Negative effects of Social Media

What social media account do you have? Twitter? Snapchat? Facebook? Instagram?

Some of you probably have all of them and more. The point is most people have at least one social media account. Social networking has grew in popularity over the years. It changed how people communicate, do business and receive the news. Social media has helped people stay connected. You probably have friends and family that live in a different state or country so staying in touch would prove rather difficult if not for social media.

Social networking allows people to share pictures, videos and etc. Businesses can also take advantage of social media. Social media is a good way for companies to advertise products and services. Social media is also the fastest way to get the news when you need it. The days of getting up and fetching the newspaper is long gone and over. However, as much as people like social media, social media has effects on health. Let’s get into some ways where social media negatively impacted your health and privacy.

Networking Beatdown

Yes, social media has major effects on health. First let’s discuss social networking affect on your physical health. Social networking on it own is not necessarily a bad thing. The trouble comes when people use social media too much. Yes people, there are many addictions out there and social media addiction is another that can be added to the list. “We Are Social” continuously update their global stats. Their Global Digital Report 2019 shows that there are over 3.4 billion social media users worldwide in 2019. In addition according to Edison Research’s Percentage of U.S. population with a social media profile from 2008 to 2019 survey more than

70 percent of Americans have a social media as of 2019.

This shows that there are many people who are active users and susceptible to becoming addicts. If someone uses too much social networking, it can result in:

  • Fatigue
  • Vision loss
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lack of awareness.

No Rest for the User

social media fatigue

The fact is too much screen time equal not enough sleep time.

You know how in the movies when it’s time for characters to go to bed. They would turn off the bedroom light and immediately the light of their device fills the room. Whether it be light from their phone, tablet or laptop, the fact in that people are still online probably on their social media profile as well. This case is not just a newly growing movie trope, but a real thing that people do. The time that people should be using to rest up and rejuvenating their body, they are instead using to send a last minute tweet or scroll through Instagram. The fact of the matter is that leaving that bright screen light in front of your face at night not only hurts your eyes, but tricks your brain into thinking it needs to stay up.

Phone Near the Eyes Makes Your Whole Vision Blind

mobile usag in dark

Speaking of hurt eyes, it is no secret that having your eyes glued to your phone and other devices is bad for your eyes. So the fact that social networking makes people want to use their devices more doesn’t help. Spending too time in front of your phone screen can cause something called Computer Vision Syndrome. Computer Vision Syndrome or CVS is the strain on the eyes caused from using a digital device for a prolonged period of time. Some of you may think that just sit in front of your computer is harmless, but the syndrome if not prevented can cause eye irritation, blurred vision and even neck or back pains.

Online Social Networking Not Just Bad for the Eye, Bad for Hands

Businessman suffering from wrist pain in office

Ever heard of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? As a social media user this is definitely something to be caution of when using your device. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition when the nerve in the wrist area becomes numb and compressed. There is no direct cause to Carpal Tunnel. However,

the overuse of your phone and other electronic devices definitely helps contribute to damage to your wrists.

Love for Social Media But Isn’t Good for the Heart

social media love

I know, I know. You’re probably wondering how is it possible for too much social media to be bad for my heart. Think of it less like a direct cause and effect and more like a chain reaction. Using too much social media means that you are spending most of your time sitting down on your phone or behind a computer. In turn, this means that you are spending less time exercise and most likely outside. As a result of

this lack of exercise, your body is more susceptible to heart disease or having a stroke.

See? Don’t let your urge to update your Facebook or answer a Snapchat stop you exercising or doing other physical activities.

Alert: Watch Out Around You 

When you go out to a restaurant or take a ride on a bus, what do you see people doing? I bet a lot of them have their head down while looking at their phones. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Whether it’s at the mall, in the store or even just walking on the sidewalk, most people have their eyes glued to their phones. There is so many social media accounts that people can use that people want to update and check their notifications all the time. Users are so consumed by this that many have begun to disregard their surroundings.

social media usage in public

This phenomenon is more dangerous than you may think. There are already many stories of people getting attacked or stabbed while being distracted by their phones. Back in 2014, an article was released about a case of a Toronto man getting stabbed after bumping into suspect while texting. The man had his head down completely distracted by his phone that he didn’t even notice the suspect until it was too late. There have also been other cases of people distracted by their devices accidentally walking into traffic. Too much social media can be hard on the body and unfortunately also on the mind.

