How social media affects our mental health

This is ABIT breaking news. In today’s world, mobiles have become more than just devices, it has become our lives, a device that we desperately cling to while waiting for someone, standing in a queue or even while sitting at our homes with our loved ones. Social networking sites have swept generations off their feet over the past decades. Captivating for the youth and intriguing for the old, a social networking site was an experiment that became a phenomenon in no time! These founders seem to have been driven by the human need of companionship. Enabling people to connect with each other should have made the world more open and people more approachable. It should have made people more tolerant of other’s opinions and ready to embrace diversity. But did that happen? Surprisingly, it didn’t! Probably, human psychology had been misconstrued. Not only did social media give people a platform to associate with people from different strata of society but also a platform to flaunt their lifestyle. A feeling of inferiority complex started engulfing the common man on social media. As people started delving deep into each other’s lives, feelings of envy towards one another increased and desperation to attain higher standards added to people’s frustration.

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Unfortunately, they did not take this opportunity to draw inspiration from the substantial and accomplished people of society. This unveils an important attribute of human behaviour- it is easier to depress people than to inspire them. People flooding their social networking accounts with selfies testifies the narcissistic tendency of human beings. They’re so full of themselves that they have forgotten to appreciate the beauty of little things around them. Social media has created barriers among people, it causes teenagers, adults and children to develop a habit of checking their phones, Twitter, Facebook, etc., instead of having a conversation with the people around them. Yes we may have a MILLION friends on Facebook or thousands of followers on twitter but how will they ever help us, even if they wish to?. Virtual friends will never beat real friends. This is something many people can’t perceive as true. “I feel like I can’t stop checking my phone, leaving it for just 5 minutes makes me nervous and unable to do anything else. It’s like an addiction.” A study carried out at the University of Pennsylvania and published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, asked 140 undergraduates to either continue their regular use of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram or to limit each one to 10 minutes per day (30 minutes total). Study author Melissa G. Hunt in a statement: “It is a little ironic that reducing your use of social media actually makes you feel less lonely. Some of the existing literature on social media suggests that when you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.” To come to the conclusion, these technological creatures were developed to serve mankind, but their excessive use really creates a serious issue in our lives especially in the younger generation. Social networking is really a double-edged sword and really does make us less social if we are not careful. I’m Amy, live from Hanoi.

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