If you can’t imagine life without social media, I should say that you have fallen a victim to the evil power of social networking. Also, it means that you have experienced one or more of social media negative effects on society.
However, social networking sites aren’t a wholly positive influence on the world. In fact, if you delve just a little into how they have changed the world you find there are some potentially negative effects social media are having on society as a whole and each of us as individuals.
Don’t pretend you have never heard of these. While social media can have a positive effects too, that doesn’t mean it’s all hearts and flowers. Unfortunately.
Social Media Negative Effects
Let’s explore the darker side of social media and exactly how and why it is bad for you. You will be surprised to learn that social media negative effects are both physical and mental. It can change your perception of the world and yourself, and not always for the better.
Don’t believe us? Then read on to find out some of the negative effects of social media. And if you recognize any of them as your own symptoms it may be time to consider stop using social media altogether.
1. “Social Isolation” One of Social Media Negative Effects
Research has revealed a correlation between the heavy use of social media and “perceived social isolation.” Teenagers may induce anxiety from worrying about why they are not invited to a party they see on Facebook or Instagram. It is what our culture has called “Fear of Missing Out” or FOMO.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a phenomenon that was born at the same time as Facebook. It is one of the most common social media negative effects. FOMO is basically a form of anxiety that you get when you are scared of missing out on a positive experience or emotions that someone else is getting.
This fear is constantly fueled by your social media engagement. The more you use social networks, the more likely you are to see that someone is having more fun that you are right now. And that’s exactly what causes FOMO.
Teens use social media believing it’s what connects them to others, when in fact it takes them out of the present moment and their life. This, in turn, makes them feel more isolated.
2. Depression and Anxiety
Do you spend more than two hours per day on social media? Spending too long on social networking sites could be adversely affecting your mood. In fact, you are more likely to report poor mental health, including symptoms of anxiety and depression.
So how to use social media without causing yourself psychological distress? The recommended amount of time you should spend on social networks is half an hour per day. So, as with so many things in life, it’s all about moderation.
3. Lower Self-esteem
This is especially true with teen girls because they are comparing themselves with a flock of celebrities, photoshopped to appear thinner, prettier, and rich. Teenagers mistakenly view these as their model of what is deemed normal, which can be destructive to their self-worth, say experts. Studies have shown that girls will also spend a lot of time trying to construct the perfect post of themselves, worrying they won’t be accepted by their friends.
4. “Cyberbullying” as the Result of Social Media Negative Effects
Before social media, bullying was something only done face-to-face. However, now, someone can be bullied online anonymously. Today everyone knows what cyberbullying is, and most of us have seen what it can do to a person. And since screens hide our faces, you can even be a jerk on sites like Reddit without realizing it.
While social media made making friends easier, it also made it easier for predators to find victims. The anonymity that social networks provide can be used by the perpetrators to gain people’s trust and then terrorize them in front of their peers.
These online attacks often leave deep mental scars and even drive people to suicide in some cases. You will be surprised to find out that cyberbullying isn’t just affecting kids, but also full grown adults.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
This one probably comes as no surprise, but social media helps you to form unrealistic expectations of life and friendships. The networks that do it most are Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Those are the social media platforms that severely lack online authenticity.
One simple way out of this is for everyone to quit lying on social media. But in the era of Instagram celebrities and YouTubers who earn millions, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.
6. Unhealthy Sleep Patterns
On top of increased rates of anxiety and depression, spending too much time on social media can lead to poor sleep. Numerous studies have shown that increased use of social media has a negative effect on your sleep quality.
If you feel like your sleep patterns have become irregular and that this is affecting your productivity, try and avoid spending a significant amount of time on social media.
7. Negative Body Image
Speaking of Instagram celebrities, if you look at the most-followed accounts on Instagram, you will find beautiful people wearing expensive clothes on their perfect bodies.
Today, body image is an issue for many people of both sexes. Of course, seeing those perfect in accordance with the society standards people on a daily basis makes you conscious about how different you look from those pictures. And not everyone comes to the right conclusions in this situation.
8. “General Addiction” One of Social Media Negative Effects
Social media is often described as being more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. With the worst social media apps being Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat when it comes to addiction.
Don’t know if you are addicted to your social networks? Think when was the last time you went a full day without checking your social media accounts? What if your favorite social networks completely disappeared tomorrow; would it make you feel empty and depressed?
If you just realized that you are addicted to social media, don’t worry, as most of us are there with you in varying degrees. And it is not necessarily a reason to go and wipe yourself off all those social networking platforms. However, if you think quitting is the best solution for you, we won’t stop you.
9. Poor Concentration
It is common for teenagers to do tasks that require concentration, such as schoolwork, while simultaneously interacting on social media with friends. Many are even proud of being able to multitask. However, this constant disruption is actually making attention issues worse and reducing learning and performance.
10. Decreased Activity
When teenagers are spending an excessive part of their free time on social media, it means they are spending less time on activities that would increase new mental skills, on hobbies and especially physical movement. When we exercise our body releases endorphins that interact with receptors in our brain to trigger a positive feeling and help reduce depression. Because they are more sedentary, teens are not receiving these feel-good endorphins and are also not getting the benefits of improved self-esteem.
11. Over-sharing and Loss of Privacy
This is perhaps the biggest impact for the worse that social networking as a whole is having on society. The very concept of privacy seems to be inexorably eroding, and at a fantastic pace. Those of us who are connected to the Internet are connected 24/7, and we have immersed ourselves in an extension of society in which privacy is not treated with the high regard it is offline.
It isn’t just social networks that are to blame for this, but Facebook has led the way in showing how powerful a tool it can be in coercing people to happily give up personal information. Most of us list our full name and birthday, reveal who our family members are, share our work history, our hobbies and interests, and even what we like and dislike. And we are doing so without any kind of prodding or pushing.
Most people would rightly refuse to walk around with a billboard attached to their front revealing all and sundry to the world. Yet we do just that on social networking sites. A dream for advertisers and marketers, but a nightmare for the rest of us.
12. Breaking Up Relationships
Reconnecting with old friends from school may seem a nice idea, and in many ways it is. You have a lot to talk about, stories to tell, reminiscences to bond over. But you may reconnect with someone you once adored from afar. And now that you are all grown-up you may get the urge to explore feelings that went unrequited 20 or 30 years ago. If you’re already in a relationship this could spell disaster.
It isn’t just old flames, either. People use social networking sites to hook up. Even if it’s a hook up of the extra-marital variety. Many relationships and even marriages have been ended as a result of social networking. And when they do, where is the first place people share the news? On that same social networking site, of course.
Social Media Negative Effects: the Bottom Line
As with everything else, social media brings both good and bad things into our lives. At the end of the day, you are the one who decides whether there’s more help or harm in it for you.
Maybe all you need is find the right site for you. Perhaps switching from Facebook to Twitter, or from Instagram to YouTube. Or maybe you are done with all of them altogether and are ready to delete your entire social media presence for good.
Do you still think social networking sites are, at worst nothing to worry about, at best wholly positive influences on humanity? If so then I’ll be amazed, but I would love to hear your reasoning about these negative impacts of social networking sites. Will any of this make me delete my Facebook and Twitter accounts? Of course not, but it does make me a little more cautious about how and how often I use them.