The Secret about Social Media that You Need to Know Before it’s too Late.
Ask most people to give their opinions about social media and you will get more answers than you know what to do with. You can even pose the question to yourself, and depending on the day, you may come up with a different answer. There are over 7.4 billion people in the world, and 3.2 billion of them are on the internet, and that is close to 47% of the entire population (News.UN.Org).
The real question is how will all of this screen time usage affect the people in the world? Especially in regards to their goals, relationships, love, business, and how they will create their futures.
The “secret” that no one is talking about is that social media and technology is making people’s lives better by empowering them, but, they are also making lives worse by monopolizing precious time. Because of that danger, screen usage needs to be treated like a “diet” and self-regulated by the individual. I would like to offer a few proven ways to take control of your life and avatar offline and online.
Is social media and technology making the world and the lives of the people who inhabit it better or is it making them worse? As mentioned prior there is no definite answer. However, there are a lot of experts who have been illuminating this discussion. The first one who acts as a beacon on this matter is Jean Twenge. She stresses how Igens (a generation of people born from 1995 and onward) are experiencing increased rates of depression, and she finds may have a close correlation between depression and that there is clearly a coalition between the two.
Another key debater on the matter of screen usage is Sherry Turkle. Turkle explains how people are coming to the point of constant virtual connection but a disconnection of face-to-face contact, and more importantly with themselves. Are all of these new advancements in technology really as bad as the expert say, and is there any good to them? Even better, is it as bad as hypothesized and what can be done to regulate the usage to reduce the harmfulness of its use? With some of the insight provided by both Twenge and Turkle, this compilation shall shed light on the “best” way to use screens and how to implement a technology diet.
Like any good diet, it all comes down to balance and knowledge of the particular diet. Twenge has found evidence that “[people] who spend 10 or more hours a week on social media are 56% more likely to say they’re [more] unhappy than those who spend less time on social media.” Now, 10 hours may seem like a lot, but it is why it is so crucial to have a technology diet. Twenge states, “teens who spend three hours a day or more on electronic devices are 35% more likely to have a risk factor for suicide.”
However there is no absolute causation that technology is the reason for this rise in depression, and there is no guaranteed perfect amount of time for screen usages, but less than two hours a day appears to be the safest. I would suggest that anyone wanting to create a technology diet would only use screens twice a day. The first time to use the phone would be twos hours after waking up and then the second time would be two hours before bed for no more than 45 minutes at a time.
Aside from the feeling of depression, loneliness, and longing for suicide people are affected on all aspects of life, some positive and some negative. People are dating less, and this results in less premature sex, and less teen pregnancy is happening, according to Twenge. Citizens are drinking less and are having fewer car accidents. Clearly, there are some things have become safer while other circumstances more troubling, “As [people] have started spending less time together, they have become less likely to kill one another, and more likely to kill themselves” says Twenge. It is apparent that there is more than a technology issue but a mental health crisis. People will need to learn not only how to balance out their virtual lives, but also their physical ones: reality.
The virtual world has become so well integrated that some people will go as far as to say, “If Facebook were deleted, I’d be deleted.” This is a time where people feel as if their identity belongs to a virtual avatar, and this is dangerous. There are definitely some positives that come from social media, but also a lot of negatives. However, we must also take into account the positive that technology gives to people. People are now able to talk to friends that live across the world. They can monetize their passions, and it gives anyone a voice who is willing to use it. There are some pros and cons to technology, but it all depends on how you use it. In a world that never sleeps balance is key.
It is clear that people need to be more careful about how much time they are using technology. Aside from the fact that now people are becoming more depressed because of technology this is resulting in a level of suicide rate never seen before. People are also becoming more disconnected in a world where technology is supposed to make them more connected. In order to truly have a more fulfilled and happier life, people will need to spend less time on screens and more time with people. A lot of people will see this as absurd to spend less time on technology, but it is apparent that this increased time with screens has resulted in the increase of depression.
We are all in this together, but it all starts with you!
You are creating history!
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Author of- Perfectly Perfect
Corp, UN. “Nearly 47 percent of Global Population Now Online – UN Report | UN News.”United Nations, United Nations, 2015,
Turkle, Sherry. “What You Eat Is Your Business.” They Say/ I Say, with Readings, edited by, Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst, 3rd edition, Norton, 2015, pp 373-392
Twenge, Jean. “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation.” The Atlantic, 2017 http://www.thealantic.com/magnize/archive/2017/09.has-the-smartphone-destrpyed-a-generation/534198