Social media obsession is taking an alarming shape
The world is changing. It’s changing faster than we could have ever imagined. In fact, the world is getting transformed so fast that we don’t know how to respond and adapt ourselves to changing scenario. Within the broad ‘tech development’, numerous revolutions are taking place affecting our life in many different ways.
If we compare our lives with the life that we lead back a decade ago, our life has become easier, healthier, more comfortable, and secure. Various highly-developed gadgets, connected to the Internet, are changing the way we work, communicate, study, exercise, play and behave with others in a big way. It’s extremely difficult for young children to imagine what kind of life their grandparents were leading without digital technology.
The way we think, behave, and spend our time is becoming completely transformed. We’re in an age of many revolutions. Within the information and technology (IT) domain, we are witnessing disruptive technologies impacting our lives in major ways.
The most notable effect of digital technology is from social media. The way people communicate and socialize is being transformed. More than half of the world’s population is connected through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram.
Whatever spare time we earlier had is now being spend maximum on social media, watching and sharing information in different forms. There are virtually unlimited opportunities for pleasurable content from social media, as well as from Internet like gaming, videos, movies, porn movies etc.
We get tempted to use internet more often. Imagine, WhatsApp users share more than 1 billion videos daily! All the time, we are flooded with videos and texts that are getting from others on social media.
As we get addicted to our phones and computers for social media and Internet stimulation, it starts effecting our mind and body in many ways.
There is an obsessive desire to check and see text messages and videos, whenever there is a notification sound. Even if notification is off, still a powerful urge is generated to check mobile at short intervals. We are devoting more and more time on mobiles due to FOMO effect. Younger generation is especially getting badly trapped in this phenomenon.
We have developed an appetite to take in more and more things in a short period of time. Too many distractions and attractions on digital media are causing us to be less focused on other priorities.
According to a recently published Microsoft Attention Spans Research Report, this digital lifestyle has made it difficult for not just students but for all of us to stay focused, with the average human attention span shortening over a decade from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Whether it’s in the workplace, home, school, or educational institutions, there is an increasing use of gadgets.
Undoubtedly, social media has huge benefits as long as we use it judiciously. Not only, we can assess tremendous variety of visual entertainment but also instant conversation. Smart phone is now our best companion. It’s with us all the time.
We can create a vast network of friends on virtual platform. Over and above, we are present ourselves in best possible way to others. However, the problem begins when we start using our social media excessively. We often become obsessive in its use. Indians spend nearly 4.3 hours in a day. It was 3.5 hours last year.
Students spend from 4 to 7 hours a day on phone. Some even use mobile for more than 10 hours in a day. According to a survey, millennials (those who were born between 1980 and 1994) check their phones even more often: more than 150 times per day If the trend continues young people will soon be incapable of forming and maintaining relationships without the help of a mobile. Under the circumstances, how can these students be able to focus on their goals and aspirations?
Digital addiction is having wide impact on youngsters’ studies, health, career, and relationships. For instance, students need to pay full attention to their studies. It has now become more difficult for students to pay attention for longer period in the classroom. Focus is lacking. To engage students during study hours in and outside of class has become more challenging for teachers across the globe. That so, many students are mentally and physically occupied with social media obviously takes a toll on their studies, which in turn impacts their career. And as attention to studies decreases, work pressure from parents and teachers increases, and this leads to greater mental stress.
We are becoming lonely people, seemingly connected on social media but not so much on face to face. In this hyper-connected world, disconnection from others has become the norm. Though we may be surrounded by numerous colleagues in colleges, universities, and workplaces, we suffer from loneliness. Not only senior citizens, but even students and younger people have started feeling lonely, sad, and depressed due to the isolation brought about by social media. Excessive use of social media can also impact our productivity and creativity. Many studies have shown a direct correlation between excessive use of mobiles and poor sleep quality, leading to mental health problems. Research studies are also showing greater incidences of depression and anxiety, especially among the younger generation.
Excessive use of social media is, in a way, increasingly becoming toxic, just like toxic relationships in our life. It’s unpleasant and harmful when we are not able to control it. Therefore, what we require is to detoxify it. This type of detoxification, which is also known as digital detox is gaining popularity. These are for those individuals who use social media or other digital gadgets obsessively. Across the world, people are also realizing their harmful tendency towards the habit of spending excessive time on digital platforms.
On most of the occasions, it’s really difficult to draw a line between excessive and judicious use of social media. However, when people feel that first, they spend more time than what’s required, second, they find difficult to stop the urge of using social media all the time and third, they start neglecting their work, that means they need digital detoxification.
Unless we are self-aware, we will never come to know that we are getting obsessed with social media. If we are on autopilot mode most of the time, we can’t be fully conscious and aware about actions, behaviour and thinking. People with greater awareness have the ability to perceive, feel, and be conscious of the thoughts and feelings of themselves and others. First of all, we must do is to turn off notifications on our mobiles. When there is a sound of any kind, we get distracted, and it takes time to come back to the activity we were doing. Without turning off this recurrent sound, it’s very difficult to focus or be attentive to a task for any length of time. Second, it would help if we could use the Screen Time app to keep track of time spent on social media. Becoming aware of the time we spend staring at a digital screen is a critical first step. Besides, to become more mindful, conscious and fully aware, we need to practice mindfulness meditation, which brings us more and more into the present moment. Otherwise we would never notice, let alone enjoy – our precious present moments.