We are living in a digital age where almost every aspect of our lives revolves around the Internet. Every year, technology becomes more innovative, thus making it more accessible to consumers.
In the United States, the average household has up to 10 different high-tech devices. Smartphones and computers are no longer the only tools used to surf the Internet and post on social media. Since people have so many different ways to browse the web, they spend more and more time in cyberspace. This means less time they spend in the real world.
That isn’t the only way social media sites are screwing us over, however. Read on for a list of 25 ways social media sites might be getting the better of you.
What You Post Online is Forever
The Internet is extremely vast. Every second, hundreds of millions of pictures are uploaded, posts are shared, and social media accounts are created.
Many people think the posts that they upload can get lost in the noise. However, nothing truly dies on the Internet. That’s why it’s so important to think twice before you share anything online. It’s much easier to control your content than to change who saw it once it’s posted.
You’re sitting behind your desk, casually searching for your next dream vacation. The next thing you know, flights to the Bahamas are being advertised everywhere you look. Unfortunately, that’s not the universe telling you to go on an expensive getaway. It’s actually targeted ads.
Special algorithms use data from your browsing history to make advertisements more personalized to you. In other words, you’ve been legally hacked. While there are some ways to control what ads you see, there is no way to get rid of them completely without totally unplugging from the Internet.
Turns You into a "Stalker"
Social media has normalized behavior which would have been charactered as stalking back in the day. It’s okay to admit that you’ve scrolled deep into someone’s profile. That’s because everyone has done it at least once or twice before.
However, if you really think about, going through someone’s posts from last year just to get to know them a little better is kind of weird. Yet, social media works upon the basis of looking through someone’s profile.
Causes Weight Gain
An estimated 170 million children below the age of 18 suffer from obesity, according to the World Health Organization. Scientific researchers believe social media has something to do with that shocking number.
Children who actively use social media have a greater risk of experiencing sleep issues, which then leads to weight gain. Even adults who use social media are prone to weight gain.
In addition to affecting sleep cycles, the amount of time spent on social media platforms is that much time taken away from participating in physical activity.
Between working on a computer and checking a phone, the average person could be experiencing at least eight hours of screen time a day. Electronic notebooks, smartphones, and other digital devices emit a significant amount of blue light.
Avid social media users often report having strained and dry eyes after spending a lot of time on their phones. Headaches and nausea are also side effects of looking at a screen for too long.
Replacing Real-Life Interactions
The Internet has the ability to connect people from all over the world. With a good Wi-Fi connection, you can do almost anything.
In 1957, the first type of interactive multimedia device was invented. It was called Sensorama and offered a virtual reality experience.
Right now, social media platforms aren’t offering virtual reality experiences. However, that isn’t to say that they won’t be offered in the near future. In any case, Internet use has replaced real-world interactions for many people.
The majority of people use social networks as a way to talk to friends and keep in touch with long-distance family members. But for hackers, social media is one of the easiest ways to steal a person’s information.
Once they have your valuable information, they could use it to gain access to your bank account or even steal your identity. An estimated two in three U.S. adults claim to have had their accounts hacked, according to a 2016 study by The University of Phoenix.
Decrease in Empathy
Showing empathy for another person is an aspect of compassion. It is one of the best ways to express that you understand what another person is going through.
Simply reaching out to support someone through their challenging situation can help improve the other person’s well-being. That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear that social networks like Facebook can decrease empathy among teens, according to one study at a California State University.
Could Cause ADHD
The creation of the Internet has turned us into a society consumed by instant gratification. We are constantly on the lookout for innovative products that perform faster.
Researchers think social media is to blame for our shorter attention span. They’ve even gone as far as to say that children who use social media are more likely to develop ADHD symptoms, according to a study done by the medical journal JAMA.
Negative Body Image
Is it just me, or does it seem like there are flawless pictures of perfectly toned women everywhere you look on social media? As we know, Instagram users validate their posts by the number of likes they get.
So it seems the more quintessential the picture is, the higher the number of likes they will receive. As a result, people are becoming even more body-conscious. It also doesn’t help that social media influencers are getting paid astronomical amounts to promote weight loss products and supplements.
If someone told you that you could be significantly happier if you got rid of your social media profiles, would you do it? Researchers have discovered that it only takes around two hours of social media usage a day to start negatively affecting your mood.
Some symptoms include depression, anxiety, and irritability. If you’re not ready to totally give up social media, try reducing your screen time to 30 minutes per day.
All Talk, No Action
Actually getting out there and doing something is a lot easier said than done. That’s because posting on the Internet can make someone feel powerful and useful.