Social Media Plays Mind Games

Social Media has effects on health not just physically, but mentally too. Sometimes, it’s crazy to think much of a hold social media has on everything from something as big as the world to something small as the individual mind. Social media has definitely changed the way some people think, but not always in the best sense. As much as people love how social networking brings users together, it can also isolate individuals and mentally scar others. Social media has been known to cause:

  • Depression
  • Lack of social skills
  • Cyber-bullying
  • FOMO

Social Networking Got You Down?

social media causes depression

Social Networking brings us much joy and pleasant into our humdrum lives. However, it can also brings us down sometimes even more than it brings us up. Human beings, most often than not, measure their self worth in relative to others. So when you explore social media and see the wonderful things your friends or even strangers are doing it can bring you down. Mary is on another trip to France, I wish I had the money for that. Jason is partying hard in the Big Apple, but I’m stuck here at work. People normally post the most interesting and exciting activities they do and our lives may seem pretty bland and dull in comparison. A study conducted by American Journal of Epidemiology showed that the regular use of Facebook had a negative impact on most of the subjects’ well-being.

Viewing social networks can make a person’s life seem worse than what it is which can put a person in a state of depression.

Social Networking without Social

Social Networking has been known to cause a lack of social skills. Online interaction is different from face to face interaction. Studies have shown that social media has affected adolescents’ social skills. While using the internet, people often put on a different persona. Social Networking users use a digital facade which is the way they act online. This online act makes it hard for people to remember how to socialize personally.

Bullying on the Media

online bullying

People love social networking because it gives you the freedom to share your life with friends and view the lives of others. However, social Media is also a stomping ground for cyber-bullying. Because people like to act differently on social networking, users can become more aggressive towards each other. The ability of being anonymous online is too enticing for predators. Young people are greatly affected by cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying on social media can cause people anxiety and lower their confidence.

If not taken care of, cyber-bullying can even lead victims to having suicidal thoughts.

FOMO and Me

Again, social media is the place to display all the events, activities and great things that people do. Posting special occasions on Twitter. Taking pictures of parties for Instagram. Making vlogs of travels for YouTube. When you are on one of those social media services, it can cause a user to get FOMO. FOMO or fear of missing out is anxiety or fear that you are missing out on something like a party or other special event. This is an anxiety that exists mainly in those under the age of 30.

Young people get great anxiety when it comes to maintaining or increasing their social standing.

The popularity of social media in society has only strengthened that anxiety and in turn increased number of people with FOMO. It can feel like there is a whole world you are missing out on.

fear of social network updates

A recent study from Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology showed a link between the effects of social media in young people and their happiness. Individuals were asked to limit the amount of time they spent on social media. As a results, it was discovered through a mental health survey that the individuals that did this showed a significant reduction in their feelings of depression and loneliness. This shows that social media can reconstruct brain and make you think very differently than how you should.

Social media can alter your perspective on people and events. You may go on social media and see someone post about their travels, parties and successes, but in reality his or her life is just as normal as yours. FOMO may not seen like that big of a deal, but it is possible that it can lead to something much worse and social networking does contribute to that. Social networking has effects on health which is why it is best to use in moderation.

 

Social Networking Crown goes to….

If you read everything that came before this, then you know the many ways social networking can be harmful to your physical and mental health. However, what you probably don’t know is which one is currently taking the most victims. Well, you are about to find out. Have you ever wondered which social media service is getting the most traffic as of late. There was a time when Facebook was the dominating site. Does it remain the king or has another service taken the crown?

According to Statista, the social network with the most monthly active users worldwide as of January 2019 is…. Facebook.

social media statistics by statista.com
Most popular social networks worldwide as of April 2019, ranked by number of active users (in millions). Source: Statista

That’s right. Even with all the new and tough competition, users still gravitate the most to socializing on Facebook. This graph shows number of users Facebook and the nine other social media sites.

Ranking 1 To 10

  1. Facebook has over 2.2 billion users every month.
  2. In second is the video content site of YouTube with 1.9 billion users.
  3. Followed by the messenger app, WhatsApp, with 1.5 billion users.
  4. After the top three is Facebook Messenger. This feature use to be apart of Facebook, but later became its own independent app with 1.3 billion users.
  5. Social media network developed by China called WeChat follows up with a little over 1 billion users.
  6. The picture scrolling app of Instagram has a billion active users.
  7. While, QQ, another Chinese developed social networking service, brings in about 800 million users.
  8. Qzone is another site based in China that brings in about 530 million users.
  9. Followed by Tik Tok right on its tail with 500 million active users.
  10. And in tenth, Sina Weibo, a blogging site, with a little over 400 million users logging on.

