Amber is a writer with a diverse amount of knowledge and experience on various topics, including budgeting, parenting, and many more!
Social media is known for quite a few things. It helps us stay in contact with our friends and family. Sharing pictures with the entire family is but a mere share away. As people like other pictures, it gives them a quick dose of dopamine to make them feel good. More than anything, social media helps us stay connected. However, there are some people that say we're a little too connected to another, and to social media.
After I started paying attention to how much time I was spending online doing things that weren't productive, like Facebook, it started to hit me that I was spending too much time on these platforms. Browsing through TikTok while waiting suddenly turned into me getting lost on the platform for an hour. A quick scan of my newsfeed on Facebook would turn into half an hour of reading status updates from people that I don't even know, much less care about.
I decided that I personally needed a bit of a digital detox. I needed to hit the reset button. When I saw the results, which are feeling amazing, having more free time, and several other benefits, I couldn't help but dive down the rabbit hole into research about social media, and the role that it plays in our lives.
Advantages of Social Media
While someone staying glued to their phone to browse social media for hours every day is considered drastically unhealthy, there are quite a few wonderful things about social media. Whether it's posting pictures on Instagram or chatting with people on Facebook, you can't deny that there are some advantages of social media.
Easily Find People
Social media platforms make it easy to find other social media users, like long lost friends. You can reconnect with people that you haven't seen in years, from friends to relatives. This is one of the appeals of social platforms.
Great Way For Introverted People to Socialize
Introverted people are known for rarely wanting to leave their homes, and they may struggle to find the energy to be as active as their extroverted counterparts. However, social networking sites give introverted people an opportunity to socialize without having to use some of their energy to actually go somewhere.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing took the world of digital marketing by storm, and it remains one of the most popular skills to learn. Social media marketing allows businesses of all sizes to make sure that their ads get seen by their target audience, and these marketing campaigns offer surprisingly high results.
Long ago, it would take hours to tell everyone something that was happening to your child or family member because you had to call them all individually. Now, social media posts make informing people of something simply more efficient. Instead of sitting on the phone for hours, you can utilize social networking sites to keep your entire family updated on everything from your classes to your kids.
People Feel Connected
When people are able to log into their social media account to interact with others, they feel less lonely. People that live in isolated areas feel connected to the rest of the world again. Individuals that are on bed rest can still talk to their friends. If you work seven days a week like me, you simply don't have a lot of time to go out, and there's nothing fun about sitting in your office alone all day. It's worth it in the end, but you can't help but feel lonely some days. You don't have to feel lonely when you can log into social media channels.
Find Like-Minded People
If you always feel like the odd one out, you'll find some relief when you log into a social media app. You can easily interact with like-minded people that share your interests. It doesn't matter whether you're a specific political party, have interesting religious beliefs, or are interested in turtles, you can find your tribe on social media.
In a world where it kills to be kind, we need all the compassion that we can get most days. Social media can actually encourage people to be more compassionate as they view stories of other people. Because users feel connected to other people, they genuinely start to care about what is going on in their life, encouraging both empathy and compassion, according to this article.
Helps Create Opportunities for Social Change
Riots and protests seem to constantly be erupting, but there is quite a bit of change that is happening from these. It has all started with social media. Social media companies help people stay connected to organize massive protests, therefore creating more opportunities for positive change in the world.
Can Help Teens Find Friends
Although there are plenty of bad things about teens spending too much time online, it's important to note that social media channels can help children and teenagers find their own tribe. If they feel like the odd one out and are suffering from low self-esteem, finding a new friend group could actually provide several benefits.
Disadvantages of Social Media
Although there are plenty of advantages to using social media, there are quite a few disadvantages as well. Keep in mind both the good and the bad things when deciding whether to incorporate social media platforms into your life, or the lives of your children.
People Can Find You
While it's great that you can find your old friends, social media sites can make it a little too easy for other people to find you. For example, let's consider these children that were adopted. They didn't want to be found, but their biological parents insisted on harassing them on Facebook, even after they made it clear that they did not want to have anything to do with them.
This isn't just happening to adopted children that don't want to be found. It's happening to foster parents, and people that have had their children removed from their homes are being stalked by social workers. Did you adopt a child? There's a good chance the bio family will find a way to stalk you, and social networking sites are the easiest way to do it.
Long gone are the days when an ex was dead to you once you broke up with them or you had to three way a phone call to find out what someone said. Social networking sites make it all too easy for people to stalk, harass, and threaten each other.
