Social Media: The long lasting effects


space gray iPhone 6 with Facebook log-in display near Social Media scrabble tiles

"When wireless is perfectly applied, the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this but through television and telephony, we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do this will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket." 

In 1926, Nikola Tesla made this prediction regarding the smartphones we use now, and just 78 years after this statement, Facebook was launched, changing the way we communicate with people. The birth of Social Media came about with firstly MySpace, Friendster, Orkut and etc, to then Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now, we all are aware of how it is a game changer and I can't explain it any better. But are we all aware of how social media impacts our youth?  Certainly, only a handful of us understands the gravity of this and it is our duty to spread awareness among others. In this article, I'll be discussing some areas where social media leaves its trails on our mental health and how to remove the scars left by it.


high angle photo of person holding turned on smartphone with tall buildings background
                                           
On the bright side, social media is the tool we have craved for since ages due to the fear of losing contact with our loved ones and being unaware of their well-being. Along with that:

- It serves us a bridge which keeps us connected at every second of our day.
- We can easily find a person with common interests and beliefs which was never possible earlier.
- Sharing information has never been so easier and faster. All of this resulted in the evolution of technology at a much higher rate.
- It is our window to other nations as it lets us know about what's happening in different parts of the world.
- Education is accessible to almost every individual even if he/she resides in a remote area.
- Businesses are flourishing at a much higher level because of social media.
- Information sharing is so easy, fast and reliable now.
I guess we all are aware of the rich sides of social media, but the matters which concern me are the downsides of social media because, at the end of the day, everything comes with a price. On the surface, everything looks calm and satisfying but as we dig deeper and reach out to the roots we discover that these are the roots to which our problems are weaved. Listed below are problems I think every one of us should be concerned with: 

Privacy:

Once the sword was mightier, then came the pen and now it is replaced by data. In the 21' st century people are surrounded by all kinds of ad agencies surveying on them, 24/7 because they survive on this. Every single photo we upload on Facebook, every tweet we make, every text we send to our friends goes through those hungry algorithms used by every other company and comes out as a profile of the user. These profiles are later used to serve us ads. Now companies like Facebook say that they use this data to serve us better ads but we’ve seen over time how this data is breached and it leaves us naked in the out. Along with this, almost 55% of teens have given out personal information to someone they don't know, including photos and physical description. Stalking is now all-time easy now, thanks to our social media where users upload information without even giving a second thought. 
                                              
Cyber-bullying:

Terms like these originated after the birth of social media. The information that we trade online is not safe, and often time it ends up in the wrong hands which may even result in sexual assault. 24% of the users have had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission and 33% of all Internet-initiated sex crimes involved social networking sites. Many users use the internet as an escape from the real world, as they can be anonymous here. These individuals show their dark side only on social media by bullying girls, minors, and passing hate comments on various communities. Stats reveal that nearly 43% of minors have been bullied online at some point in their life and 1 in 4 faced it more than once because bullying someone online is easier to get away than in real life. Cyber-bullying is real and we should take strict action against it.

Depression, Anxiety, and Stress:

With the introduction of social media, we got an insight into other people’s lives, whether it is our friend or the celebrity we follow. Though it may look like we are happy with knowing what moment they are currently enjoying in their life, seeing a lot of these leaves us depressed. All those exotic pictures on the beach make us question ourselves that what are we doing with our lives? And why are we not enjoying as much as they are? Why are we lacking behind? Why can't I drink my coffee sitting in a hot air balloon with my partner? Questions like these stay in our brain whether we bring them up or not, and this eventually adds up to our depression.

Social media made one-night success a reality, though it doesn't last long. A year back we saw how an actress from Kerala gained millions of followers on her Instagram account in a week by just winking and later she was declared a national crush by many. The internet is full of these success accidents and everyone hopes for it to happen with them and thus they end up posting that perfectly imperfect selfie after 300 shots. Our eyes are glued at the notification bar so that we can witness that new like or any new comment without any delay. Just after a decade of the introduction of social media, we have changed our priorities so much that we focus more on our online image rather than communicating with our friends and family. Next time you go outside for dinner, notice how many people are stuck to their phones even on the dinner table? Our youth is more depressed and more stressed than it was ever before the impact of social media.
                                            
We have forgotten the reason behind the introduction of social media, it is to socialize with people and not compare our lives with them. Our youth spends more time on their smartphones and tablets than they do with their family and friends. Slowly we are drifting away from interacting with our friends and family and even if we meet them in person, sometimes all we discuss are the likes on our picture which we clicked together. Our minds are slowly being chained by the smartphones we use and we can only break these chains if we realize that, the way in which we are using social media is not beneficial for anyone, be it our family or us. We can do so by focusing on the bright side of social media because there are many people who made their career using the internet like Kylie Jenner, Bhuvan Bam, and many others. 

It’s high time that we understand this and not let other people control our emotions because addiction to anything is hard to cure, be it drugs, alcohol, or social media.

- Sachin Kumar



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Social Media: The long lasting effects  Social Media: The long lasting effects Reviewed by EMN on April 22, 2019 Rating: 5

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