If you can’t imagine your life without social media, that’s a sign that you’ve fallen a victim to the evil power and impact of social networking. It also means that you’ve experienced one (or more) of the negative effects of social media on society.
Don’t pretend you’ve never heard of these. While social media can have a positive impact too, that doesn’t mean it’s all hearts and flowers. Unfortunately.
How Social Media Is Bad for You
Let’s explore the darker side of social media and exactly how (and why) it’s bad for you. You’ll be surprised to learn the negative effects of social media are both physical and mental. It can change your perception of the world and yourself, and not always for the better.
Don’t believe us? Then read on to find out some of the negative effects of social media. And if you recognize any of them as your own symptoms it may be time to consider stop using social media altogether.
1. Depression and Anxiety
Do you spend more than two hours per day on social media? Spending too long on social networking sites could be adversely affecting your mood. In fact, you’re more likely to report poor mental health, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.
So how to use social media without causing yourself psychological distress? If you turn to the same research (and common sense), the recommended amount of time you should spend on social networks is half an hour per day. So, as with so many things in life, it’s all about moderation.
Before social media, bullying was something only done face-to-face. However, now, someone can be bullied online anonymously. Today everyone knows what cyberbullying is, and most of us have seen what it can do to a person. And since screens hide our faces, you can even be a jerk on sites like Reddit without realizing it.
While social media made making friends easier, it also made it easier for predators to find victims. The anonymity that social networks provide can be used by the perpetrators to gain people’s trust and then terrorize them in front of their peers.
These online attacks often leave deep mental scars and even drive people to suicide in some cases. You’ll be surprised to find out that cyberbullying isn’t just affecting kids, but also full grown adults.
If you are being harassed online, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and that you can take steps in order to get back your dignity.
3. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a phenomenon that was born at the same time as Facebook—and it’s one of the most common negative effects of social media. FOMO is basically a form of anxiety that you get when you’re scared of missing out on a positive experience or emotions that someone else is getting.
This fear is constantly fueled by your social media engagement. The more you use social networks, the more likely you are to see that someone is having more fun that you are right now. And that’s exactly what causes FOMO.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
This one probably comes as no surprise, but social media helps you to form unrealistic expectations of life and friendships. The networks that do it most are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those are the social media platforms that severely lack online authenticity.
One simple way out of this is for everyone to quit lying on social media. But in the era of Instagram celebrities and YouTubers who earn millions, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
5. Negative Body Image
Speaking of Instagram celebrities, if you look at the most-followed accounts on Instagram, you’ll find beautiful people wearing expensive clothes on their perfect bodies.
Today, body image is an issue for many people of both sexes. Of course, seeing those perfect in accordance with the society standards people on a daily basis makes you conscious about how different you look from those pictures. And not everyone comes to the right conclusions in this situation.
6. Unhealthy Sleep Patterns
On top of increased rates of anxiety and depression, spending too much time on social media can lead to poor sleep. Numerous studies have shown that increased use of social media has a negative effect on your sleep quality.
If you feel like your sleep patterns have become irregular and that this is affecting your productivity, try and avoid spending a significant amount of time on social media. If you still have trouble sleeping, here are some more tricks to help you to sleep peacefully.
7. General Addiction
Social media is often described as being more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. With the worst social media apps being Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat when it comes to addiction.
Don’t know if you’re addicted to your social networks? Think when was the last time you went a full day without checking your social media accounts? What if your favorite social networks completely disappeared tomorrow; would it make you feel empty and depressed?
If you just realized you’re addicted to social media, don’t worry, as most of us are there with you in varying degrees. And it’s not necessarily a reason to go and wipe yourself off all those social networking platforms.
However, if you think quitting is the best solution for you, we won’t stop you. In fact, one of our writers tried quitting social media once, and it was an interesting experience.
Social Media: Is It Time to Quit or Detox?
As with everything else, social media brings both good and bad things into our lives. At the end of the day, you’re the one who decides whether there’s more help or harm in it for you.
Maybe all you need is find the right site for you. Perhaps switching from Facebook to Twitter, or from Instagram to YouTube. Or maybe you’re done with all of them altogether and are ready to delete your entire social media presence for good.
If that feels a little too extreme consider doing a social media detox every once in a while instead. Because the non-nuclear option should always be your first choice. And once you’re back, consider filtering toxic comments from social media.