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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

The Social Predicament -by Meenu Ahuja

 

Do you ever feel that you are spending more than the intended amount of time on your Social Media Platforms? That you really just opened Instagram to reply to a message but find yourselves scrolling through endlessly?

Social Media Addiction is much more addictive than Cigarettes. This addiction is not just among the Youth or the Kids, but also among elders, parents these days are majorly influenced and glued to their Social Media Handles. This is what kids see and learn, that sticking to their phones is perfectly alright as their parents are doing the same thing.



“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO Social Media, the question is how well we do it.” This statement given by a well-known American Author, Erik Qualman is a necessary question that we urgently need to ask ourselves and introspect basis that.

While Social Media is one of the significant man-made blessings to us all, most importantly during the COVID Situation when we can’t go out but have to sit home all day long and Social Media is our only way out, but like every blessing, that too has a flip side to it. While Social Media is now becoming a platform for so many talented people, it is damaging each individual at an alarming rate, imperatively to our mental health and so we need to throw down the gauntlet.



So,what are the symptoms of this addiction? A few scenarios could be –

·         We are constantly glued to our phone.

·         We start ignoring real life scenarios and people around us.

·         Wequit our hobbies and rather just watch videos of them.

·         We check our notifications every few minutes

·         Real time meetings feel awkward to us and texting, snapchatting and video calling feels comfortable to us

·         We are Aloof from outdoor activities

The worse impact Social Media has is on our Mental health –

o   Compare and Despair Attitude: When someone posts a picture or a status update, and gets a copious amount of likes and comments, we end up comparing their pictures to our own and start finding shortcomings in ourselves bringing out our despair attitude. What we don’t understand is we are all beautiful in our own way, a few pictures, likes; comments cannot be a measure of anyone’s beauty. Also, we don’t know if the person has used filters or not, the picture could have been highly edited.

o   Self-Doubt/Self-Consciousness/Underconfident/Low Self-Esteem:  When we are so used to getting likes and comments, one negative comment is enough to bring us down. If someone comments about our nose or lips or ears or anything, we delete the picture and either immensely edit it or click another one hiding that particular body part. We are then constantly aware of our looks. Also, when we get fewer likes, we feel inadequate.

o   Loneliness/FOMO: While we are constantly checking people’s status updates, we see someone chilling on a beach or partying, or travelling. This gives us a feeling of loneliness and that we are missing out on major life events if we are not doing something as exciting.

o   Opinionated: In the current times, Social Media is capable of controlling our thoughts, given that everyone can now post what they feel is right, we are easily swayed toward that thought without even checking the facts.

But how do we end up checking our notifications constantly? How do we end up glued to our phones?

Well, for this we are thankful to the people working behind the Social Media Platforms for whom “we and our attention” is the product they are selling, and hence, theyconstantly keep a tab on our activities. What kind of posts we like, how much time we spend on each post, whose profile do we frequently check, who do we message regularly and other such things.

While we are watching a video, they bring to us more similar video suggestions by noting the time spent on each post. They make sure to send us notifications regarding the people whose profile we regularly check. If we are inactive for a long time, they end up sending us some notification that would catch our attention by some social media site be it pinterest, facebook, Instagram, twitter, linked.in, tumbler, etc.



All these Social Media platforms are constantly at work to grab our attention because each of them is in a competition with the other.

We can’t let them win, can we? So, the need of the hour calls for some major steps that we must follow:

·         Digital Detox

When we realize that we are stuck to our phones, we must keep a tab on our Screen Time and detox accordingly. Maybe download apps that can track our usage of each app and put up reminders to stop using our phones.

·         Parental Check

Parents should research about the social media website beforehand, making sure there is no content that needs to be censored, and if there is an age limit set upon that, it is being followed. There can be time limits decided among the members of the family as to the duration of time spent on the phones. Specially, in case of minors, parents should be aware of what the kids are doing on their social media handles and should keep a check on them. Mobile phones at the dining table, in the bedrooms, during family time should be locked away in a safe box.

So, let’s not be a prey to these People by taking the appropriate measures.

Also, always bear in mind that everyone is beautiful in their own way and nobody should be compared on the basis of what they post. It’s what in our heart and how we behave in our life with others that matters the most. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN HAPPINESS AND PEACE. JUST LIKE ALL FINGERS ARE NOT EQUAL, ALL OF US AND OUR LIVES ARE NOT THE SAME.


Meenu Ahuja 

About Author: Meenu is a Commerce graduate with an experience of more than 2.5 years in the same field. She is passionate about mental health, Social Psychology and Stigmas with an aspiration to become a Counselor after doing her Masters in Psychology. She loves reading, writing and is a fan of Sitcoms and movies.

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