Let’s face it – Social Media is the new normal. Future generations will never live without the ability to communicate instantly, share (or overshare) the details of their lives with the simple click of a button. The benefits of social media are clear to all.
But what are the costs. What is the effects of social media on our health and mental wellness? What are the costs to our relationships?
Statistics show that 72% of online adults are using social media – in fact the average user spends up to 23 hours a week online; using social media and other communication tools. And a study conducted by Stanford University found that 50% of people using social networks have indicated that this use has made their lives worse. They admit that their self esteem is affected because they compare themselves and their success (or lack thereof), to what others post about themselves, leaving them feeling inadequate or less. The irony of that is that many people post half truths or lies about their lives on social media in order to seem more impressive or successful than they may actually be.
An argument can also be made for how Anti-Social, social media is becoming. Take the infograhic below:
Social networking seems to give people a license to be mean. There seems to be a disconnect with people when they post on social media…you aren’t actually saying anything mean to a persons face which makes it much easier to be rude. So much so that Jimmy Kimmel has an entire section of his show where celebrity’s read mean tweets
The truth is that Social Media is consuming people. It is estimated that there are 2.03 Billion global active social media users…and we collectively spend 39,757 years of our time on Facebook every single day! It has even created a phenomenon called ‘FOMO’ – the Fear of Missing Out. This is so wide spread that people admit to checking their social media feeds before they even get out of bed, and have even admitted to checking, reading or posting on social media sites while using the bathroom!
Substituting social media for real life human interaction is costly to our relationships. It is much more important to provide a friend who is going through a difficult time with a real life in person hug than a smiley face emoticon followed by a heart. And an LOL or a LMAO can never replace that spirit lifting full on belly laugh you share with a friend that makes tears stream down your face and threaten to make you pee your pants just a little!
The internet has brought the world to our back door. While social media has helped to bring us closer together, it also threatens to push us further apart. Good judgement and integrity are paramount!