Social Media Is Becoming Anti-Social – OpEd


The sprint in technological development and transformation of the world into a digitalized hub engenders the need to adapt to the fresh innovations. In today’s date, social media is considered as an advantageous technological source for long a distance communication easing the complex activities of people who have busy working schedules and lacks time to be physically involved in an interaction, therefore social media has turned to be a ubiquitous tool with an inevitable usage, on the other hand, social media has cons in terms of widening gaps among people due to the extreme human attachment and obsession with social media.

An article published by TechAddiction highlights that when a person is very much obsessed with social media and continuously keep updating it, there is a possibility of losing connection with the actual world around, besides, all the time cannot be spent making virtual relationships because a culture that is obsessed with updating Facebook statuses, posting tweets, playing games and messaging social media friends can cause us to become anti-social beings. (Mandys n.d.)

Life in the 21st century is connected more to the technological means, since the need for technology is enormously felt in every aspect of life, therefore people should understand the imperatives of technology, of which Social Media is an integral part plays a vital role in our day to day activities. Social media generates an interception to our real-life interactions with the people present close to us, while virtually getting us connected to those away from us.

“What used to be thought of as narcissistic, vain, and self-centered behavior is now the guiding norm of society,” says Elias Aboujaoude, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and author of Virtually you: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality. “We are living in an era where humans are putting forth these edited and inflated versions of their lives, this ‘idealized self,’ and then they are, quite literally, falling in love with themselves.”

Due to the extreme social media addiction, we are so busy that we forget to ask ourselves a few questions:

  1. Do I talk to the one sitting next to us in a metro? 
  2. Do I accurately greet the shopkeeper; we purchase goods from? 
  3. Do I get refreshed, take a bath, or exercise when waking up in the morning?

Well, the answer will surely be ‘No’ because while traveling almost 80% of us either put on headphones and listening songs or using Facebook or chatting with our social media friends. Entering into a shop we often forget to have eye contact and properly greet the shopkeeper because we will be busy scrolling on the phone. similarly, when we wake up early in the morning first thing we do is unlocking the phone and see if we have received any updates, messages or any new notification.

People nowadays tend to impress others more than themselves, therefore living in the 21st century shapes us being self-obsessed looking for others’ approvals and appreciations more than being patted by own selves and satisfied within our souls. “people crave social affirmation,” says Erin Vogel, Ph.D., a post-doctoral psychiatry fellow at the University of California, San Francisco. She further claims “when everyone around you has a strong social media presence, even if it is fake, it can create major internal anxiety,” 

Additionally, social media engenders additional problems such as blackmailing, hacking people’s accounts, or annoying people with abusive messages. an article published on the Debate Org website reveals that every 7 seconds someone in the world is cyber bullied and most cyberbullying is caused by mid-teens aged 14-17. Young people can cyberbully other youngsters through abusive texts and emails, Harmful messages, Images or videos, detrimental online gossip, And chat. this cyberbullying can cause shame, Guilt, Fear, Loneliness, And depression. Bad videos and gossip can be spread fast through social media and is difficult to delete. 1 in 5 children has experienced cyberbullying however some children do not tell an adult. (Debate Org n.d.) 

 “When people are constantly spending more and more time on social media, they are disconnecting from real life and are feeling less connected with themselves,” says Shannon Poppito, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.  He further adds “It’s not the real-life multi-dimensional experience of connecting and feeling a sense of belonging.” “As you disconnect more and more from life, you’re going to feel more depressed and directionless,” Dr. Poppito said. “Being involved in social comparison impacts your self-esteem and self-worth.” 

By continuously engaging in other people’s lives through social channels, we begin to compare our “behind the scenes” with their “highlight reels” — observing merely filtered glimpses of their world and not the entire actual footage. Therefore, when we compare every aspect of our life, from relationships to body image, we are likely to feel more depressed.

Dr. Poppito suggests limiting the quantity and quality of time spent on social media, as well as trying to go cold turkey for a moment. significantly, Dr. Poppito also recommends investing the time to stay linked with the ‘real world’ and make time for face-to-face interaction with friends and family.

Real-life is dominated by the virtual, people are more concerned about getting likes, comments, and notifications than shaking hands with friends, appreciations, and spending time with their loved ones, therefore it is suggested that we should dedicate most of our life to real and face-to-face interactions, and limit the use of social media up to the extent of fulfilling the required necessities.  

*Hamayun Khan is an Afghanistan-based researcher and a final Year MBA student at Punjab Technical University, India.

Hamayun Khan

Hamayun Khan holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from IKG Punjab Technical University, India and is a researcher at OSCAR, an Afghanistan-based local NGO.

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