Excessive use of social media
IT IS an old saying that excess of everything is bad, but sometimes excess of certain things or practices can be more dangerous and one must pay dearly.
Excessive use of social media can do the same to the users. It is true that social media provides people with an array of benefits and helps them strengthen their relationships, but its overuse can lead to dire consequences.
The article in question is an attempt to draw attention to the health-related consequences of excessive social media use.
According to modern medical science, health is defined as a state of absolute physical, mental and social well-being. It is not just about the absence of disease or deficiency in the human body.
In this perspective, it can be understood that disease or ailment is not just a physical condition in the human body, but is a combination of physical, psychological and social factors that affect health.
Modern medical science called this a bio-psycho-social health model. For someone to claim that excessive use of social media can negatively affect one’s health in all three perspectives, social, psychological and physical, would not be wrong.
Excessive use of social media can gradually affect the user psychologically, socially and physically as well.
This process can be very slow and steady, but eventually it has enough potential to cause serious health problems.
Excessive use of social media is in fact a behavioral addiction and can be just as dangerous to health as addiction to drugs or substances.
As an addict, he assures himself with every dose that he will surely get rid of this soon; likewise, a social media addict believes that he will definitely avoid its overuse in the future.
But if truth be told both kinds of addicts rarely do. There are no hard and fast rules for distinguishing between moderate and excessive social media use, but it’s actually not that hard to distinguish.
At a minimum, if you feel restlessness and irritability when you are not using social media and you cannot resist using it during important tasks like study, office work, eating, driving or during family time, then you are addicted to it.
Likewise, if you check the notifications repeatedly to see and count the comments, likes, shares, and followers, you are addicted and this condition can affect you psychologically.
Excessive use of social media can cause psychological problems, mood swings, isolation, anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.
Excessive social media users often experience fear of missing out. This is a mental illness where you start to think that all your friends are living a luxurious life and having a great time by traveling, eating, meeting with friends, but you are missing all of this.
This condition can further have some serious adverse consequences leading to mental and physical health problems.
Excessive use of social media can also spoil one’s social life. Excessive users may have feelings of superiority or an inferiority complex, and these feelings ultimately affect personal relationships as well as social life.
The feeling of being superior to others usually arises because the social media friends rarely criticize the posts but they always admire the same thing without determining the quality of the post and this admiration sometimes turns into the feeling of superiority.
Such users upload their selfies, photos and videos along with fascinating posts about themselves and believe that their friends want to see everything about him.
Conversely, social media users can sometimes have feelings of being overwhelmed or have an inferiority complex from seeing the unrealistic lifestyle and fake beauty of the social media world and comparing it to their own real lives.
This unhealthy comparison increases the feeling of being inferior and leading a miserable life. Social media often develops a false sense of intimacy and closeness in the users with the friends of the social media and eventually the users start ignoring their real relationships which eventually disturbs their real relationships.
If your close relations, especially parents, siblings, wife and children are not satisfied with your social media propensity, it is an indication that social media is affecting your family relationships.
An excessive social media user can also have serious consequences for physical health. Constantly looking at the device for hours can interfere with vision and eyes.
Long sittings, especially after eating, can cause stomach complications and many other health problems.
An irregular sleep pattern can cause insomnia, a sleep disorder. An excessive user can hardly make time for healthy activities such as walking, exercise, physical games, prayers, reading books and spending time with friends and family, which sooner or later have a bad influence on health.
In a nutshell, it’s true that the detrimental effects of social media are all too real for many of us, so it’s very important to be aware that a harmless hobby can seemingly turn into an addiction.
If you realize that excessive use of social media is negatively impacting your life, stop it immediately and go for a better plan.
—The writer is PhD (Medical Social Work) Social Welfare Officer, Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal Department, Rawalpindi