The Disadvantages of Social Media Networks
Why I am deciding to limit the usage of Social Media
“Once one of my friend told me there is a life outside the internet & that I should check it out. I asked her to send me a link”.
Every technology and innovation has instigated some cost to society along with the benefits it offers. With the advent of electricity, the telephone, and home appliances few decades back, the world might have not experienced or remembered the dreadful effects of these inventions because their benefit surpass their failings at a great margin. Same goes with computers, supercomputers, the internet, e-commerce, and smartphones unless Social Media arrived.
Being human, it’s our basic need to interact with others i.e. to communicate, express and make relationships in order to develop our sense of belongingness. Also being human, we need recognition & constant appreciation for our day-to-day achievements from people around us. Many remain keen to understand cross-cultural values through a constant desire of meeting with people of different origins. We want to be acknowledged on everything we have, on whatever we are.
Social Media offered this podium globally to every native of this world, by fulfilling our needs of recognition & affiliation by connecting us to each other mainly through our Smartphones, Tablets & Laptops. It is a very basic need of the day and we even can’t think of a moment in our lives without social media. It has become as necessary as food for a living. Also, it has united the world so close together virtually/digitally.
Social Media can be defined as any medium (precisely via internet in today’s era) where you can share your thoughts simultaneously with a group of people in the form of information, opinions, conversation, pictures, videos and post related to any topic; irrespective of any geographical boundary.
Social Media has transformed this world into a real global village. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snap-chat & LinkedIn are some of the popular and widely used interacting social sites. However there are currently 17 social applications used across the digital globe.
Since the inception of these social media websites/applications, these companies have become billionaires in a short span of time as their customer base is soaring up each day. Till 2019, it is estimated that there will be around 2.77 billion social network users around the globe, up from 2.46 billion in 2017. Furthermore, 17 social media platforms have at least 300 million active users in October 2022. Where in Pakistan, there is an estimated 71.70 million active social media users which are constantly increasing in this fastest growing telecom & internet markets.
We all know well the advantages of these Social Media applications. We can access any information, talk to our beloveds, share our pictures and live videos, exchange our opinions, update ourselves with happenings around us, connect with the employers of our companies, and spread social awareness through blogging and micro-blogging. As a result, the smartphone industry is also growing and coming up with the most modern gadgets having advanced and multi-tasking functions. The world has squeezed into our hands now and we hardly can imagine moving on in life without connecting with each other.
Access to everything is bad. Besides so many known benefits of Social Media, let’s analyze the dark side of social media as well i.e. the disadvantages of social media particularly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp applications. Here we are going to highlight some of the ethical & psychological dimensions of tribulations we experience by over usage of the above-stated applications.
Erroneous World of Comparison & Curiosity: I have read somewhere that
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self”
And to see this practically, look at today’s user of Social Media and you will clearly observe this misery. It is human nature that we hide our miseries but highlights our happiness mostly as a sign of boastfulness.
Social Media especially Facebook and Instagram allow us to look into the lives of others unnecessarily. People glorify their routine happiness by posting pictures to gain the attention and praise of their audience. What they are eating, what they are wearing, what they are buying and even where they are currently going etc. etc…
Being quite unrelated to each other, we start taking deeper interest into their lives as these updates are free of cost for us. There comes the virus of comparison and curiosity. Instead of being self-satisfied, we start comparing our happiness with others after benchmarking their lives. After idealizing others’ perfections, we start wishing the same for us without doing the similar hard work. Our own happiness and achievements become insignificant and meaningless while chasing up society’s standards. It generates other negative personality traits like jealousy & resentment also. This worthless race is not taking us anywhere except brining depression, anxiety and fear of failure in life.
Depression & Anxiety: Constantly realizing our failures or struggle and recognizing others’ success or happiness gradually produce anxiety in our behaviour. Instead of focusing on our lives, character, strength & goals, we get easily disoriented by others, most of the time by those who have the least involvement in our lives. Scrolling others’ pictures/videos of shopping, dining out & traveling on Social Media compels us to copy them. In pursuit of achieving what others have, we gradually become the victim of anxiety which leads to depression at a later stage.
That’s why our religion teaches us not to be curious about other’s life (ref:Sura Hujuraat Verse 12).
Research has also shown that using social media more than 2 hours a day adversely affects your mood due to monotonous working of your brain.
Clan of Fake Friends: The terms of “friends” or followers being used on Facebook or Instagram doesn’t mean a real friend or follower of yours: which means you get yourself surrounded & influenced by so many virtual friends who are seldom available for you in real life. Leaving our real friends, family members, childrens and well-wishers behind, we keep ourselves pandering in never ending interaction with our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter fellows who are actually just logged in users and nothing else.
This gap generates unrealistic expectations from these friends which are never met. Even on WhatsApp, most of the time, we are involved in communicating with people whom we find online, no matter we really like them in real life or not. As a result, we are giving valuable moments of our life to insignificant people instead of spreading love to our precious ones.
Breach of Privacy: Besides many reported cases of Cyber Crimes due to leaked private information of location, family and wealth, this breach of privacy is what all of us are doing regularly through our social media network. There is no benefit of uploading & sharing personal pictures and video clips of yourself, your spouse, family, or children all the time with people who don’t really care about you. Despite knowing that all the pictures and videos are downloadable, we still distribute this data to hundreds of people on daily basis, for the reason nobody knows.
For me it is always upsetting, if others have my spouse, children or relatives’ pictures and videos saved in their hard drive for unknown reasons. Very few of the users learn about the privacy policies these websites offer. Privacy issues become serious once they are related to our teenage children, especially girls in my society.
When will we realize the sensitivity of this breach?
Addiction & Health Issues: Research has shown that Social Media is more addictive than cigarettes & alcohol. Yes, It’s true. As the addict can’t live without his drug, imagine yourself spending just one-half of the day without your Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or WhatsApp. We simply can’t.
Have you ever imagined how would we react if all the Social Media networks get vanished suddenly?
This is called addiction which implies that instead of controlling Social Media; actually we are being controlled by it, which is our failure. Due to this addiction, we waste a lot of time. Men use it in their offices, no wonder why many workplaces have banned these social media websites on their premises and networks. Women at home, instead of scheduling the day with their routine work, cooking and looking after the children, waste hours and hours chatting and exploring fun stuff.
You might also be interested in Effects of Social Media on Teenagers
We have no time for exercise, but plenty of hours for gossiping on WhatsApp groups and then we complain about being mentally and physically upset. We have no time for Social gatherings, meeting with old neighbours or forgotten relatives, to bring children for sports and recreational activities, but yes, plenty of time to sit on a couch and operate multiple social media applications, simultaneously.
Instead of fulfilling our hobbies and talent, we have selected Social Media as our hobby which in longer run is not causing anything prosperous for our well-being.
Health issues like insomnia, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain and eyesight problems are few of the main reported health hazards caused by overusing your gadgets for Social Media. The damages of emotional and mental health are unlimited.
These were few of the negative aspects discussed in brief. Social Media came into being to give us a stage of expression so we may not feel dejected. It was to bridge our connections and to provide us little space for ourselves but due to its misuse, we have distorted the equation. Either the usage of Social Media should be brought under a strict self-discipline or better to restrict (or quit) for those who can’t control these factors well.
In the end I want to share a beautiful advice to all ….
While using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram;
You can’t upload Love
You can’t download Time
You can’t Google all of Life’s Answers
YOU MUST ACTUALLY LIVE SOME OF YOUR LIFE
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