Social Media: How It Has Changed Our Lives

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Science and technology have taken a stride over the last few decades and gave birth to a platform where every indivisual can create content, interact with anyone all over the world, create new networks, discuss their ideas and can-do tons of more things. Over 80% of the total internet users are on social media. People use various social networking sites on a daily basis, and it has become a vital aspect of their daily routines. Young children nowadays grow up with fancy mobiles and laptops in their hands which is not good for so many reasons. Youth has been affected the most by such advancements, it was found in a study that teens spend an average of seven hours a day on social networking sites. Is it healthy? Definitely not. People spend way too much time creating a fake image for other people. Most of this is due to peer pressure and the feeling of getting left out from a certain group or community. Adolescents don’t even realize how powerful social media is and how it can affect them. Most victims of social misconduct are adolescents, that is why it is so important to study the negative impacts of social media. This paper discusses the negative impacts of social media and how it can affect mental health, result in cyberbullying, unhealthy sleeping patterns, lack of privacy, etc.

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Effects of social media on our mental health is an ongoing debate, and one of real concern. Recent studies have found that social media can cause depression and anxiety, it can extremely affect your mood and most importantly people get caught up in delusion that it will help. Starting with depression, “Facebook depression” was first developed in 2011 and is defined as depression that begins with an extreme amount of social media usage and subsequent development of the classic symptoms of depression. It develops as users compare themselves with others and can lead to a damaging life satisfaction among adolescents. online communications often turn into battles subjecting users to angst and distress. Young people keep on thinking the same thing which affects their mental health adversely. People feel lonely and separated from a certain group of people or society. They end up spending most of their time trying to look like something they’re not and pretend to be someone else. Being unaccepted lowers their self-esteem and teens often end up being depressed and angry. People start talking to strangers with fake identities thinking it would help but end up being affected mentally and they get caught up in the delusion that it will help. 

Some of the famous social networking sites are Facebook, Instagram and snapchat. Most teens spend at least half their day on these sites, making them less productive. Although started with good intensions, these sites have become a source for various kind of persons to do undertake illegal and unaccepted practices. The first main problem associated with social media is cyberbullying and it has increased at alarming rates over the past few years. Basically, cyberbullying means bullying which usually takes place on devices like mobile, tablets, computers, etc. over the internet. It contains sharing false information about someone or posting something that may affect the person. This problem is also associated with lack of privacy over social media. Being a platform that can be viewed by anyone and anywhere in the world, no one’s personal information is safe and can be used by anyone against them or for some other purposes. Adolescents often share personal data on social media resulting in many harmful activities like stalking, identity theft, personal attacks and even sexual assault in some cases. Stalking has increased with the development of social media. Nowadays, people share their each and every move on social media through pictures and stuff which puts them on the risk of being stalked online. Sometimes your pictures are viewed by someone who’s not meant to see them, and you cannot undo it. Identity theft is also very common these days. It means to impersonate someone. We often come across people o social media claiming to be celebrities and asking for personal stuff and information. Young people often fall in their traps and end up sharing stuff that they shouldn’t have and later regret it. This worsens their mental health and they try to harm themselves and, in some cases, even attempt suicides.

The total number of social networking sites users have increased dramatically with almost 1 billion users over the last decade. Most young people spend a lot of time on social networking sites before going to sleep and compromise their sleeping hours. Studies have found that excessive use of computers, television, and internet can lead to unhealthy sleeping patterns which can be very harmful to the human body. Most people with sleeping problems were found to be internet addicts as per a recent study. People who sleep late wake up late in the morning, such irregularities affect the functioning of the brain, creativity, thinking, planning and many other such important tasks. Further in a study it was found that insomnia causes distractibility and memory loss, new learning process (learning new things for the first time). We often come across something interesting over the internet and dig deeper and deeper and waste half of our night in some stupid stuff and then we become lazy the next day and try to procrastinate.

