attempt to post pictures and statuses and activity that seem to match the status quo. We compare ourselves to others. We become depressed- we feel that we can never reach other people.
There is no surprise in this- that social media addictions take away a large chunk of our happiness and satisfaction in life. Rather than being able to see the reality, we see the fake world that our friends and followers portray.
Editing, smiling, faking, lying. It is not necessarily an evil thing that they do- they are attempting to do the same thing that you do. Compensate for feelings of unhappiness.
The truth is, behind every snapshot and status there is a reality of a life that is feeling as dissatisfied and possibly problematic as yours. Every person has issues and problems in their lives, and judging by happy statuses and pictures is not a proper base point upon which to gauge just how happy a person seems to be, or to compare off of your own life.
Can we really unplug?
The fact of the matter is, that we live in a world where social media rules. Our very way of life depends upon connections and quick movements, and with the innovations of our day and age moving lightning speed, the only way to survive is to keep up with the flow.
However, keeping with the flow and moving with the times should not mean we ignore scientific data on health issues, or that we abandon our own happiness.
If social media is making us unhappy, but is still necessary to our daily lives- it can be important to create a social media diet.
Plan timings where you can unplug for a while and slow downm teach yourself to be less stimulated, train yourself to go without being distractedly yet indirectly connected to the World Wide Web.
If you really think you can do it, unplug for the majority of the day and only log in when you need to- or for a designated time of the day.
Health matters. Happiness matters. Sanity matters.
And with a constant plugging in to this web of lies- despite all the benefits of social media and its innovations in the speed and essence of connections, the reaching of news and the spread of movements through social media- there is a quality barrier that keeps brushing past.
The truth about the social media addiction is that it is real, and it is dangerous.
And to battle this, it is up to each and every one of us to manage our own time wisely. Use the facilities and apps out there for their uses and benefits.
But not the extent that we become the zombies of tomorrow- heartless, energy-less, motivation-less- without even the most minuscule tidbit of quality left in life.