Most of us cannot deny that we check our social pages at least a few more times than we should in a day. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, all of them now have millions of users who just can’t get enough of these platforms. From updating statuses, uploading pictures, or just messaging friends, these social platforms have a digital habitat of their own.
If reports are to be believed, out of the total human population of 7.7 billion, there are more than 4 billion social media users across the world in 2021. And not just the number of users, even the amount of time people spend on these platforms is consistently rising. From close to 100 minutes in 2014, internet users now spend close to 145 minutes per day on these platforms.
While technologies like the internet sure have their valuable benefits, any kind of addiction, be it related to social media, has its drawbacks as well. Take a look at some of the advantages and drawbacks of social media addiction-
Advantages of Using Social Media
- Spread Happiness Not Negativity
According to a study by the University of California which was conducted between 2009 and 2012, social platforms do impact our emotions. But surprisingly, the emotion of happiness is more commonly spread than others.
For instance, the study found that positive posts from friends resulted in close to 1.75 more posts involving positivity and happiness. Negative posts encouraged 1.29 posts with negativity. Moreover, every positive update also reduced the negative ones by 1.80. The negative ones reduced positive posts by only 1.26.
- Staying Connected
Our lives are now busier than ever, with our jobs and family responsibilities consuming most of our day. Amid the busy schedules, social platforms are an effective way to stay connected with friends and even relatives, no matter where they are located across the world.
It is also a great place to meet new people without any geographical boundaries. Want to get in touch with an old school or university friend? Chances are, they might have their profile on popular social platforms. Simply search for them and drop in a message.
You can connect, share, learn, and do a lot more with just a few taps on your mobile phone. This was practically impossible in the past.
- Sense of Belonging
Social platforms have now become such an integral part of our lives that they can influence our emotions and behaviors in many different ways. For instance, connecting and interacting with other people on these platforms brings a sense of belonging, which automatically boosts our self-esteem.
In a way, this provides a sort of purpose to us, making it easier for us to connect and also feel belonged to the society, family, or friend. So, if you just liked or commented on a friend’s post, you just made him/her happier by boosting their feeling of belongingness.
Drawbacks of Social Media
- Reduced Productivity
If you spend a lot of time on social platforms, it could be negatively impacting your productivity. It can not only affect your professional life but your personal life as well. Anything that is used more than it should will ultimately have some kind of disadvantage. And reduced productivity is probably the biggest drawback of social media addiction.
For instance, a lot of people simply keep scrolling through their social media profiles late in the night, sacrificing their sleep. The lack of sleep will surely hamper your life in more ways than you can imagine, no matter if you are a working professional, student, or homemaker.
- Reduced Productivity
It is almost impossible for people not to compare themselves with others on social platforms. This comparison trap can also significantly impact your life, emotions, and mental wellbeing. There are studies that suggest that some people have felt sad after browsing through their social profiles.
Comparing your lifestyle, car, vacation to even looks and figure with others on these platforms can make you feel bad about yourself. This behavior can reach an extent where it can also cause anxiety and depression. But you should remember that no one looks as good or is as happy as they appear on their social profiles.
- Feeling of Loneliness and Isolation
Watching your friends or someone else on social media having the best times of their lives can also result in a feeling of loneliness and isolation. Online platforms are now commonly treated as a sign of status, performance and exaggerating a few selective qualities.
For instance, you might have a friend who regularly uploads pictures in which he is super happy and always surrounded by friends and family. On the other hand, you might be living a busy life away from your friends and family in another city.
It is possible for you to feel lonely or isolated when you witness people around you so happy with their lives.
The Social Media Impact
There is no denying the fact that social networking platforms have helped us in many ways. They’ve made communication easier by enabling us to get in touch with people living across the world in a matter of seconds. However, nobody can deny the drawbacks when social media usage becomes an addiction.
While regular use of social media to an extent will probably not cause any harm, you should try to make some changes in your life if you feel that you are spending way too much time on these platforms. In the longer run, this can have implications on your emotions and mental wellbeing.