Another ill effect that is associated with social media and lack of privacy is hacking. A hacker is a person who deliberately gains access to, uses, or modifies a computer network or data on a computer or computer network without any authorization or illegally. Hacking can result in misuse of personal data as the hacked data can be shared on the internet, which can also result in financial and personal losses. It is very common for hackers to ask for someone’s account information and hack them and steal all their money. Many such cases have been reported in which the victim received an email or a phone call by a spammer and was asked for personal information or their computers were hacked and data was hacked. One such example lies in the most debated battle on YouTube which is between Swedish gamer Pewdiepie and an Indian music label called T-Series. The battle between these two has been going for the past few months for the most subscribed YouTube channel. Internet printers where hacked in many regions that printed out a message urging people to subscribe to pewdiepie so he can win the battle. This shows that how easy it is for modern hackers to get into someone’s data bases and change it or use it according to their will. Even some big firms hire these hackers to get some inside information about some rival company. They often use this to tarnish the image of the rival company in public’s eyes. This results in reduced sales and competition in long run.

Social media addict is a term that is generally used to refer to someone who spends too much time on social media like Facebook and Twitter or other forms of social media. As a result, it negatively affects the person’s daily life. Although social media addiction is not recognized as a disease by the medical field, the negative habit of excessive use of social media has become a subject of much discussion and research. This problem is something to be looked upon. It is said that social media is more addictive than alcohol and cigarettes. let me frame a question, think when was the last time you went a full day without checking your social media accounts? What if your favourite social networks completely disappeared tomorrow; would it make you feel empty and depressed? People who are unable to represent themselves in the real world due to confidence issues or something can be themselves on the social media sites which is good for some part because they get a sense of confidence. But is very much harmful in the long run because they start living two lives, one in the real world around them and one on the social media which is kind of fake. They represent themselves as someone that they are not, which results in split personality issues. They often look up to social media to get warmth and appreciation which they lack in real life. This makes them delusional and they start living in their fanatic world instead of the real one. They feel that they are not alone, they are being connected and someone cares about them.

More importantly, if people “like” or “share” what they have posted, they feel happy as if people agree with what they have posted, and they like it. When this happens, the brain cells stimulate dopamine, a chemical released by the neurons to signal other nerve cells that will make you feel good and happy. written below are the most likeable symptoms that showcases how addicted a person is:

• Checking social media is the first thing a person does in the morning.

• A person generally wastes his/her time looking at nonsense and procrastinates everything.

• Generally, a person constantly monitors the “likes” and “shares” he receives.

• Next, the most important factor is Craving for internet connection.

• Lastly, checking social media is the first thing a person does whenever he is are free If you can find these symptoms in yourself or someone around you, help them and make them realize that they are missing on the real part of their lives and wasting so important time which can be utilized for something good or learning new stuff.

National Security It may be hard to believe but with the massive widespread of social media it has become a threat to the national security of nations. Due to its massive reach, social media is used by terrorist groups to achieve their goals, and around 90 percent of the terrorism on the internet takes place through social media. Yes, that’s true. Terrorist groups like ISIS use networking sites to recruit people and spread their messages around the globe. The other national and international users such as the political parties, NGO’s, hackers pose a serious threat using the social media. For example, during the civil turmoil in the Arab Spring Uprising, the various governments were threatened through social media. One more sickening ill effect of the same is communal violence. People have started using this platform as a means of communal violence. For instance, India is known for its diverse cultures. It is a home to so many communities from around the world. But these days the environment has become very tense as there is no harmony among different religions in India. Often some sensitive content is posted online about one or the other community causing disturbance in the country’s peace. Social media is so powerful that it can cause a revolution and some countries are threatened by this fact. It can bring people together and can cause political instability. Social media can become a lethal weapon and cause the government to fall. Because with such advanced technology even the enemy can get to know plans or strategies by hacking into data sources of the government.

Although social media might have been started with good intensions, it has taken a wrong turn in today’s world and needs to be controlled otherwise it can turn out to be fatal for the youth of the country. Both parents and adolescents need to be educated about how dangerous this thing can be and how can it be used for various hazardous activities like cyberbullying, hacking, etc. and how can it cause unhealthy sleeping patterns, identity theft, and mental and to depreciate. Social media can also become a threat to national security by causing communal violence, revolutions, if not handled with precaution. Excessive use social networking sites slows down the functioning of children’s brain and continuous use can lead to social media addiction. Young women have been assaulted and blackmailed using this platform. To stop all that has been happening, various precautions can be taken like government introducing strict laws, parents being strict on their children and limiting the time they spend on these sites, various educational programs can be undertaken at schools to teach children about the same. It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.         

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