And there you are again, before going to sleep you just can’t stop yourself from grabbing your smartphone, refreshing the news feed of your Facebook page and checking out random news, photos and videos that will pop up. What is this information that you are putting in your head? Do you really need it? Your eyes hurt, your hands are tired, and at last, after reading another random status of your “friend”, you turn your Facebook off and go to sleep.
Surely, there are occasions when social media is beneficial. You find out about interesting events in your city that you might actually attend, or you get some other information that is relevant and important indeed. However, a large majority of the stuff that you read, watch or listen to is random and of very little or no use at all.
Don’t forget, your brain processing resources are limited. For every piece of information, a little part of your brain will be occupied. At some point, there’s just too much information, and your brain has to struggle and figure out what’s important and what’s not. Most of the time it will do the job, but not always. Ultimately, essential pieces of information will get lost in the flood of random data that you gathered through your regular use of social media.
You might think that social media keeps you connected with your friends. However, in most cases, it’s the contrary. Sending a smiley and a happy birthday sign every year, or liking somebody’s photos is not what friendship is about. Nevertheless, when you do these things you feel like you interacted with that person and your need seems to be satisfied. If in a world without social media you would miss your friends and see them every now and then, in a world of social media you are always connected, so why bother, your friends are “always with you.”
Another aspect of mental health that social media affects is self-esteem. After seeing how “amazing” everybody is doing, people tend to start feeling envious, angry, depressed and anxious. It feels like there’s a competition of who’s doing better and who’s cooler. If you’ll be in the mood for watching a movie on this topic, the title is “Keeping up with the Joneses.” And for God’s sake, don’t post a photo of you watching that movie on Facebook!
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