With all these users actively using social media, it’s no wonder so much good and bad comes from it. You know now how social media affects your health, but do you know how it can affect your life and privacy.

 

Do You Know Where Your Data Goes?

Users like to log into social media to share videos and pictures with friends and family. Social media is all about sharing with other users. However, pictures are not the only thing you are sharing on social media.

When you use social media you are also giving data to the social networking companies.

Social media is all about data. Your data is what keeps social networking alive and well. To put it simply, social networking companies analyze the data of its users. Then, they build their business models around the data they discover. And finally the companies use that data to manipulate their users. Here are some ways social media creates privacy issues:

  • Location
  • Hackers and Spammers
  • Ad industries
  • Jobs/Employment

Social Media Knows Where You Are?

Do you like to be stalked? Well, if you have a social networking service like Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram or so on, then there is definitely a possibility you are. I know what you are thinking that you can just turn off your location in the privacy setting. And yes you may have turned it off so other users can see but are you so sure your location is hid from the very social media site you use. Whether you like it or not the data of your location is kept within the site. The biggest problem is the chance that a person with malicious intent digs deep and finds this data. Social networks knowing your location mean that others can know where you are or where you aren’t. A stalker can know where you live putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. On the flip side, when you post that you are on holiday doing some traveling. A thief will know you aren’t home giving them the perfect opportunity to raid and loot.

Hack the Network

Maybe after reading this you’ll think twice about complaining about having to make several passwords for different accounts. Those passwords are not only saving your accounts, but probably your whole life. Spammers, hackers and other online criminals are real dangers in today world. And many of them are targeting social networks. If they get into your account, they can impersonate you. Online criminals will also use your account to send viruses to other users.

Social media users will most likely trust messages they get from their friends. Because of this it makes it harder to stay safe on social media and easier for criminals to spread terror. Online criminals will not only spread spam and viruses, but also steal and sell your personal information. Most people put a lot of their personal information on social media. If someone hacks your account, then they will have the information to do with as they please. For online criminals, your personal information is like a treasure. They will steal it and use it to better themselves. Even by just sitting behind your computer or looking at your phone, you are still at risk of being stole from.

Social Networking in Ad Companies’ Pocket

Social Networks don’t ask for much from their users in turns of purchasing. For users can an account for a site is simple and free. Social media does make its money from users, but instead from advertising companies. Ads pump thousands and thousands of dollars into social media sites. In turn, social media sites target users provides them with tons and tons of ads. This also intrudes on users’ privacy. Social media uses an ad targeting engine to determine what ads are shown to what users. This is not only an invasion of privacy, but it is discriminating to users. Social media is trying to balance the needs of their advertising customers and their users. However, because this balance is currently proving difficult, most likely things will remain the same.

Tell Me About Your Social Media

When you create an account on social media, your information is not only at risk of being leaked to ad companies, hackers, strangers, but also your employer. Have you ever been to a job interview and had the employer ask you for your social media password? Have they ever asked you to see your account or request access to it? Believe it or not this is something that does happen. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen a lot, but it does happen all the same.

In recent years, jobs and employers have been keep more of an eye on what employees put on their social media. And to be fair this does make sense. Employers are concerned with what their employees and job applicants post on their accounts. Employers want to make sure not to keep or hire people that advertise negative or obscene comments and posts on their social media profiles. However, searching for an employee’s profile and seeing their posts that they put out for the public is one thing, but asking for employees passwords or even telling them what to put on their social media is a whole different story.

In 2011, one of the first cases of this occurred. An employer asking an employee to hand over his social media password in Maryland. A state Department of Corrections employee named Robert Collins was victimized to this during his re-certification interview. He was asked to provide his Facebook password. According to news reports, Collins then had to sit there while his interviewer scrolled through online posts by his friends and family. Apparently, the employer was looking for anything that conflicted with Robert Collins’s duties. See More. Maryland later became the first state to set a law banning employers from asking employees for access to their social media. More and more states have followed creating laws so users can keep their accounts private. Hopefully this is a trend that will die down as states work to regulate this issue. But even so, this is just another reason for users to be careful exactly what information they put out there.

