The Emotional Toll of Social Media
Everyone loves to feel involved and wanted. We thrive on the attention and feeling of acceptance that we receive from others.
BY: Angela Guzman
How many times do you log onto Facebook or Twitter each day? Are the friends you have on Facebook, your “real” friends – are they on your yearly Christmas card distribution list? Do you book or tweet every monumental moment or post personal information about your life? Bets are that you’re guilty of at least one.
Everyone loves to feel involved and wanted. We thrive on the attention and feeling of acceptance that we receive from others. So we post pictures of our child’s first Halloween or Christmas and post our happy birthday and congratulatory messages on each other’s walls; however when is it too much?
Many social media users say that they feel a sense of inadequacy because they subconsciously compare themselves to the people that show up in their streams. Reports from various journals reveal that many people accept and request people as friends because they want to know what’s going on in their lives; however they would never say hello to them in public and probably do not even have their phone number to call them. Many psychiatrists and doctors believe that if you do not speak to a person in “real” life, then you shouldn’t accept their friendship online because it is a false reality.
In addition, most people do not put up the good and bad on their social media outlets. Therefore, these outlets are portraying an idealistic image that doesn’t really exist. Friends of friends of friends are comparing themselves to false standards and cookie cutter ideals that are not at all the reality of what goes on behind closed doors.
Mental experts believe that outlets like Facebook and Twitter increase stress and anxiety for users. Doctors are now coining terms such as social media anxiety, social networking anxiety and Facebook depression.
Furthermore, social media has opened another realm of issues for children. The Journal of Pediatrics reports that 22% of teens log onto their favorite social media site ten or more times a day. Today’s youth is at a higher risk of cyber bullying which leads to depression, anxiety, isolation and even suicide. Children, utilizing social media, are receiving a false sense of connection; they are too young to understand the truth behind social media.
Too much information is divulged on Facebook and Twitter. Users must keep in mind the potential posts and images they may be tagged in if they use social media. Many employers check-out potential candidates via internet before interviewing or hiring. Also, users must remember that it is not healthy to live their lives strictly via social media. Communication should not only be done via Facebook, Twitter, IM (instant messaging) and emails. The reality is if you chose to only communicate only in those outlets, then you will be socially stunted when you have to speak in public or interact with other individuals in real life settings.
While social media is a great way for people to stay in contact, despite long distances, it is also a source of unneeded stress and anxiety that no one really needs. Challenge yourself – delete friends who are not part of your reality, use your cell phone to have a phone conversation versus a texting conversation, instead of sharing a milestone in your life – opt to keep it private. Then evaluate your life and overall happiness.