Is Social Media Toxic?
Updated: Feb 6, 2019
Are you addicted to social media? Is your phone the last thing you see at night and the first thing you look at in the morning? According to socialmediatoday.com, the average teen spends up to nine hours a day online; that is a third of your day spent in the arguably toxic bubble of social media. Many people feel that their social-standing is defined by how manyfollowers or snapchat streaks they have. People select moments to frame, obsessed by their virtual façade and perhaps, as a consequence, lose sight of the realities of the actual world around them. Have you too become dependent on your phone?
Photoshop or filters are the sorcery which conceal reality
Scrolling not sleeping has become the norm in the digital age, where the average teen will spend more hours each day on media devices than asleep. According to the Daily Mail, 81% of smartphone users will never switch their phone off, and you are probably one of them. In fact, research suggests the average person will spend 18% of their morning eating breakfast, with 51% of this time being dedicated to internet usage. This vast time commitment to social media is not the only concern. Phone use can dramatically affect your body clock. Your phone’s blue light tricks your body into thinking it is daytime thus stopping the production of melatonin (the natural sleep-hormone).
Sleep deprivation can have a long-term impact on your health because continuous lack of sleep
leads to a weakened immune system and an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure
and diabetes. When you check social media, browse the internet or text your friends late at night,
you’re potentially damaging your health. Is scrolling through Instagram late at night worth more
than your well-being? Scientists recommend you spend at least 60-90 minutes without media devices
before going to sleep, in order to give your mind time to relax.
Social media not only impacts your physical health but can also take a considerable toll on your
mental health: teenagers are more susceptible to such problems after spending more than two hours on social media each day. Social platforms, such as Instagram, present idealised
versions of people’s lives; Photoshop or filters are the sorcery which conceal reality. Nevertheless,
vulnerable teens feel compelled to compare themselves to others and think less of their own lives.
Do you ever find yourself taking countless photos to find the one which is Instagram worthy? Do
you track how many followers you have and search frantically to see who has unfollowed you? In
2012, a team of researchers in the UK surveyed users: 53% said social media had changed their
behaviour and 51% said it caused a decline in their confidence. Healthshield.co.uk states that, in
the last 25 years, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70%, whilst hospital admissions
for teenagers with eating disorders have almost doubled in the last three years.
We are our own worst enemies. We allow social media to manipulate our self-value. We allow
ourselves to waste countless hours on a platform which makes us unhappy. If used appropriately
and rationed, social media is a remarkable platform. However, for many people, it reinforces their
insecurities. Thus, we have made social media toxic through excessive use.