Mohmod Irfan Shah
We are in the technological age where we have self-driving cars, 3D printers, space exploration, social media, Bluetooth, fiber optics and much more. These technologies have improved our lives by giving us several benefits including unlimited communication, saving time, treating incurable diseases, easy ways to earn money, easy travel and much more. But social media, being one of the most used technologies by all age groups, is becoming threatening at an alarming rate, negatively impacting our lives.
Social networks are becoming a cause of psychological and physical problems. This causes less sleep and more wasted time. People of all ages are addicted to smartphones, whether it’s a small child who can’t eat without watching cartoons / YouTube, teenagers who have isolated themselves from family and friends, or retired employees who have struggling to sleep without scrolling their Phone (s. Smartphones were invented for easy and accessible communication, keeping people up to date with this technological world, or using small screens instead of large computers / televisions. Unfortunately, , small screens are not used in a healthy way. As reported by the Pew Research Center, 97% of 13-17 year olds use at least one of the top seven online platforms, and the average 13-18 year old teenager spends about nine hours on social media each day, with tweens ages 8 to 12 for about six hours a day.
Social media has serious drawbacks on our mental and physical health:
A majority of people of all ages prefer to be alone while surfing social media. Either they don’t want others to notice them, or they want to hide the content they are viewing. Social media is emerging as a reason people are anti-social or don’t want to face anyone physically. People turn into introverts because they are not very into physical communication anymore. Social media pushes people to form virtual relationships, which further isolates them from the physical world. Self-isolation ultimately leads to anxiety, distress, and thoughts of suicide.
2. Lower self-esteem
People started to underestimate themselves by following the lifestyle of so-called âinfluencersâ on different online platforms. They present themselves as celebrities, social media influencers, and role models, which creates an inferiority complex. They blame themselves for not being able to do things that others post about themselves, causing them to forget their abilities, uniqueness and specialty. Stalking other people’s lives on social media makes them feel like they are not privileged and everyone on the internet is living a better life. Most of us forget that social media is an illusion and that people only post the positive side of their lives on social media. No one would publish the flaws or problems in their life, and we often ignore this truth.
Cyberbullying is harassment or bullying committed on social media. It’s so common among teens that you will find lots of cases of bullying online all over the place. Cyberbullying includes publishing rumors, threats, sharing personal information about the victim, spreading hatred against the victim, or any other form that disturbs an individual’s peace of mind. Cyberbullying is one of the most painful things that can happen to someone, and its root cause is social media. I have personally been the victim of cyberbullying and have had nightmares and suicidal thoughts at times because of it. The bully pokes fun at the victim in social groups or posts, the standard form of cyberbullying, which is seen as a piece of humor by online viewers. According to StopBullying.org, the percentage of people who have been cyberbullied at some point in their lives more than doubled (18% to 37%) between 2007 and 2019.
4. Less activity
Before adopting the standard of being glued to our electronic gadgets, children played with mud, families went on picnics with their parents or neighbors during the summer, and the older ones occupied themselves by leafing through their books. religious or count their last breaths. Social interaction was relatively high compared to what we are seeing now. Back then, parents made their kids come home, but they didn’t want them to stop playing with their friends outside. Now these children are sitting at home using smartphones, totally isolated from any social interaction. Today we are seeing fewer children in the playgrounds. Children are busy playing online games or surfing social media, which adversely affects their physical and mental health as they are exposed to poor posture, physical and psychological stress, eye strain, etc. . Adults who were busy with office work and household chores usually parade on social media, resulting in the same problem. The elderly are shunned because each member of the family is busy scrolling, which makes them feel lonely.
5. Suicide / Self-Injury / 18+ Content
One of the biggest concerns with social media, which harms a huge number of people, is the type of content people follow, create or find on social media. The majority of social media posts don’t have an age limit filter or warning for different age groups. To find explicit or suicidal content on the internet, just search. Self-injuring images or video clips or 18+ content do not have any warnings regarding graphic content. All of this can develop an intimacy disorder or cause trauma in the younger generation. Children copy most of the acts from social media, where they find self-destructive content, which later prompts them to imitate the same actions.
Therefore, it becomes a moral responsibility for all of us, including me, to take our time on the internet as well as on smartphones. In addition, parents play a vital role in the discipline of the younger generation; they have to educate their children about the good and bad aspects of the Internet. Parents should hold their children accountable if they witness a disturbing act their child does if they are too young for it. A weekly or monthly report on child behavior should be compiled for children by teachers and submitted to their parents. On the other hand, adults should spend time with their friends, family and themselves and be grateful for their lives and the privileges they have rather than comparing their lives with people on the Internet.
– The writer is a BE Civil Engineering student at SSM College of Engineering. [emailÂ protected]