All age group people are either directly or indirectly influenced by media. Media refers to various means of communication. This includes television, radio, newspaper, Internet, anything from printed paper to digital data, educational content and various other forms of information. In modern times, social media has fundamentally changed the way we interact, share and communicate. Despite the fact that it has indisputable advantages, the impact of social media on physical and mental health have been called into question. This article examines the impact of social media on physical and mental health as well looks for its benefits and drawbacks.
Impact of Social Media on Physical and Mental Health :
Young generations or teenagers are most affected by social media, because they are at a growing age. Children and adolescents spend an average of five hours a day or more cell phone, internet, computer and video games than for any other activity except sleeping. That influences children’s beliefs and behaviors in terms of violence and aggression, substance abuse obesity and heart diseases and eating disorders. Spending too much time in social media leads to attention-deficit disorders, diminished academic performance, hypertension, asthma, sleep-disorders, mood-disorders and psychological distress.
Evidence suggests that use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp by young people have negative impact on their physical and mental health. This impact of social media on physical and mental health can be exacerbated if young people are comparing themselves with celebrities whose lives may appear so much more glamorous and exciting than their own. This begins to develop body dysmorphia which leads to worsening sleep, feelings of social isolation anxiety and depression.
Advantages of Social Media Sites:
- Social Media is one of the best educational tools. Students use it to discuss educational topics and talk about school assignments.
- On social media, various community groups are present where an individual can join a community and get emotional support.
- Social Media is a platform for self- identity and self-expression.
- Social Media is the best platform for making, building and maintaining relationships with friends and family, those who live far away.
Disadvantages of Social Media Sites:
- Lack of emotional attachment
- License to hurt others
- Lack of face-to-face communication
- Conveys inauthentic expression of feelings
- Reduces understanding and thoughtfulness
- promotes laziness
- Develops skewed self-image
- Reduces family bonding
- Causes distraction
All of this is not to say that there is no benefit of social media, obviously it keeps us connected across great distances and helps us to find people we had lost touch with years ago. But getting on social media when you have some time to kill or worse, need an emotional lift, is very likely a bad idea. The more social media we have, the more we think we are connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.
Impact of Social Media on Physical Health:
Health experts say that sitting is one of the worst things we can do for health. It invites a number of diseases as increased amount of time we spend staring at our phones or our computer screens.
Research says that people who use smartphone for more than four hours a day, tend to develop rounded shoulders, spinal curvature and vertebral disorders associated with lower and upper back pain, neck pain, headache and shallow breathing.
Smartphone emits light, which is very bright for eyes. Using smartphone in bed is harmful as this direct exposure to light that damages our retina, can lead to macular degeneration, worsening eyesight, itchy eyes, blurred vision, eye strain and chances to develop cataract very early stage.
The production of Melatonin naturally in our body is essential for sound sleep. Use of smartphone on bed delays Melatonin production and prevents us from good sleep.
Sitting in front of screens can negatively impact our metabolism. Blue light from a device affects cortisol level in our body and it affects our insulin production that lead to higher sugar level and even Type-2.
Those who spend too much screen time leads to too much sitting, which leads to lowered cardiovascular health and more likely to experience heart attacks and strokes.
Impact of Social Media on Mental Health:
Social media creates anxiety by comparing our lives with that of the others which associated with fear of missing out. Social media also creates feelings of low self-esteem, personal failures, obsessive-compulsive thoughts patterns and behavior.
Social media leads to less happiness and less life satisfaction. Some research study says excessive use of social media leads to greater feelings of social isolation and perceived social isolation is one of the worst things for us mentally and physically.
Comparing our lives with others:
Comparison makes people feel bad and mentally unhealthy. But in the social network world, it seems that any kind of comparison leads one to feel worse, jealous, develop negative feeling and depression.
Most friends on social media does not mean you have a healthy social life. Try to get real social support that is more important. A Facebook friend does not have the therapeutic effect as real friends.
University of Chicago found that social media is more addictive than cigarettes. Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale found that women are more likely to become addicted to Facebook than men and people who suffer from anxiety are more likely to be addicted.
Suffers Cyber Bullying:
Teens are more likely to suffer cyber bullying in silence that leads to depression and even suicide, so parents should check once in a while to make sure all is well in their child’s virtual world.
Tips to Maintain Social Media:
Change your habits to limit the amount of negative health effects from using your smartphone everyday:
- Maintain posture. Focus on your shoulder blades, back and chest. Do not hunch over your screen.
- While using smartphone for a prolonged period of time, take frequent breaks to focus your eyes on the horizon. It reduces eye strain.
- Do not take your phone to bed.
- Do not stare at your screen in bed.
- Read a book or lie down quietly on bed that allows your body to produce natura melatonin for sound sleep.
- Use 20/20 rule. It means that every 20 minutes, take your eyes off the screen for 20 seconds and look at something 20 feet away.
The impact of social media on physical and mental health is a complex interplay of positive and negative aspects. it involves a complicated combination of advantages and disadvantages. We may achieve a balance that involves our general well-being by utilizing its capacity for connection, awareness and inspiration while also being aware of the dangers of comparison, cyberbullying and excessive usage.
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