The Social Overdose

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Myspace loom like thunderstorm clouds raining social acceptance.

Our “friends” like our pictures on Facebook; our “friends” like what we’re doing at a specific moment of the day; our “friends” make snarky comments on statuses of events that we’ve attended. We, more often than not, become or act on what others understand us to be. Unfortunately, these serve as a disservice to our personal mental health and make us value relationships less, serving as a detriment to our individual beings, which is why we should lessen our use of social media. We should act on and be defined by our own self-understanding which can be derived from mental decision-making. Psychologically, social media can lead people to believe they should become an impractical version of themselves which can potentially cause mental disorders.

We Will Write a Custom Case Study Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Cyber bullying is the perfect example: social media allows people to express feelings they may not express directly to someone’s face, and while we often see the sharing of ideas as generally positive, “800,000 minors were harassed or cyber bullied on Facebook” ( 2012 Consumer Reports survey). Not only is this statistic evidently alarming, but it recognizes how a majority of minors feel the undermining of self-worth. Dare to guess the impact of such attacks. The impact is that “Middle and High school children who are victims of cyber bullying are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide”. This has to be avoidable, somehow.

And it is! We have a multitude of support groups, posters, and school talks in attempts of prevention. However, these fail to eliminate the issue. Why? They should work, shouldn’t they? The reason these methods are ineffective is that they fail to eliminate the source. As long as the source is present, the problem can manifest itself as a parasite would in a body. Yet, we can’t exactly eliminate social media. We use it constantly, for work, coordinating extracurricular activity, or when leisure time calls to it.

Nevertheless, if we maximize efficiency, it’s possible to limit the amount of time we spend on social media websites and apps. When the purpose of use is work or extracurricular, use it solely for the reason you went on. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted. When the purpose of use is down time, reevaluate. Maybe it’s time to explore and cultivate interests that “you don’t have time for”; maybe down time was made for us to define ourselves.

Something we can’t do if we waste it on social media, where we may allow others to define us. So, what else on earth could one do? Activities such as kite-flying, running, reading, cooking, etc. can help us in this quest to “find ourselves”. Personally, I often exercise instead of spending time on social media which serves as both a stress reliever and nurtures my body. Such shift in recreation allows us to define ourselves not by others opinions, but, rather, facts we learn through our own quests.

One of these quests may be finding “friendship”. Often, social media distorts our perception of our “friends”. On social media sites we enter a continuum of “adding ‘friends’ ” or gaining “followers” to our networks, which allows for the improper interpretation of our social standing and is another disadvantage to ourselves. The University of Edinburgh Business School conducted a study that found that “the more Facebook friends a person has, the more stressful the person finds Facebook to use.” It is because we feel as though we have more people to please that our overall stress in our already stress-ridden lives climbs up the mountain of our sanity. Perhaps one could spend time we accidentally allocate to chatting on Facebook or direct messaging on Twitter in nurturing a valuable relationship with a friend we’d like to get to know better in person.

Also, more people that we know evaluate us, the higher scoring evaluations we like to receive. This can cause disorders such as depression, low self-esteem, and eating disorders. The International Journal of Eating Disorders did a study on 960 college students and found that “Women who spent more time on Facebook reported a higher incidence of appearance-focused behaviors and reported greater eating pathology. These women were more likely to give greater significance to receiving comments and “likes” on status updates. This craving for attention and gratification impacts their actions in a potentially unhealthy manner. They could instead commit this time to exercising or doing research on a healthy diet simply for personal satisfaction.

We must not create illusions that cause us to act in an improper, unhealthy manner. Rather, we should maintain a certain level of mental and physical wellbeing by spending time in those areas. Next time you sit down to use a social-networking site, recognize. Recognize what else you could do that may impact you positively. Do it.