I saw it on facebook, so it must be true!
If something fun and exciting happens in your life and you don’t post it on facebook, is it still fun and exciting? There has been a lot of research published lately surrounding the use of social media and the effects it has on our emotional well-being and overall health. Many researchers are finding that people are easily addicted to it and that there is a correlation between heavy use of social media and general unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. The list of problems is long: jealousy, depression, cyberbullying, anxiety, and social insecurity in real life situations. While it’s true that social media may have its place, research shows that people are generally happier if they limit their usage.
One of the problems with social media is that it only takes a few seconds to post something that goes to a far reaching audience. If those people looking at your posts were actually sitting in the room with you, would you still say those things? Cyberbullying has become a big problem among teenagers and adults as well. Some of the articles I’ve read show that people who are anxious and insecure are actually more likely to use social media to express themselves.
It’s interesting that many people are “friends” with people that they barely know. They wouldn’t go out of their way to cross the street and say hello but they will sit in their living room and look at the posts of what these friends/barely acquaintances had for dinner and where they went on vacation. This does seem a little socially backwards, doesn’t it?
I don’t think the word narcissism was used nearly as much a few years ago as it is now. It seems like we have to post a photo of ourselves having fun in order for the fun to truly exist. The “likes” and comments are positive reinforcement that we really are kind of a special person and have a cool life. However, people are more likely to only post the good things in their lives and not the bad. A social media addict with low self-esteem can easily sink even lower when it seems that everyone else has a more glamorous life in comparison to their own.
Emotional health and risk of addiction are only part of the problem. Studies have shown that the light emitted from the screen of an electronic device is enough to disrupt the release of melatonin, that lovely hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles. That means that right before bed is the worst possible time to unwind by scrolling through your online friends’ latest posts.
I often find that being a parent makes me a better person for the simple reason that I try to be a good example for my kids. They are well aware of this and delight in accusing me of “rotting my brain” and “wasting my time” if they catch me doing just that: scrolling through facebook in an effort to ease my boredom or distract myself from doing something more worthwhile. I haven’t looked at my facebook feed in over a week and I believe that I am a happier person for it. Try it! Let me know what you think!
Social media is the latest and greatest when it comes to staying connected to friends and family you don’t see on a regular basis. However, an excess of time spent staring at our friends’ facebook feeds can lead to depression, anxiety and stunted sociability in our real lives. We would all do well to remember to limit our social media time and enjoy life for what it is!
Brenda Wickum, RN
Liberty County Public HealthPosted: by OverlieP