Social Media and SNSs (Social networking sites) are becoming essential to communication and interaction. Social networking sites with millions of users are becoming leading tools for communication and interaction around the Globe. The majority of users consider the use of SNSs a part of their everyday lifestyle. It is almost impossible for some people to live without checking their social networking accounts on an hourly basis. People use these accounts to communicate, to share their life moments, to reach and share information, to read the news, to organize events, and so on. Social networking sites provide users the ability to know what is going on around the world. Furthermore, the average user also can reach influential people in society and interact with them on social media platforms. With fast and convenient features, Social networking sites are becoming one of the most effective information tools around the world.
Advantages of Social Media:
In today’s information environment that changes dramatically and swiftly, social media and SNSs (Social Networking Services) are powerful and beneficial tools. Specifically, Bertot et al. identified four major benefits of using social media: “collaboration, participation, empowerment, and time.” Social media are collaborative and participatory because it naturally consists of social interaction. It allows many individuals to create communities to talk and connect with each other, as well as exchange their ideas and information. People also get together on social platforms in order to speak up for a mutual aim or awareness.
The fact that social media allows individuals to speak up and show that they also have something to say is a benefit called “empowerment.” Individuals and organizations alike can use this inexpensive method to disseminate their opinions and criticize powerful traditional media, politicians, or any other individual or organization in communities using social media. Finally, social media platforms and tools give their users opportunities to share and access the information they desire almost instantly in real-time.
Disadvantages of Social Media:
Social media has many advantages but on the other hand, it has too many disadvantages also. It is damaging people’s lives in many different ways. Almost all people of all ages are affected by social sites. Especially the teens are the most affected young generation, as they are at the earlier stages of their practical lives. Some of the major disadvantages of social media on teens lives are:
1. Erroneous World of Comparison & Curiosity:
I have read somewhere “Comparison is an act of violence against the self” and to see this in practice, look at today’s user of Social Media and you will come to know about this misery. It is human nature that they hide their miseries but highlight others’ 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 others. What they are eating, what they are wearing, what they are buying, and even where they are currently going for their honeymoon.
Being quite unrelated to each other, teens start taking a deeper interest in their lives as these updates are free of cost for them. There comes the virus of comparison and curiosity. Instead of being self-satiated, they start comparing their happiness with others after benchmarking their lives.
After idealizing others’ perfections, they start wishing the same for them without doing similar hard work. Their 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 teens anywhere except bringing depression, anxiety, and a sense of failure in life.
2. Depression & Anxiety:
Depression and anxiety is a common problem in today’s’ generation. Even teens are also affected by stress and anxiety. One of the main reasons behind this depression and anxiety is sitting in front of screens and doesn’t take part in physical activities like games and exercises. Social media and video games have made their mind congested which leads them towards depression and anxiety.
Teens constantly realize their failures or struggle and over the recognition of other’s success or happiness gradually produces anxiety in their behavior. Instead of focusing on their lives, character, strength & their goals, they get easily disoriented by others, most of the time by those who have the least involvement in their lives.
Observing other’s pictures/videos of enjoyment, shopping, dining out & traveling on social media is making teens copy them. In pursuit of achieving what others have, they gradually become the victims of anxiety which leads to depression at a later stage. Instead of focusing on their own lives, they take interest in others lives because they have greatly influenced them. Others living style admired them to wish their standards in life. That’s why our religion teaches us not to be curious about other’s life (Al-Qura’an, ref: Surah Hujuraat, Verse 12).
Research has also shown that using social media more than 2 hours a day adversely affects your mood due to the monotonous working of your brain.
3. Clan of Fake Friends:
The terms of “Friends” or “Followers” being used on Facebook or Instagram don’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 the real life. Leaving our real friends, family members, children, and well-wishers behind, we keep ourselves pandering in never-ending interaction with our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter fellows who are actually just another logged-in users and nothing else.
A lot of interaction and thinking of them true friends generate 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 at some particular time, 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.
This Clan of Fake Friends are influencing the mind and lives of the teens. At a teenager, they can’t understand the disadvantages and side effects of having such virtual friends and followers. But when they get mature, they have nothing in their real lives. They just waste their time and emotional energy with people who are just like a virtual machine.
4. Breach of Privacy:
Besides many reported cases of Cyber Crimes due to leaked private information like 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, spouse, family, or children all the time with people who don’t really care about you.
Despite knowing the fact that all the pictures and videos are downloadable, we still distribute this data to hundreds of people on a daily basis, for the reason nobody knows. For me, it is always upsetting, if others have my spouse, children, or relatives’ pictures saved in their hard drive for unknown reasons.
When people will realize the sensitivity of this breach?
One of the facts is that these photographs and videos can be edited into a characterless form, which can ruin the privacy of anybody at any stage of life. Very few of the users learn about the privacy policies these websites offer whereas mostly remain unaware. Privacy issues become serious once they are related to our teenage children, especially girls.
5. Addiction & Health Issues:
Research has also shown that Social Media is more addictive than cigarettes & alcohol. And 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.
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 do 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, looking after her children, waste hours and hours of their valuable time in chatting and exploring fun stuff.
Have you ever imagined how would you react if all of your Social Media applications get vanished one day with all of your contacts?
There is no time for exercise, but having plenty of hours for gossiping on WhatsApp groups, and then we complain about being unfit. No time for Social Work, meeting old neighbors/forgotten relatives, bringing 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 the long run is not causing anything prosperous for our well-being.
This is one of the major disadvantages of social media for teen’s personal health and social life. Health issues like insomnia, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and eyesight problems are a few of the main reported health hazards caused by overusing your Social Media gadgets. The damages of emotional and mental health are unlimited due to the overuse of Social media.
This way social media is destroying the lives and careers of our Teens. It is very much difficult to prevent our teens from using social media but it is essential to do. We all need to think about the side effects of these social platforms. Teens must be encouraged to limit their use of social media and other digital inventions, otherwise, their mental health and grooming will be strongly be affected.
These were a few of the negative aspects and disadvantages of Social media 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 misuse of it, we have distorted the equation. Either the usage of Social Media should be brought under 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 my beautiful advice to all ….
You can’t upload Love.
You can’t download Time, and
You can’t Google all of Life’s Answers.
YOU MUST ACTUALLY LIVE SOME OF YOUR LIFE
What advice would you like to give to the Teens about the overuse of Social Media?