This is how social media is causing you more harm than you know.

There should be a day dedicated to reply to all the new year and good morning forwards one receives almost everyday in the first week of the new year. Technology is a boon for us all. There are hardly any flaws I can find with the digitization of the world. From having almost anything delivered to my doorstep to seeing someone miles away on my phone screen. From having CCTV cameras that can be installed in houses to having robots such as playmates for our kids, the technology just amazes me. There are infinite doors that have opened up for education and career. All this is just so overwhelming and wonderful. These wonders however bring along with it a whole lot of competition. The competition to outperform everything we see on social media. The uncontrollable desire to be and have almost everything we see in the Digi-world. Our children as young as 2 and 3 year olds are also smartphone savvy now and most of us parents take immense pride in showcasing our children’s’ smartphone savviness
to the world.

We are living a life that lures us with all that goes around us on social media. The number of followers, the comments from people, the likes, everything makes you feel like a celebrity for a short moment of time. Amongst the race we have against time and competition, we forget to make time for family. We judge, we compare, and we shame and get lonely.

Here are few ways to battle the social media syndrome.

Peer Pressure– I remember telling my younger sister that how she was missing out on all the fun because she didn’t have any social handle. Often the feeling of wanting to catch up with the trends of the world leads to stress and anxiety. The lesson is, that its OK to not be part of the herd.

Body Fatigue and Mental Stress– While going through the various application on social media and trying to multitask, your brain inbound to get tired. Like any other part of the body, the brain needs time to absorb and sink in the information, however, while going through multiple things on social media, the brain is unable to catch up with the speed of things, as a result, it leads to overexertion and also accounts for lack of sleep.

Social Anxiety– Have you ever looked at someone’s picture and secretly wished you were them. Have you travelled to all the destinations virtually? Self-loathed at your mundane life thinking the person on the social media is doing better. The social media definitely connects us to people far and near however sometimes makes us distant from what’s before us.

Medical- Ill effects – The rays that a phone, tablet or a laptop emits can be extremely harmful for not just your eyes but your brain too. In kids it tends to make the brain function faster than it can coordinate with eyes and hands hence making them restless and can impact their motor and cognitive skills. It can have the same effect on an adults eyes, brain etc. They say you should not use your phone 30 minutes prior to getting to bed as it procrastinates sleep.

Distraction– We often hand over the phone to our children to be able to make them stationary or in the hope that they will finish the meal of their plate. Time and again, nutritionist and studies, have asked us to refrain from this habit. A habit I’m trying hard to break. The anxiety of not checking or updating your social media account even for a day can lead to stress and distract you from the important things you wish to accomplish.

Here I am listing down few symptoms that will tell you whether you are suffering from the social media syndrome or not! The only cure is to equally engage yourself in activities that existed before the social media evolved.

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feeling low when you see other people’s images and lifestyle.
  • Envy of others people lives – wishing your life was like someone else’s.
  • Finding social media as your first and only choice of activity done for enjoyment.
  • Not having as many human conversations with your relatives and friends and feeling disconnected.To add to it, having the new syndrome called FOMO ( Fear of missing out).
  • Being unable to do anything without feeling you need to share it online.

We all need social media for some solace, advice, me time and for promoting our skills and services etc. We also need social media to tell us that, “too much use of it will adversely affect us”!

Do we, however, need social media to connect with a part of ourselves that gets constantly immersed in social media?

The pros and cons of social media are not something that can be weighed on a weighing scale. It is something that needs to be balanced. Like they say, an excess of anything is always bad. Similarly relying on social media to boost your emotional state of wellbeing is not the right choice.

I for sure will keep a watch on how many people read my post, however, I will be happier if each of us did a little reality check on our social media addiction.

There is this trick that I have begun to use, I put a timer on a small alarm clock for 20 minutes to keep my social media browsing and interaction in check. Once the alarm goes off, I make sure the gadgets are away from me for a while.

Another habit I am trying to inculcate is to pick a dictionary to look for meanings and synonyms rather than looking it up on google.

Small changes like these, will definitely help me keep my social media syndrome in check.

This great video by TEDx Talks gives you an insight into how social media syndrome impacts your mental health. Social Media Syndrome

Everyone is fighting a battle of their own, if you can’t make it easy for them, don’t make it difficult too. Appreciate, Care and Express. Love and Happiness will slowly find a way.

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