It is very difficult to ignore the gigantic impact social media is having on our lives in the internet age. When we add up all the people who use at least one social media application, we end up with a total of almost four billion. That is close to, if not more than, half of the people living on the face of this Earth! Pretty impressive, huh? We will tell you something even more impressive. The average internet user spends more than two hours on the internet every single day! You sleep for eight hours. Commute and preparation for work take two hours in total. Work and lunch take nine hours. This means that we are spending half of our free time on social media!
Given the momentous influence the phenomenon holds, it makes sense to call the time when social media was not invented in a completely different era than what we are witnessing now. Yes, it has brought great benefits to society. It has helped the suppressed uproot dictatorships and loved ones to stay in touch. Alongside, it has provided a significant number of people with opportunities to make money. However, there are many things that the excessive usage of social media has taken away from us as well. To help us all realize what we are missing as a society in the social media era, we will be identifying some of the most important things, we believe, social media’s excessive usage has stolen from us. Beware that we are not at all saying that you should unsubscribe to Xfinity internet or whichever internet you are paying for. All we are aiming to do is caution you from the harmful effects of excessive internet and social media usage.
If we are spending half of our free time on something that was non-existent before, we must be taking out time from something else. As social media is, by definition, a medium for us to interact with other humans, many choose to take time away from in-person interactions. They think interacting with social media will be enough to fulfill their social needs of belonging and intimacy. However, they are mistaken. Lack of in-person interactions has led to a lot of people getting depressed. In fact, research has shown that a single hug a day can reduce the likelihood of you falling into depression.
If we don’t take time away from in-person chit chats, we may be taking time away from sports. Kids especially have started preferring playing games on social media to getting together and playing sports. This has negatively impacted our physical fitness. This also is detrimental to our mental health. After all, a healthy body leads to a healthy mind and an unhealthy body leads to an unhealthy mind. We are simply not getting the endorphin boost we get from engaging in intense physical activity.
Another important thing that sports brings to our lives is healthy competition. Now that most of us are not playing it as much, kids often do not know how to accept and keep going on upon defeat. Overall, this has resulted in kids being demotivated to excel at school as well.
While sports teach us healthy competition, social media has inculcated unhealthy competition in us. Just think about all of the times when a person’s photo on the beach made us more conscious about the way our body looks. Truth be told, we do not need to know what each of one our “friends” on Facebook are up to every day. We put the term in inverted commas to highlight how we barely even know all these people narratives of whom we are getting updated about each and every day.
Social media often leaks information that you do not want to be seen by the rest of the world. In the Cambridge Analytica scandal, hackers were able to break into the data of many social media users of Facebook. Facebook (now Meta) owns three of the most used social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. The point of naming it was not to defame it but to show you how even a social media industry giant could not ensure internet privacy.
In the preceding paragraph, we gave an example of your data being leaked without your consent. However, many times, we compromise our own privacy by posting stories on social media. Not all people you have as Facebook friends are well-wishers. Therefore, it may not be a very good idea to post about everything you do on it.
Hopefully, you have gotten an idea of how social media impacts your life.
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