The Negative Impact Of Social Media On Relationships
I don’t know who I am. I have spent years trying to fine-tune my image as the soulful problem solver that always seems to have it under control. I’ve gotten many messages from online friends who claim to admire the way I am always able to give positive feedback in times of need and I simply cannot bring myself to admit that I don’t even know how to take my own advice or be as bad-ass as I encourage them to be. My intentions in these situations aren’t to portray an unrealistic image of myself but rather to convince myself that even though I don’t have it under control, my online friends totally don’t need to know that.
Social media and relationships borne out of online connections can sometimes be a start to great futures amongst people with similar interests and situations. However, in many cases, we tend to forget about our true selves and end up becoming who our internet “friends” would want us to be.
The line between knowing when to pretend and knowing when to be real is a thin one. People find more comfort in portraying the side of them that others would be comfortable with. The side that no one questions because you fit perfectly into the mold of the desirable woman who lives the desirable life everyone expects you to.
Social media was created with perhaps the most innocent intentions. To help people stay in touch. But as the years progressed so did the uses of social media. It has become an escape, a forum, an avenue for social change, among many other things both desirable and undesirable with the undesirable being praised in almost all situations. I totally believe in the power of social media because as someone who works in marketing, it has become a useful tool for creating connections and garnering customers all over the world.
Nonetheless, when it comes to personal use, I have seen cases in which social media has destroyed friendships, careers, and relationships. Social media is an imperfect balance of the good, the bad, and the ugly. So then, how do we differentiate between the good and the bad and how do we let go when it becomes just too much?
The Truth About Social Media
So what’s the truth about the lives we live on-screen and off it? I have personally experienced situations in which my mental health deteriorated greatly because I was so depressed whenever I checked my Instagram. Whether it was a trigger from past relationships or feelings of inadequacy, I was always wondering how could I make these people think I was doing well even when I wasn’t.
In his article about social media addiction, Dr. Mark P. Griffiths analyzed the situation from a mental health perspective about the negative impact of excessive use of social networking sites on the health and well-being of users, especially that of young people, who are enthusiastic users of this technology.
In his study, which he conducted with Dr. Daria Kuss, they found that social media use was associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction. Additionally, they found that the ability to frequently and easily access social media via smartphones contributed greatly to excessive checking habits, which as it is now was often derived from what is commonly labeled as the ‘fear of missing out (FOMO).
It is evident that not only are we becoming dependent on social media, we are also allowing it to become that “person” we simply cannot do without. The one we tell our deepest darkest secrets and the one who definitely doesn’t keep them. The culture that has now been embedded into our systems is deep-rooted and has proven difficult to weed away, but it should now become a part of our personal pursuits to find mental balance.
We also need to make an effort to understand the way social media addiction affects our character and our behavior, while subsequently finding ways to rid ourselves of the air of dependency cast around us by our addictions.
Take A Break Fi Mi Deh
It’s impossible to reverse or simply dismiss the way social media has affected us. With all we have seen, and that which we have tried to unsee, we’ve also put ourselves under immense pressure trying to become the person we portray in our online profiles. Social media gets its job done but the point where we stop is the point where we realize that we have begun to lose ourselves.
It may be hard but maybe it’s time we let go and live a little in the real world. FOMO only happens when we actually allow ourselves to miss out on life’s tangible joys by staring at stills and creating personas we hope to eventually manifest. So how do we stop missing out and start living life outside of our devices?
- Log out: Give Twitter a break. Do it gradually, because waning the addiction may be difficult. Log out for at least 6 hours every day and read a book. Learn to appreciate life away from scrolling your timeline.
- Meet up with friends: The friends you would tweet and share funny videos with, meet up with them instead. Laugh together and make some new memories.
- Get a journal and USE IT: Social media rants are honestly my fave thing to do when I’m upset or anxious or sad but sometimes it’s good to release your energy into a safer space where you can look back and appreciate your emotional growth without any regret.
- Enjoy some YOU time: Believe it or not, social media has become the best friend and company on lonely days for many of us. Scrolling through endless tweets and posts have become routine and it’s almost as if our day isn’t complete without our social media scope out. Take some time for you. Learn to spend some time with your own thoughts and words. Maybe even do a bit of introspection. It helps.
The age of the millennial, as I so affectionately call this generation, is ever-changing and revolves around what happens next rather than what is happening now. Social media is definitely a beneficial tool for many and can be utilized in so many ways. Nonetheless, maintaining our mental health has to become our priority. Sound minds are key to understanding ourselves, our destinies, and our future based on these things. Step away from the screen a little and step into growing, changing, and remembering the real you. Your mind will thank you.
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