Social networking sites are online platforms for people to connect. We’ve become so dependent on our phone that it’s nearly impossible to go a day without looking at it. Ask yourself, when was the last time you left your home without your phone? Would you be able to survive a day without using your cellphone? Social networking has become a daily routine in our lives. It’s not just a time pass but is best used for keeping oneself informed of the ongoing activities as well.
The most used platforms are Facebook and YouTube amongst adults while Instagram and Snapchat are mostly used by teens. The impact it is having on teens is mostly negative. The reports published online indicates that on an average, teenagers spend around 9-10 hours a day on social media.
Like most things, even social media has a positive and a negative side.
Even though it is a great means for people to connect and communicate with their loved ones, meet new people, host meetings especially during this pandemic but then it restricts face to face communication. It’s easier to sit behind the screen and send a message with a single click than it is to go out and have a conversation face to face without any room for correction with a backspace.
It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.
10. Spread of false information
Many of you must have come across news articles which have a phrase “later discovered it wasn’t true”, this is because of social networking sites ,where bad news spread faster than the good news.
Readers should be able to make out the difference between Misinformation or disinformation.
Misinformation is not spread deliberately to create false awareness, it’s always open to readers opinion and views. Whereas, disinformation is dangerous as it’s deliberately done to deceive and destroy people.
With a single Hashtag and share option, with one click everyone on social media gets to know irrespective of whether the information is true or not.
No one wants to be a better reader, everyone just wants to appear “woke”.
A published report says that on Twitter, fake news gets retweeted more than the true news. Even after the false news gets rectified, the retweets are still less.
9. Lacks Privacy
Agreement we accept during sign up might give access to our data. People don’t feel safe while sharing their personal information online even if it’s via private text.
You will notice that the ads you receive are in context to what you’ve shared or spoken about. Most of the social media platforms are designed to track live location of the user. A lot of users complained about sudden changes in their privacy settings.
WhatsApp claims that the text messages are end to end encrypted. That means only you and the person you’re communicating with can see the messages. Recently it was found out that they have full access to our data and it’s being sold to Facebook. That’s how you’ll find ads related to what you were talking about to someone online.
So, it’s not always clear who all have access to your profile.
8. Less face to face interaction
According to a new survey, teens nowadays prefer texting as their favorite mode of communication. Psychologists expressed their worries regarding the social disconnect that happens once people choose virtual life over real life.
Teens have said that social networking has made them feel popular within their peers which gave them a boost in their confidence. It has been helpful for introverts to connect with people of their age group without worrying about talking to them face to face.
The downside mentioned by the teenagers was when they go out, their friends get distracted by social media and are mainly on their phones. Going to each other’s home and “chilling” in silence on their respective phones have been normalized. They even mentioned that they hardly ever put their phones away while visiting their families for dinner.
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7. Social media enables sexting which enables Pornography
Sexting is sending explicit photos and videos to someone as a private message. A lot of young people have admitted to sexting while in long distance relationships mostly or simply for preventing unwanted pregnancy.
Don’t be under the expression that it will remain private. A lot of people complained about their pictures and videos being forwarded to them.
In case your phone gets in the wrong hands or even if your social media account gets hacked, the pictures can get forwarded to more people without your knowledge. They can be posted on pornographic sites. People are being charged with possessing such pictures and even distributing them to various sites for money without the subject’s knowledge.
6. Social isolation and lack of emotional connection
“My friend and I got into a bad fight and she didn’t talk to me for days. Then suddenly one day I get a text from her which said sorry. I don’t know if she meant it, because the fight was face to face so I expected her to apologize face to face.”
It’s not so easy to make out a person’s emotion virtually. You never know if they really mean what they said or was it said just for the heck of it. “Hahahaha”, “LOL”, “LMAO” are meant to be used when the sender sends or says something funny. It has become so common that the person isn’t even smiling or smirking while typing those.
It’s easy to send a hello or any greeting to someone miles away in a different country but if it weren’t for social media, would you have written them a letter?
5. Disrupts sleep cycle
Social media and sleep don’t go hand in hand. At night, use of electronics can disturb your sleep as blue light being emitted from the phone screens alerts our brain and we feel more energized during our bedtime when we shouldn’t be.
One major reason why we check social media during the night is from the fear of missing out, FOMO. Our never ending desire to know what’s happening every minute even during college lectures.
That’s why it is advised to keep your phone a little out of reach during bedtime.
4. Cyber bullying
Cyber bullies use social network platforms to hurt and harass people. Stalkers often get live location and gather personal information of the victim to later use it against them. Cyber bullying goes on without being reported as many have gotten used to it now.
Majority of children started staying home now in fear of being bullied at school. As parents, have some parental control as soon as you hand a phone to your child such as access to their phone password. Talk to your children and have actual conversations and not lecture sessions.
3. Facilitated Laziness
Gone are the days when everything was done hands on. Writing letters, digging through books to find answers to the assignments questions. Nowadays assignments are just copy paste away with few clicks.
Social networking has made people so lazy to even look up from their phones. They’ve become so focused with their eyes always glued to the screen that they don’t feel like doing anything else.
People don’t get their work done because what’s on their phone is more important to them. It’s really easy to do nothing productive and social media has promoted it. Sitting idle also comes with a lot of mental and physical health issues.
2. Severe distraction
Number of hours spent online on social media is insane. You feel like there’s a need to check what the other person is up to and you end up stalking 10 other people.
As soon as you think of completing your assignments, you are distracted by the contents on sites which are not even closely related with your studies. As soon as you hear the phone buzz with notification, you drop everything and run to check what it is. Sounds familiar?
People suggest completely dropping social media but it’s not a long term solution as sooner or later you’ll get back to it again.
Best way is to figure out how you’re going to utilize your time and make a mark up to how many hours you’ll spend on social media without letting it affect your studies and other productive activities.
Excess use of anything is not good. Since exercise is a key to a healthy body, most people get lazy after spending hours sitting idly and using their phones. People skip meals and eat during unhealthy hours which leads to unhealthy digestion.
Staring at your phone continuously strains your eyes and sitting down in one position gives you a bad posture. Sitting idle in same position is one of the causes for obesity.