How many times on average do you check your social media accounts like Facebook?
How many times do you come online to check a new update from your favourite celebrity or lifestyle role model?
The exact number might be surprising for you. Isn’t it?
In this era when we are surrounded by smartphone new technologies and gadgets 24/7 around us. There has been a significant increase in the percentage of social addiction for people between the age group of 15-40 (Teenagers and young adults). There has been a time when only a few can afford internet and that too for their essential work not to be active and showcase themselves on social media but due to the rise in the technology lead to the rise in the availability of the internet to each and everyone on ease which is good but somehow it has also increased the social addiction.
Communication is essential for all of us to communicate with each other which is essential and unavoidable. But communication today is far more different from past time. In past we used to communicate through face to face interaction with each other not by liking someone’s post or commenting on it and then messaging him or her means that one is interacting with the other.
To be in touch with each other to help us to create a social world made up of likes, hearts, emoticons. And trends which are been modified on a day to day basis by non-other than us. Social validation had now become an essential part of our life a simple heart react to our post can give us joy a text message or meme from our close friends can make our day within seconds. And overall fear of judgement by peers, fear of missing out from a new trend or just the phobia of been left out alone lead us to become a more social addict. Social addiction is not only physical addiction but psychological too. It is all related to our brain chemistry a study from Harvard University suggests that self-disclosure on the social network has the same effect on our brain as of taking addictive substances like drugs.
Psychology suggests that social addiction is based on the people ego and increases self-esteem, we all need a platform to showcase our self to show off our lifestyle. It’s a human tendency and social network is the perfect platform for us to do so, where someone is popular by their number of followers and likes. We live in a society where we all have to continuously update our self to show what we are doing by posting it to our feed to gain more followers and likes. Also, social sites have been a great platform for social comparison and to showcase the self-esteem of a person.
The mental health issues one can face using social sites are People on social media compares themselves with one other and to their ideal life which they want life often lead to a feeling of inadequacy among them.
Some of the people on social sites show positive signs of a type of schizotypy generally known as social anhedonia (inability to feel happy from activities they used to enjoy).
Social addiction results in anxiety and depression as a consequence social media users generally experience fear of missing out (FOMO). When the person things that others are enjoying without him and he is not smart enough to stand with others which is a positive sign of anxiety.
Other than mental health problem there are several physical health issues related to social addiction one of the most commonly observed issue is insomnia or lack of sleep which is a type of sleep disorder caused due to staying up late in the night texting and browsing feeds on social sites. Which further leads to depression. Another important health issue is due to the inactivity of the person. Rise in social network also caused a rise in the obesity rate. People generally spend most of their time being online rather than doing physical activity which leads to obesity, diabetes, several cardiovascular problems, breathing issues etc.
However, there are several ways by which we can control the overuse of social media and its effects. Some of the common ways to reduce social addiction is by utilizing more and more time doing physical activities and a hobby which can be anything like painting, singing, dancing and so on. One can research by looking at different sources like books and other material rather than just by clicking one button. Parents can also limit the time and usage of social networks by their younger kids by setting parental control or by spending more time with them teaching them the consequences of over-usage.
This article was written by Puru Goel, Indian science student.