A Virtual Virus - Why Social Media Makes You Depressed

Lifestyle

Captured within our screens, locking our fingers on the cell phones scrolling down till infinity, and anxiety are pretty much occupying most of our time every day. The revolution of the modern age, the Internet has gained fame for its extreme necessity of the new term called 'Globalization'. Basically, the social networking sites were invented for socializing, but who knew that it would turn the people the opposite? Perhaps we're yet to realize it, as continuous users are increasing all over the world. According to the DataReportal, about 49% of the world's population are social media users, numbering up to 3.81 billion. Among them, more than 2 billion are Facebook users, more than 1 billion are Instagram users, and about 340 million are Twitter users according to statistics in 2019.

Now, in the days of Quarantine and Lockdown, we're using the sites more as a means to pass our time. We are somewhat compelled to check these for our own purpose because that is just Why these Sites were created. We chose to make the most use out of it, and now people like their communication virtually, finding it harder in case of Real communication. According to research done by the University of Nevada, surveys show that 90% of teenagers use social media and approximately 75% have at least one active social media profile from the age of 17. On average, teens spend over 70 minutes, even up to 140 minutes per day surfing the internet and social media. [ January 2019]

Social media Can cause Depression:

The Child Mind Institute of the United States of America has identified the increased rate of reported depression among teens and young adults who spend the most time on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms, than those who spend the least time. The rate is higher by 13 - 66%. Either social media can make people socially isolated, or the people who feel socially isolated use social media. It can be of great help for those who can connect to the positive sides, but too much of its use is indeed negative.

  • Having less 'Real' Conversations

Too much use of social media makes the teens isolated from 'Real-life conversation'. They are less likely to share their problems with their families and friends; rather they find it more comfortable to post status and stories on their anxiety and personal problems.

  • Losing concentration and interest for Important works

Social Media Is Dividing Us More Then Connecting Us

​​​​​Being too much busy on social media, people, especially teens, fall victim to addiction to these, and they constantly think about those sites. Some relevant thoughts about others posting nicer pictures or messages, distraction by the chattings, and texting lessen their consciousness in studies, homework, and other important works. They lose their ability to concentrate and to make decisions if social media keep peeking in their thoughts.

"Stop letting people who do so little for you control you so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions."

- Will Smith

  • Spending leisure time meaninglessly:

"Leisure is the Mother of Philosophy" - Thomas Hobbes.

Leisure flourishes freedom from inside and expresses creativity and innovativeness. Recently, it has been observed that people nowadays like to spend their leisure through their phones. Now, many teens and even adults don't hesitate to check social media, followers/ friends, likes, and stories, instead of doing something meaningful and innovative.

  • Comparing life with others and feeling low self-esteemed:

Comparing the actual life with that of the virtually apparent life of others often makes the teens victim to depression. Low self-esteem, less confidence, envy get into them even without knowing. American Psychiatric Association noted that 'feeling worthless' and 'guilty' is a symptom of depression. These symptoms may increase among them who spend more time on social media. A study of the University of Copenhagen found that many people suffer from jealousy; and they termed it as the "Facebook Envy". Many teens crave to become more happy and flawless following them and wanting more. But happiness never lies in that.

  • Less patience and laziness:

Using social media more than necessity takes you far from your goals in life and makes you lazier. Some people even scroll down their social media screen numbly, without any reason, just for passing time. Again, abbreviations used in texting by social media is considered as the modern trend, but it shortens our Patience and even our Language skills.

  • Marking own imperfections and flaws:

Not being able to keep pace with trends and fashion on social media where people incessantly post their best pictures, editing them after clicking through better cameras, teenagers, and even adults may think that they're not good enough or they've flaws in some ways. They think that other people have better and happier lives, better achievements, more followers, and likes. They forget the fact that everything isn't so true and perfect as it seems in the virtual world.

  • Narcissism, Cyber Bullying, and Anxiety:

Colourism, racism, and cyberbullying add to discrimination even in the virtual media. As the positive sides can make revolutionary influences throughout the world, negativity can also show up if we don't stand against it. It is being protested now over the world. There are many instances of cyberbullying, and teens even fall victim to suicide. The narcissistic bullies harass and stalk the victims through social media, which adds to the insecurity of young teens.

Venn Diagram of Personality Disorders & Social Media

  • You may have lots of friends on social media, yet you're lonely:

Having hundreds and thousands of friends and followers on social networking sites doesn't mean that they're your True Friends. The more you increase your friends on the sites, the more you need attention on getting even more friends to be competitive, and the less you interact with your True friends. In a survey of more than 55000 people, about 40% of 16 - 24-year-olds reported feeling lonely very often ( The Conversation, October 4, 2018 ). You can't give time to anyone really special in your life, be it your family or friends, while you're too much engaged with your phone. It makes you feel self-centered and lonely which ultimately makes you depressed.

Addiction to social media is the same as drug addiction:

The survey of the Pew Reasearch centre has said that 45 % teens are online Almost Constantly.[ Pew Reasearch Center ]

Social media have added to new means of virtual communication connecting the whole world. But addiction to its use has been identified as the same as the horrible drug addiction disorder. Constant use of social media does nothing but a waste of time and the Fake Appreciations. Those who're addicted to social media can't stop thinking of what's happening in the sites, they become too much eager to get likes or comments on their posts or messages, they become aggressive or restless if they're apart from social media.

Ways to get a diversion from the negativities:

  • Have 'Real-life conversation' with your family and friends. Share your problems with them instead of giving status and stories on social media.

According to the woman behind "check your privilege," the closest thing we have to a racial slur against straight white men, our debate over the advantages society grants some and not others hasn't advanced much in 26 years.

  • Explore the outside than staring at your phone for no certain reasons. If you're free from the important works, do something creative and meaningful.
  • Create influence through social media and spread inspiration, not for popularity, but betterment.
  • Every people in the world has some kind of flaws that they never show through their social media. You need to realize that people always show their best on the virtual sites.
  • Do not get too much influenced by virtual friends who may show you fake appearance and appreciation.

Letting the thumbs race through the 'Thumbs up's (Likes) and getting dissolved in the phone screens has turned into our habits now. During this situation of the Pandemic, arrange a Face Time call with your friends instead. We have to use social media for what they were created, we can't go beyond that. Social media are acutely helpful for creating influence, campaigns, and development. Social media are amazing inventions, but it depends on how we use it. We are yet to realize it, but once we do, we'll be able to explore the true blessing of technology.

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Roshanak Rahman

Roshanak is a student who loves to explore new things. Besides writing, she loves fashion designing and listening to music in her free time. She is optimistic of contributing much to the betterment of the world.


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