How much time do you spend on social media websites daily? There is hardly a young person in the world who does not possess a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. We use social media primarily for communication and entertainment. We chat, upload photos and video files, read articles about various topics and play video games. The absolute number of the internet users cannot say how many hours they spend on social websites per day. They check their accounts periodically throughout the day trying to read messages from their friends or look at the new photo uploaded by their colleagues and relatives. Without question, we waste much time on social media involuntarily. We check the updates in our Facebook accounts even if we do not want to do it. Therefore, it is will not be a mistake to claim that social media websites are enormously addictive. What is more, the developers and creators of these websites make their projects addictive on purpose.
Why are social media sites addictive? The answer is very simple. Their creators strive to attract more and more users to make Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, etc. more popular. How do they manage to grab our attention? They use various tricks that influence our psychics. Nearly every social site influences our emotions.
The most popular trick is connected with numbers. For instance, when we upload a new photo, we expect to receive as many ‘likes’ as possible. If you think soberly, you will understand that your life does not depend on ‘likes’. You will not look more attractive if your photo receives 100 ‘likes’. However, our brain thinks differently. We want to please and impress our online ‘friends’ and obtain their approval. This process resembles gambling. When you have received 67 ‘likes’, you want to increase this number up to 100. Then, you think, “Why should not I receive at least 150 ‘likes’?” And you continue checking your Instagram account expecting to receive a new positive comment from a ‘friend’.
The number of ‘friends’ in Facebook or Google+ is another issue. Many people are addictive to making new and new friends in social networking sites. You have definitely seen some users who possess thousands of friends in Facebook. In my opinion, they try to improve their self-esteem and self-consciousness with the help of these dry numbers. Needless to say but you will hardly meet more that 5% of your Facebook friends in the real life. Thus, the usefulness and importance of these pen friends is questioned. Sad to say but such ‘friends’ play the role of a ‘likes’-creating machine.
Another example is related to the number of views. We will hardly watch a video clip on YouTube if it has not been watched by millions of people. We begin to enjoy and appreciate a video file if it has been approved by the enormous number of viewers. If you see that a video clip has been watched only 146 times, you will not waste your time on watching it. In fact, very few people realize that many YouTube channels increase the number of views artificially in order to attract new viewers. They make money in this way.
Then, nearly every social media website is a bottomless source of information. There is hardly a person that can resist its power. When we watch any YouTube channel devoted to animals, we will see dozens of the similar channels below. Very often, we plan to watch only one video clip but suddenly another ‘related video’ has attracted our attention. When you watch at least ten related video clips, you will understand that you have become the victim of YouTube and its unlimited information flow. You have spent several hours on ‘funny animals’ clips instead of watching the required video on black holes.
Next, such social networking sites as Facebook offer numerous video games to their clients. Young people are quite vulnerable to such offers. They begin wasting much time on playing video games instead of studying or spending their spare time outdoors.
Undoubtedly, the biggest problem associated with social media is the lack of communication. When you possess an account in social networking site, you can communicate with your friends and relatives with the help of instant messaging. However, these electronic methods cannot substitute the ‘old-fashioned’ live communication. You will not demonstrate your emotions and body language with the help of stickers or emoticons. Therefore, I suppose that social media websites separate people instead of uniting or connecting them.
Social media addiction is a relevant problem that will get even worse in future due to the rapid development of technologies. People will spend more time in the Internet and social networking sites. The only way to resist social media addiction is to train your will and devote less time to your internet activity.
The source of this research essay is Papers Mart.
The Pros and Cons of Facebook
By the end of 2015, it was estimated that Facebook has over 1.5 billion monthly active users (Wolfe, 2017). This staggering amount of traffic simply shows how much consumer base the website has, which is significantly higher than other SNSs platforms out there. As of today, it is estimated that 1 out of 5 people in the world has visited their Facebook accounts for 1 week and that number continues to grow. Now, this poses the question, is this increasing amount of Facebook consumers a good or bad thing? On one hand, a number of individuals believe that consuming/using Facebook entails a lot of advantages especially for educational, and communicative, and even business purposes. According to them, by using the website, people could learn easily about almost any topic out there which includes the daily events that are happening worldwide. Aside from being informative, these individuals also believe that the site allows them to communicate with individuals with their own niche through the use of Facebook Groups as well as help them in marketing their services. On the other hand, a group of people also believes that Facebook is nothing short of a distraction and provides a lot of negative effects including both mental, emotional, and even physiological distresses. On one study done by an international team of researchers found out that aside from causing mild depression and anxiety, Facebook could affect one’s self-esteem (MedicalNewsToday, 2013). According to their reports, the main reason for the website’s effect on one’s self-esteem is the fact that most of post of other people that they could see on their walls shows either a successful, fun, or fulfilled lives of others, while in reality these people also has problems and simply shows what is “ideal and pleasing”. Another setback of consuming Facebook, according to researchers, is that it makes graphic and negative themes available even for children. Today, gore photos, videos, and even messages could be accessed and consumed by children and could affect how their psychological and emotional well-being. Lastly, these “anti-Facebook groups” would also pose the harmful effects of Facebook addiction. According to them, an uncontrollable consumption of Facebook is now prevalent amongst individuals both young and old. This poses serious threats for them both physiologically, mentally, and emotionally, among others. In line with this preceding theme about Facebook addiction, the author of this article would further discuss about what Facebook addiction is and what are its negative effects towards individuals. Following from the points stated above, the author of this article believes that while Facebook addiction could pose serious health risks to a person, just the right amount could help in promoting his well-being especially in for his mental well-being.
