15 Aug Social Media? Or Pandora’s Box?
Every morning I wake up at 5:00am and run 3-5 miles. While I use my phone for music and tracking timing and distance, I don’t respond to notifications or check social media until at least 6:30am. I’ve found significant value in keeping my eyes open and drinking in the physical world, instead of constantly being drawn back to that blue light. Turns out, the feeling that I’m suffering from too much time on social media isn’t imagined or singular.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine cites a close relationship between a highlighted sense of loneliness and envy in individuals that spend more than 2 hours a day on social media.
A study published last year showed similar results, concluding that spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram resulted in depression and envy due to “unrealistic social comparisons.”
“These images and fairy tales are soaked up by our eager minds until we believe our peers’ lives are that much more idyllic than ours. In excess, this leads to negative self image and self doubt, as mentioned in the aforementioned studies.”
Yet more studies show that being on your phone right before bed is detrimental to your sleep and REM cycles.
Sitting on social media for more than 30 minutes a day means sitting and staring at the very best sides to anyone’s life or business that you will ever see. Every post you see was carefully deliberated upon before it was shared with the world. Every selfie was examined, relit, redone, and reexamined. Every news story was picked over with a thesaurus to ensure it sounds as novel as they wish it to be. Every video was reshot 40 times before it was deemed good enough for social media.
These images and fairy tales are soaked up by our eager minds until we believe our peers’ lives are that much more idyllic than ours. In excess, this leads to negative self image and self doubt, as mentioned in the aforementioned studies.
The leading scientists and researchers of our day have found alarming patterns concerning social media activity that we cannot ignore.
Social Ineptitude: The depression and heightened envy researchers found in young minds that spend too much time on social media cripples them for normal real life social interaction. The thirst for more social media also drives a divide between young minds spending time together. We now see groups of teens or even younger kids that are “hanging out”, while sitting on their phones.
Familial Divide: Perhaps a sub category of social ineptitude, we see even dinner tables are now commonly filled with silence as families catch up on news beamed at them from their smartphones, rather than share their own with their families.
Sleep Disrupt: A full sleep cycle is crucial to growth, sanity, and health. We know that teens and young adults sleep right beside their phone and wake up from buzzing or flashing from notifications. These constant interruptions, combined with the perpetual light to the brain is affecting our youth.
Publicised Harm: Whether self inflicted or inflicted on others, too many civilians are getting off on the power of attention. Knowing how many people are watching them brutalize a human being may be majority of the incentive behind an attack.
So what are we obligated to do, and what can we do?
RELATED TOPIC: Stop Wasting Time Online!
Social media is an unprecedented feature in our world, and as the generation that both built it and integrated it so thoroughly into real life, we have an obligation to become fully aware of all its flaws (as well as benefits) and preempt impending damage as we see it.
“Refrain from looking at phone or tablet when an adult is speaking to you.”
We are conducting studies and those studies are showing results. We have an obligation to react to those results, not simply share them.
As I’ve written about in the past, the only difference between success and failure is the “do” factor. We can talk about what we want should happen all we want, but until we do, it’ll never happen.
Doing comes in many stages and forms. Doing can be as little as sharing, but if it ends there, we don’t see success. Doing can be as much as banning internet use, but again, it does not solve the existing problem because in reality, we do still need to use the internet. So what do we do?
We have to make conscious changes in our own lives with the way we use and rely on social media in order for the generations we’re raising to not suffer from us having opened Pandora’s Box.
- Do not bring phones or tablets to breakfast or dinner.
- Place phones out of reach at night to get a full night’s sleep.
- Keep the phone on a counter or table when speaking to children.
- Refrain from looking at phone or tablet when an adult is speaking to you.
- Obtain a fidget spinner – or other fidget toy – to keep from glancing at the phone or tablet when bored.
- Restrict the amount of posts to Facebook / Instagram weekly.
- Restrict phone use for children.
As Elon Musk recently warned, “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.” Let’s stay ahead of this particular AI feature, shall we?
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About the Author: Slavy Darozhkin is a well renowned photographer from New York, who has found her calling in the world of social media marketing. She is the founder and CEO of startup digital marketing company #lilac Media, as well as photographer at SirenPhoto. With a keen passion for cannabis and its positive influence on our world, Slavy continues to seek out the pioneers of the green rush and assist in assimilating their businesses with the virtual world.