The Cost of Caring
While social media channels can encourage empathy, it's important to note that too much of anything is a bad thing. When individuals consistently view negative events on social media that trigger them to feel compassionate, it quickly results in them having higher stress levels. Having those same high stress levels for a prolonged period of time can have a drastically negative impact on a person's mental health.
Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction problems continue to rise as more and more people spend their free time logged into social media networks. Users are now using these apps to keep in touch with people instead of face to face communication instead of using both. This is greatly contributing to social media addiction.
However, using social media apps to sty in touch with other people is not only what is causing social media addiction. The rush of feel good chemicals that the brain releases when a person gets a like on a picture is just one of the many things that contributes to making social media addictive. Apps like Tik Tok are often overstimulating. The constant bombardment of new information and brain stimulation makes it likely that people that use social media a lot are more likely to become addicted to social media.
As with any person that is addicted to something, you'll find that social media addicts often procrastinate things like work or spending time with family to continue to use. This can easily turn into a person losing their job or having problems in their relationships, just like when individuals have a substance abuse problem.
Can Make People Feel Insecure
As some people post only the best pictures to enhance their social media presence, other people are seeing those pictures and feeling insecure. Social media can easily trigger feelings of being inadequate in individuals that use social media regularly.
Can Actually Encourage Depression and Loneliness
The more time people spend on social media, the more they tend to become accustomed to it. This results in individuals slowly replacing the rest of their lives with social media. Eventually, this spirals out of control, resulting in people that used to have active social lives replacing their lives with apps. In the long run, this leads to both depression and loneliness.
Sometimes, it doesn't matter how wonderful you think your password is, hackers still make their way into your account. Not only do you have to deal with this, but your friends on social media are bound to post things about you or tag you in things. This may not bother you, but if you are an extremely private person it will be an issue for you.
Encourages a Sedentary Lifestyle
The more time people spend sitting on their phones focusing on their social media presence, the higher their social media usage is. This can result in a lot of time spent sitting down, which can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Individuals that live this type of lifestyle are at an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and several other complications that go hand in hand with being overweight.
Inhibits Development of Social Skills in Children
While most social media apps are not recommended for children under the age of 13, many children are still allowed to use them. It quickly results in a lack of direct connection with other people. They begin to interact with social media instead of having healthy interaction with friends, which can result in delayed development of social skills.
Too Much Information
The more time that you spend on social media, the more you are constantly exposed to new information. Not only does this waste time, but it exposed you to so much information that your brain cannot process it. You don't have time to logically decide whether something is fake news or facts.
There is no teacher online to make sure that your child is not going to be bullied. As parents, you might find it difficult to keep an eye out for bullying as well. Adults are also more likely to deal with cyberbullying if they spend a majority of their time on social media.
Creates a Need for Instant Gratification
Not being able to delay gratification is a symptom of ADHD, which, coincidentally, is on the rise now that children are constantly exposed to overstimulating apps and social media. Social media gives users instant gratification. Too much of that can quickly turn into social media users wanting the same thing in their lives, which doesn't happen very often.
Do You Need a Social Media Detox?
No one can deny that there are both good and bad things about using social media. It offers an opportunity to stay in touch with friends in the midst of our busy daily lives. However, we also must keep in mind that social media cannot replace genuine human connection.
There comes a time when you must ask yourself if you have crossed a line with your social media usage. Could you benefit from a social media detox? Do you need to hit the reset button? These are the most common signs of social media addiction, and signs that you need to unplug for a little while:
- You take pictures with posting in mind
- Everything revolves around social media
- You find yourself feeling discouraged if you don't get likes or heart reactions
- Social media is having a negative impact on your life
- Feeling compelled to check your phone as soon as you can
If you find yourself meeting several of these symptoms, it might be time to track your social media usage or consider deactivating your account for a bit.
Why is social media bad?
Many people consider social media to be bad because it can lead to social media addiction. There are suspicions that it can contribute to ADHD, a brain disorder frequently found in children. It can also lead to online bullying, and people being out of touch with reality. However, there are powerful benefits as well.
Is social media good for society?
When used appropriately, social media platforms can be wonderful for society. They allow faster communication so people can keep in touch with family. Individuals can learn about other cultures and talk to people across the world they would never be able to in real life.
How much time should I spend on social media?
Finding a balance in how much you use social media will allow you to enjoy the advantages of social media with as many of the negative effects. Make sure that you continue to connect with people on a deeper level, and try to limit social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day.
Social media comes with a vast array of both positive and negative effects. Using your social media time wisely and limiting your time on these platforms will help you enjoy the benefits while avoiding the pitfalls that come with social media.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Amber Lynn