What is Facebook Addiction
Unlike how it sounds like, defining what Facebook addiction is and knowing its symptoms is not as easy as it sounds like. One might argue that he/she is not addicted, and is only consuming a few hours every week in browsing the SNS platform. Although there are a lot of variations in studies, with different measures on how can one tell if an individual is addicted or not, for this article we would employ a rather rudimentary measure stated by Poh (n.d.). According to him, the “Seven tell-tale signs” that a person is addicted to Facebook are; (1) Oversharing, (2) Checking FB always, (3) Overly concerned with FB image, (4) Reporting on FB, (5) Spending hours browsing, (6) Mad Rush to add more friends, and (7) Compromising Offline Social life.
Negative Effects of Facebook Addiction
As stated earlier in this article, too much consumption of Facebook is detrimental especially for one’s health and well-being. Perhaps, some of the most negatively affected aspects of our life during overconsumption is our physical, emotional, and social life. For the first aspect (physical) it was found out that most of the people who are overly consuming Facebook has less time for exercise and even forgets their meals. As an example, it was found out that people who regularly logs in their social media accounts are more susceptible to physical risks with stress and sleeping disorders as some of the main reasons (Dailymail.co.uk, 2012).
For our second aspect – emotional – the main reason why too much consumption of Facebook could prove to be detrimental is mainly because of its effect towards one’s expectation in life, among others. based on studies, people who browses Facebook too much gets a glimpse of other people’s good life and creates a mental picture that others have “all the good stuff” and creates an expectation for themselves. Since most of the posts that they could view in their Facebook accounts do not show the negative sides of others, these expectations becomes too much that it is unachievable and this is what proves to be detrimental for one’s emotional health.
Amongst the effects of Facebook in the aspects of our lives, the most debated one is its effect on our Social lives. This is because as social media and other Social Networking Platforms gain more popularity and power, the line between physical and media-mediated socializations becomes blurred. Due to this, most people would argue that since Facebook has came, they have been able to socialize (media-mediated means) more, as compared to the time when these platforms cease to exist. On the other hand, most people would argue that this kind of socialization is not ‘unique’ and as fulfilling as a physical interpersonal communication.
Positive Effects of Regular Facebook Consumption
One of the advantages of media for its consumers is openness and knowledge dissemination. Because anyone could post their own take on different sides of the same issue freely, consumers become open with the different possibilities and opinions and realize the footing of these different people and what causes their perspectives. More specifically, it was the advent of social media that prompted this openness unlike mass media which could be controlled by established powers in the society for their own gains. This then, benefits the social and emotional well-being of an individual because he/she becomes open to the perspectives of other people. Aside from being informed, another positive effects of Facebook are that Facebook could help people to network and find positive support groups for the things that they like to do in life. Musicians could find other musicians, artists could find other artists, doctors to other doctors, and so on and so forth. Although, it was stated earlier that Facebook could be detrimental to one’s social life, this is only when most of the interactions that are happening goes through these social media platforms. As one learns to balance his media-related and personal interaction in both Facebook and interpersonal life, respectively, he/she would surely benefit from the personal interaction with each and every one.
Although Facebook poses a lot of advantages today, some would say that its negative repercussions could greatly outweigh its benefits. However, the author of this paper believes that these repercussions would only happen in cases when an individual is “Facebook addicted”. But, as people learns to use Facebook in manageable levels, with a correct balance with their Facebook usage and their physical life, this social media platform could become a great avenue for better interpersonal, physical, emotional, and even spiritual development.
- (2012, July 18). Retrieved from Dailymail.co.uk: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2175230/Too-time-online-lead-stress-sleeping-disorders-depression.html
- MedicalNewsToday. (2013, September 16). Esteem issues determine how people put their best Facebook forward. Retrieved from MedicalNewsToday: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/266076.php
- Poh, M. (n.d.). 7 Telltale Signs of Facebook Addiction. Retrieved from Hongkiat.com: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/facebook-addiction-signs/
- Wolfe, L. (2017, May 12). How Many People Use Facebook Worldwide? Retrieved from TheBalance.com: https://www.thebalance.com/how-many-people-use-facebook-3515067