SOCIAL MEDIA

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Switch Off


We live in a society that is constantly plugged in and it is incredibly hard to switch off. Our self worth is judged on likes on a picture and the amount of followers we have. Our lives are controlled by this small device which constantly finds itself in our palms. However, it wasn't until I began to get calculating that I realised something shocking. If you spend one hour a day on your phone (which is probably the minimum amount of time that anyone uses their phone for), by the end of the year that is 365 hours spent checking a phone. Divide this number by the amount of hours in a day, 24, and you get 15.2. This is how many days of your life are wasted if you spend an hour a day on your phone, half a month. Imagine all the things that you could do in that time. For starters that is the length of a very nice holiday. 



Lets put the amount of time wasted aside, social media in my opinion is great in some aspects but is also a negative influence on us. I say us as in everyone of all ages. It affects children, teenagers and adults. Now before I start my list of reasons why you should switch off your phone we need to have it clear from the get go that I am addicted to my phone just like anyone else. Social media is the first thing I check in the morning and usually the last thing I check at night (such bad habits I know). So this is no way a judgement on anyone, it is merely a reflection of all of our lives which are controlled, whether we like to admit it or not, by social media. 


1. Social media can ruin our self worth 


When did our self worth become so focused on the number of likes we got, the number of comments we received and the amount of followers we have? Social media has made people so conscious of how they look, making some people vain and others having 0 confidence. I am all for self love but we all know someone who knows how good they look and their entire Instagram feed is just selfies. Social media has made it so much easier to compare ourselves to other people, especially people we look up to such a celebrities. Seeing their perfect bikini bodies and their airbrushed faces really doesn't help any "every day, normal" person feel good. There is also a very big pressure that comes with social media to appear to have a perfect life. I for one have spent many evenings when I first began my degree scrolling through Instagram seeing everyone's perfect university experiences and comparing it to mine, wondering why mine wasn't like theirs. Social media is unrealistic, people only show what they want to. 


2. Social media is causing us to be constantly on alert


I recently watched an interview on This Morning with a psychologist who was discussing the affects of social media on our mental health. She was saying that hundreds of years ago, back when we would hunt, our brains would release chemicals into our brain so that we were on high alert during our period of hunting. Once we had made our catch our brains would go back to normal. Nowadays our brains are constantly alert, they don't have a resting period which means that our chemical levels are always high causing anxiety. Technology leaves us constantly alert waiting for the next text or notification to come in and if it doesn't come in we check our phones anyway to check we haven't missed it. 


3. Social media is inhibiting physical contact with people 


Social media makes us believe that we are connected to people. However, when we are in the company of our friends and family we have nothing to say to them because they already know all of our news through social media. And when we are in the company of those closest to us we aren't living in the moment because we are still checking for notifications from other people. Relationships are slowly being destroyed and our ability to connect with people in person is being weakened. 


4. Social media is making people lonely 


Whilst the number of friends that you have on Facebook and your followers on Instagram may in the hundreds, when you really need a friend, who is  there for you? Social media makes us believe we have friends but it is only a number and in reality your true friends are the ones who will be there for you in person. However, due to the fact that social media is destroying physical contact with people, more and more people are be coming lonely. Loneliness can very easily feed into a mental illness leading people to feel very depressed. Swap texting your friends to having a weekly coffee, it is a far better way to get to know what is happening in your friends life. 


5. Social media is making us miss out on so much of life 


Our heads are always bent down staring into our palms. Yet there is a whole world around us and we are missing it. We are missing new people to meet, sunsets to watch, stars to gaze up at and the sensation of being alive. Being alive isn't typing away at a screen. We are missing out on being in the moment, moments pass by that we will never get back. We watch sunsets and have to capture every moment through a lens but our eyes don't take in any of it or we want to record our lives to share it on social media. The best moments always remain uncaptured by a lens. 


6.  Social media affects our health and body clock 


Whilst social media affects our mental health and how we perceive ourselves, it also affects our physical health. The biggest factor is that all of this technology gives out waves which are at some point going to have an effect on our bodies. The number of brain tumours reported have steadily increased and phones may have a part to play in this! We also loose a lot of sleep from social media, as it stimulates our brains so more and more people suffer from sleeping difficulties. 


However social media of course isn't all bad. It has created supportive networks, it has helped us stay connected with loved ones, it helps us to educate ourselves, it has become a means of expression and for many is a source of inspiration. 


So whilst i am not saying that you should delete all of your social media accounts  it is an idea to perhaps give yourself a curfew or to have a detox day one day a week, so that for one day a week you can be completely present in the moment and feel alive. 



2 comments :

  1. Yes. One of my early posts was about having a 'digital detox ' I called it. Get away somewhere with no technology and just enjoy life (sent from my phone while lounging watching television!)

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    1. Yeah i agree, i think it is really important to get away sometimes and to, as you say, have a digital detox, it is so necessary!

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