 

Some Rise, Some Fall

As much as users like social media and as much as it does go for us, it is also a hindrance to us. People rise and fall due to how the social media impact them, this works the same way as well. There has been many social media over the course of the last few years. And depending on the response of the users and the expertise of the company, some have rose to the top while others became crashing down. Some of the ways how social media affected their users mentioned above is why the networks succeeded or failed. Here are some of those social networks that have climbed or fallen.

YouTube It

The video-sharing website was created back in February 2005. It was developed by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. It is no secret that YouTube is super popular. Many social media rise up but slowly drop in popularity. The biggest reason why YouTube has been able to hold onto its success is, unlike most social media, it is appealing to all age demographic. Users both young and old have all visited YouTube for some reason.

However, like most social media, it is still most frequented by young adults and teens. Thanks to YouTube many young people no longer watch television. YouTube is like having television on your phone or computer. Because of this, since 2005 YouTube has gotten more and more users and now has over for a billion active users. If that wasn’t enough YouTube has also become the third most visited website after Google and Facebook. It’s safe to say that YouTube isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Do It For the Vine

On the other end of the spectrum is the long forgotten, Vine. Vine was founded in June 2012. It was another video-sharing app however in this app users created six second, looping video clips. Vine was an idea pitched to Twitter who bought the company that same year in October. It challenged content creators to make interesting videos in six seconds which invoked creativity and experimentation. However, it wasn’t long before Vine ran into problems. Vine was having a hard time keeping up with its competitors.

For one, Vine didn’t add new features like other social media sites did. This also made creators jump over to other sites. Vine survived for so long due to the amount of popular vine creators or viners they had acquired. However, things got rocky again when Instagram introduced their fifteen seconds video clip feature in 2013. Snapchat also came out to play with their ten second video clip feature. Vine struggled to grow its user base and find ways to make money. Then, eventually it happened. Twitter announced the shutdown of Vine in December 2016 and in January 2017, the app was officially gone.

Friend Me on Facebook: The Network Rise

Finally, the friend requesting empire, Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his friends at Harvard university in February 2004. It is no surprise that as one of the first social networks, Facebook quickly rose in popularity. It is used all around the world and has over two billion active users.

There are many reasons that contributes to Facebook popularity so let’s go over a few. Facebook is very user friendly. It is very easy to learn and understand which makes it access to all both young and old. This is its most prominent reason for its success.

Another thing that makes Facebook stand out is how multipurpose it is. People do not only communicate with friends and family, but can also be informed and entertained. Facebook allows users to read the news. It is a source of information that users can discover and read about. Facebook also has games to play. This sort of thing can keep people entertained for a few minutes which is very good in today world. In this modern time, people get bored quickly and easily. Facebook has simple and addictive games that allow users to kill a few minutes of boredom when necessary.

Another big reason for Facebook rise to the top is that it had no competition. Again when Facebook first came to be there wasn’t really anything else like it. Other social networks existed, but none that attracted a wide range of people like Facebook.

Finally, the reason that pretty much defines Facebook, the ability to find old friends. On Facebook must people use their real names as a result it is easier to find people you know. With Facebook search engine finding your friends is very easy on this site.

And Its Downfall

However, good things do not last forever. Edison Research and Triton Digital did a study to find out how Americans use social media. In their 2018 edition, they reported that Facebook had a decline in usage. The question is why has Facebook started to see a fall in it usage. There are few reasons that are the factors of this. Users have gained a distrust for Facebook. Facebook has done a barrage of missteps when it comes to privacy issues. Facebook has easy access to users’ pictures and personal information to do with as they please. This would of course create a distrusting relationship.

Another reason is a increase in negativity. Unfortunately, when it comes to toxicity, it finds its way to different corners of the internet. This same toxicity has made its way to Facebook. In today world, opinions are belittled and torn apart all the time. When people say things on Facebook, the people you call “Friends” will most likely make an annoying or argumentative comment. As whatever you say, get ready to have to defend it for virtually forever.

Lastly and arguably the biggest reason of Facebook decline is disinterest. For many the wonder and delight of Facebook has begun to die down. Especially now with several social media sites to choose from, Facebook just doesn’t feel that appealing to many users anymore. Edison Research shows that age demographic of users 12 to 24 experienced the biggest drop of Facebook users. This shows that Facebook may not be able to hold the interest of young people which may continue to slowly bring down Facebook.

