Social Media Addiction – How we connected to disconnect!

I’m an addict. I just get lost in Facebook” replied a young mother aged 31 yrs when asked why she does not see herself able to help her daughter with her homework. Instead of supporting her child, she spends her time chatting and browsing the social networking site

This case, while extreme, is suggestive of a potential new mental health problem.

Internet usage in India grew up to 355 million users until mid-2016. Indians had spent most of their time on Android phones, spending nearly 150 billion hours between 2014-2016.

On an average, a user spends 200 minutes a day on mobile apps.

The findings of TCS GenY Study 2014-15 of over 12,365 high school students across 14 Indian cities,

➢ 76% spend an average time of up to 60 minutes on social media every day

➢ 52% of the respondents said their online activities were monitored by parents and 48% were not monitored

Research commissioned by McAfee was carried out in seven cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Chennai comprising a sample size of 757 teenagers and 750 parents.

• On an average, they open an account at the age of 13

• found discrepancy between parental perception and actual reality regarding the online activities of the teenagers

• 20 per cent of the surveyed teens revealed they access porn/nudity online willingly several times a day,

• The survey said 38 per cent teens have witnessed cruel behavior online

• McAfee also revealed 70% of the polled parents completely trust their teens to tell them everything they do online, while 58% polled teens strongly believe that they know how to hide their online activities from their parents.

How social media can affect psychological health:

Addiction:

Addiction criteria, such as neglect of personal life, mental preoccupation, mood modifying experiences and tolerance appear to be present in some people who use social networks excessively.

Studies have confirmed that people tend to undergo a kind of withdrawal, report feelings of anxiety when they are stopped from using them.

Perceived social isolation was more with increased usage of social media comparing our lives with others is mentally unhealthy thus can lead to reduced self esteem.

It can lead to irrational jealousy.

Those who had spent more time on social media had twice the risk of reporting body image concerns.

Social interaction skills which develop in the teenage requires face to face interaction. it’s difficult to build empathy and compassion when teens spend more time engaging online.

Increased blue light exposure lead to neurotoxins and decrease the sleep hormone melatonin thus leading into sleep disorders.

Creates unrealistic expectations from life which can later lead into disappointment and self harm.

FOMO or the “fear of missing out.” Makes it difficult to concentrate on productive tasks thus decreases attention span.

Reduced physical activity due to long hours of sitting thus reducing blood supply to the brain.

Tips to avoid mental health issues in regards to social media use

➢ Reduce the Time we spend on these apps

➢ Change the way we use it by limiting the use to personal conversations

➢ Get new sources outside social feeds

➢ Engage in a physical activity everyday

➢ Advise parents to keep track of their childs social media pages and know what they are posting

➢ Avoid usage of electronic media while going to sleep

➢ The focus needs to shift towards educating younger people in how to cope with the emotions that social media may bring and make them aware of the potential risks of using it excessively.

➢ Social media depression is only likely to get worse, so now is the time to educate young people about the potential pitfalls of social media.

Your friends list on social platforms does not signify you are Social ! 

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