If you’re one of those people constantly hashtagging for a cause but you haven’t physically helped the movement, don’t feel too bad. You are helping bring awareness to the subject.
However, if you want to do more, try creating a plan of action. This will get you motivated to help in the real world too.
Back in the 1970s, it was actually uncommon for marriages to end in a divorce. Fast-forward 50 years and only around 50% of marriages last.
One of the reasons behind those shocking figures is the increase in temptation. Social media allows both parties in the marriage the opportunity to talk to and meet new people without having to leave their house.
This could be dangerous for marriages especially if the relationship has no clear boundaries.
Ruins Your Budget
A lot of people don’t realize the full impact that social media has on their finances. Pinterest is one of the best examples of a fun application that is not necessarily budget-friendly.
If you find yourself often scrolling through Pinterest, you know how many DIY projects are always popping up. Even though a lot of those projects may seem cheaper than hiring a professional, most of the time that project isn’t planned in for this month’s budget.
If you haven’t noticed, most of the things posted on social media are usually picture perfect. This is because people only post what they are willing to share with their followers.
The up-and-coming generation of young people is constantly comparing themselves to social media influencers and it isn’t healthy. An estimated 60% of people who use social media have reported that it has negatively impacted their self-esteem.
Invading Your Privacy
Whether you like it or not, your personal information can be found on the Internet. If someone really wanted to, all they would have to do is search the web to discover your name, phone number, and even address.
To make matters worse, you might even be giving away sensitive information without realizing it. Every time you check into a place online or tag your location, you’re giving full access to your whereabouts.
If you’re not sure what your privacy settings are on your social media accounts, go and check those right now!
Having your cellphone out while you’re talking to another person can interfere with that personal connection. Also, valuable one-on-one time is lost every time someone goes to check their social media account.
Relationships are ruined by social media every year, whether it’s because a fight was caused by social media or it simply took up too much of a partner or friend’s time.
Not Living in the Moment
Social media revolves around sharing moments of joy, friendship, and life accomplishments. Many people don’t realize that they are actually missing out on those precious moments when they take time to capture them on social media.
It’s important to keep in mind when recording a video or taking a picture that you’re living life through a lens at that exact moment.
As many people already know, social media can be extremely addicting. This is partly due to the brain’s pleasure center responding positively to validation and novelty.
Also, as human beings, most of us naturally enjoy constant interactions; social media provides plenty of that. Even though scrolling through your newsfeed is entertaining, try to limit the amount of time you spend on your phone.
Sets High Expectations
In today’s digital era, it comes to no surprise that social media has a negative impact on our mental health. A good amount of what we see on social media isn’t true, which causes people to have unrealistic expectations.
This seems to be a big problem for the majority of Instagram users since they value their content based on the number of likes they get. Setting unrealistically high expectations for anything can lead to disappointment and even depression.
Harming Your Sleep Schedule
We’ve all experienced that dreaded morning after staying up too late aimlessly scrolling through the newsfeeds. It happens to the best of us.
If you do this every now and then, try not to beat yourself up over it. However, if this is something you do every night, then you should really consider creating a healthier sleep schedule.
Try placing your phone out of sight so you don’t get the temptation to check it in the middle of the night. A good night’s sleep really is important.
The majority of social media users have experienced FOMO at least once in their life. FOMO, also known as “fear of missing out,” normally takes place after a person sees someone else having fun on the Internet.
This then leads to them feeling sad or anxious because they are not experiencing the same thing. A good way to get over that feeling is to practice mindfulness and savor the moments when you are having a fun time.
Ever since the Internet was created, there have been cyberbullies. As shocking as it may sound, some people just get a kick out of harassing another person from behind their computer screen.
While traditional bullying is still more common than cyberbullying, there has been a rise in online tormenting over the past few years. “In 2017 [the most recent year available], 14.5% of students reported that they were bullied electronically, compared to 15.5% in 2015, 14.8% in 2013, and 16.2% in 2011,” according to the Cyberbullying Research Center.
Bad Spelling and Grammar
Depending on when you were born, you may have grown up talking to your friends via instant message or text. Part of what makes communicating on the Internet so fun is that you don’t have to use perfect spelling and grammar.
In fact, many teenagers consider it cooler to text in shorthand. An estimated 73% of teachers believe this new way of communicating has had a negative impact on their students’ grammar and spelling.
If you haven’t noticed, time seems to go by faster when you are on social media. Somehow a few minutes of strolling through your newsfeed turns into hours. It’s kinda scary.
An average person typically spends anywhere from two hours to four hours on social media a day, according to Digital Information World. That may not seem like a lot of time, but it counts up to around 730 hours spent on social media a year.