Social Media Addiction
When social media was introduced in the early 2000s, nobody knew how catastrophic of an impact it would have on the world. Fast forward to the present and now social media is an essential part of people's everyday lives. With so many social media platforms, it is easy for so many different kinds of individuals to become addicted. Social media in 2019 is used for much more than just seeing your friend's vacation pictures online, people have found potential in the formation of new relationships, advertisements for trendy products, and a way to keep up with all the world news going on. With all these never ending possibilities, people become very susceptible to being sucked into their phone for hours on end. Addiction to social media has grown to be something detrimental in almost every aspect of people's lives.
Self-esteem issues linked to social media has grown to be a serious problem today, especially in teens and young adults. A survey was taken in Norway that revealed that seventeen and a half percent of participants reported having traits of low self-esteem after viewing various accounts and comparing themselves to celebrities (Andreassen, 2017). Feeling like you have a lack of confidence or showing low self-esteem can make one feel awkward or unloveable which is extremely damaging to a young man or woman. It is easy for young and impressionable minds to be consumed with what others have as opposed to themselves, and finding happiness within oneself becomes more difficult as time goes on. However, ss opposed to those who find themselves with lower self-esteem, there are those who develop extremely high levels of self-esteem, ultimately, narcissism. A conducted study which involved 74 participants concluded that those who post an excessive amount of images online showed a 25% increase in narcissistic traits (Beyer, 2018). These narcissistic individuals begin to focus so much on how they are portrayed on social media and the content they put out, that they lose touch with real life.
Social media addiction has also been known to cause a decline in physical health. It is no secret that a prolonged amount of screen time leads to a more sedentary lifestyle. A study done by psychologist Dr. Aric Sigman from the United Kingdom, found that excessive social media use and screen time can actually alter the way human genes work, even cause cancer (Nucilli, 2019). Sitting at your desk staring at your computer for hours at a time truly takes a toll on your health and biological functions. Constant usage of social media leads to less physical activity, which in turn, leads to lower cardiovascular health. Shockingly, research explains that exercise may not be able to offset the damage already caused by a sedentary lifestyle due to excessive screen time (Nucilli, 2019). Metabolism is the process by which your body converts food and water into energy, but if you are constantly inactive then that produced energy will be stored as fat. Researchers at Northwestern University found that bright lights from our smartphones can slow down metabolism. The team also uncovered that the participants exposed to more light in the morning were more able to maintain a lower body weight (Nucilli, 2019). In addition, being seated for extended periods of time will ruin your posture if perfect posture is not maintained for the time. Posture becomes an issue with the amount of time spent seated on a computer or laying down with your phone. A depressed rib cage, rounded and internally rotated shoulders, and slouched back are all results of bad posture formed by many people nowadays.
One of the worst side effects, in my opinion, that can come from social media addiction is the mental health complications. One of the most prevalent disorders seen in teenagers and young adults is depression. Due to so much isolated social media usage in these individuals, feelings of loneliness and emptiness typically arise after a long day. A 2017 study with over half a million 8th-12th graders found a 33% increase of depressive symptoms in participants between 2010 and 2015 (Miller, 2019). The absence of the authenticity of real-life connections to real-life people after a long period of time more likely puts an individual at risk of depression symptoms. A spike of 30% was seen in college students seeking counseling for depression and anxiety (Miller, 2019). Another disorder linked to social media dependence is anxiety. Individuals with one or multiple social media accounts experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, when they are unable to check their accounts for even short periods of time. Teenagers and/or young adults may begin to experience high levels of anxiety due to the feeling of missing out on the trendy things of today, along with the other finer things life has to offer for those more successful than them, as seen on social media.
Compulsive social media use has been proved damaging to the daily relationships maintained by an individual. Time and energy invested into excessive screen time for social media takes away from that of what may be invested in an authentic real-life exchange. One study conducted on two hundred and five Facebook members demonstrated that a higher level of Facebook usage was associated with negative relationship outcomes (Clayton, Nagurney, & Smith, 2013). Furthermore, those relationships went through Facebook related problems. Facebook usage has been linked to increased feelings of jealousy (Muise, Christofides, & Desmarais, 2009). These messes make up just a small fraction of the amount of relationship related problems that arise from social media.
Social media's influence on the world has absolutely left its mark on the world and will continue to do so. It has shattered the self-esteem of some people leaving them self conscious while leaving others with narcissistic personalities. It creates physical health problems for all people, regardless of age. Not only does this addiction affect physical health, but mental health as well, inducing disorders such as depression and anxiety. Along with this, comes a poor impact on daily relationships, and even marriages. It is only hoped that the destructive effects of social media do not worsen as the world progresses towards a more technological generation.