Harmful effects of social media

02.12.2020

The emergence of social networks continues to modify the way in which we relate to the world, not only do they allow us to interact with people at a distance, they also make it possible to break the borders that previously prevented us from accessing knowledge, cultures and even currently sustaining our economy COVID-19, in some cases.

However, its use, being an affordable and everyday tool, becomes a double-edged sword. For example, is it difficult for you to disconnect from your cell phone because you are not aware of the news of the moment? Do you feel despair, anger or frustration when you are not connected on your social networks most of the time? Do you generally compare yourself or feel sad when seeing the publications of your acquaintances? Do you notice changes in your mood by not having the likes you expected?

In this article we will talk a little about these effects that have become a daily phenomenon associated with the excessive use of social networks, to finally talk about the importance of self-care.

The excessive use of social networks in today's society

Today the phenomenon of the digital age is going through us, and with it important psychosocial changes arise. To begin with, many people have entered the virtual world for personal reasons. Some to have greater communication with their relatives, friends or even have access to their professional activities; on the other hand, others resort only for entertainment. What is a fact is that this technological revolution has brought a change in the whole process of socialization and, consequently, many alterations and psychological repercussions.

With all this, the Internet world has generated networks that connect millions of people at the same time within spaces that affect the way of thinking and feeling, generating appropriation dynamics in which certain attitudes and behaviors are expected when programming ideas that sometimes they violate people, starting from their self-perception.

For this reason, the issue of identity is one of the most affected axes, being multidirectional and a preponderant element in the life of any person made up of a spectrum of qualities, characteristics and traits that are perceived and recognized to distinguish themselves from the rest. However, from the incidence of social networks, the idea is sold that all people are identical, being in a medium that prevents physical encounter, exposing themselves to the loss of privacy when the phenomenon of recognition and approval of others.

Psychological factors

Contemplating this, there are many alterations in people's lives, being constantly related to the excessive use of social networks, as shown by several studies by showing the relationship they have with stress, anxiety and depression, given the reward promising to be a successful person by the amount of "likes" or retweets they may have.

In addition, consider that there are many minors who grow day by day with these ideas; This demand becomes part of their daily life as they are surrounded by social roles and stereotypes.

In this scenario, we can continue talking about the addiction that is created by being immersed most of our time in the networks, leading to a series of changes in behavior, such as:

  • Loss of notion and control of time.
  • Irritability and isolation.
  • Poor performance in routine activities.
  • Disinterest in things that used to be done and enjoyed before.
  • Alterations in the wake-sleep cycle.
  • Unsafety.
  • Overweight due to sedentary lifestyle.
  • Excessive energy from the phone or other link that allows you to connect to social networks.

Sociological factors

Once we have considered in an isolated way the effects of self-perception on the person and the psychological effects, it is necessary to see how these conditions are extrapolated in the social field, so let's move on to interpersonal relationships, in which obviously there is a whole revolution in socio-cultural dynamics. A change in communication can be observed, starting from family, school and work.

Being immersed most of the time in social networks, the loss of attention, concentration and memory capacity begin to be more constant, which makes it impossible to have deep, pleasant or productive conversations at work, with friends and / or relatives.

In addition to this, physical encounters are becoming more and more complicated in these times, since the arrival of COVID-19 has reduced daily encounters, so the use of social networks has increased to continue communicating remotely. The increase in cyber consumption in everyone's life, especially in adolescents, is undeniable, which has fostered disdain for the influence of the Other in the social fabric.

Finally, it is important to make visible the risk that these generations run when exposing themselves from cyberbullying, sexual harassment (where women have been most affected) and sexual encounters or dates with strangers, since the promising myth of empowerment has allowed people to interact and have erotic exchanges, with which many times they end up being violated when circulating intimate content without their consent and, therefore, there is a severe psychological alteration.

Final thoughts

Being aware of the role of social networks in our lives is essential to prevent the chaotic consequences of its excessive use, especially with the issue of addiction.

Despite the fact that nowadays we know that they are part of our daily life, bringing together that they are also multifaceted instruments and their intervention in capitalism gains greater strength from globalization and neoliberalism, it is important that from self-care we deepen our role with the excessive use of social networks or, if you consider that you have difficulties, try to find alternatives that prevent you from experiencing these psychosocial effects at some point.

Finally, I consider it pertinent to mention some recommendations as part of self-care:

  • Keep track of time use.
  • If you think it's hard for you to stop watching content that hurts or harms you, start with short goals and gradually resolve to stop watching it.
  • Do not stop doing the activities that you enjoy so much, as long as they do not put you at risk from the pandemic.
  • Leave your cell phone or any digital device aside during your sleep hours. Don't let it influence your waking hours and try to sleep at least 8-9 hours.
  • Enjoy the company of your loved ones.
  • Remember that you are a unique person and that the number of likes or retweets does not define anyone.

Just as the use of social networks can be dangerous in excess, we can also put them to good use. The most important thing is that from self-care we do not allow the demands of the cyber world to lead us to have these psychosocial problems from which it is difficult to get out.

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