How to prevent Social Media effects causing health issues?

So not a lot to smile about at the end of this. You learned that even though social media is popular and helpful, they can also die out or become stale really quickly. You learned that social media can cause users mental harm, physical harm and disrupt our privacy. However, even with all this negativity there will still be some good to take from all this. Social media can definitely take over your life if you aren’t careful so let’s talk about ways to prevent that from happening:

  • Turn off Notifications
  • Limit Yourself
  • Find New Hobby
  • Hang out with Friends and Family
  • Go Cold Turkey

Notifications Off

Users are always being distracted by their social media. And you know what type of trouble and problems that can cause you. In a time where social media and the internet is everything, it is hard for people to put down their social media profiles. As a result, small steps need to be taken. One good first step is taking off your notifications. In your settings, you can turn off your notifications. Without the constant ringing of notifications, you may find it easier to concentrate on your daily routine. You will see that completing tasks will not only easier, but faster. Not only that but trying this out may also help to quell FOMO. Notifications and not being able to check them will make you feel like you are missing out. Trying this method out can help to lower that anxiety.

Schedule Your Usage

Turning off your notifications and limiting yourself is a good combination to regulate your usage. You can limit yourself by creating a schedule. Choose a time of day when you check your social media. You can set a timer on your watch for when you would like to check your profile. Once your social media usage is done, you can put away your account and set your timer again for when you can check your profile. Limiting yourself like that can create better willpower for as a user.

New Hobby

To some people social media checking is like a hobby. To counter this, one of the best thing to do is quite simple: find a new hobby. Believe it or not social media checking can be time consuming, choosing a different hobby can help you stay away from social media. Not only that but getting a new hobby can be both productive and fun. Knowing that you have something else to do beside social media will definitely help to keep you away from it.

Spend Time With Others

Similar to getting a hobby, spending time with your friends and family is also a good way to stay away from social media. Social media is a place where you share and communicate with friends anyway, so try to do this in real life instead. You should be able have just as much fun communicating with your friends in real life as you do on social media. Plus doing things in real life gives you more skills and experience. It is important to socialize in real life so you learn how to talk to new people when you meet them.

Cold Turkey

As a last resort depending on how bad things have gotten in your situation, it may be time to go cold turkey. Believe it or not, social media is not the end all be all of your life. So it is possible to cut out social media complete. If social media really has that tight of a grip on who you are then not using social media sites at all may be the best direction. This method may be difficult, but it will help to make you more aware and appreciative of everything around you. Think of it as taking a holiday away from social media. Schedule how long you will stay away from social media and let your friends know then the rest is up to you. It may prove difficult at first, but in the end you will realize that you will not need social media as much as you think.

 

Lock It Up

Last thing to know is that there is not only methods to prevent social media addiction, but also to make sure that your social media as secure as possible. There are multiple things you can do to keep the information of your social media safe. The most obvious way of prevention is to have a strong password. Never use a password that is too simple or relate to you. Hackers and spammers are smart and crafty, so a easy password is something they can get by really easily. Passwords such contain just about everything. So when you make your password use letters, numbers, capitalization and symbols. Make it so your password seems uncrackable.

Another way to create prevention is through two factor authentication. Before users would simply have everything protected by a password. Now you can have that and more. Two factor authentication makes it so you have to not only unlock your social media with a password, but also with your phone. This feature adds an extra security layer by requiring one more authentication step after entering your password. When two-factor authentication is enabled, it sends a code to your phone which is needed to complete login from a new device.

Another tip for privacy is to be careful of links. Be careful of links that people send to you. You may think that it is from a friend, but really it is from a spammer. There isn’t really a surefire way to avoid  these links, so really all you can do is just be extra careful.

Hopefully, this article made you more aware of what social media can do to you if you don’t monitor your usage. These tips and advice will help keep social media in your hands and not the other way around.

Don’t forget to share your opinion

Written by Andrew Whyte

Andrew Whyte is a creative thinker and a one of a kind writer. Andrew has received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing. He specializes in creative writing and is working on stories to be published as novels.  Andrew is now a content writer intern for Raw Discussions and is working hard to create written works that are informative, unique and attention grabbing for everyone.

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