It is estimated that the number of users reached 3 billion or even exceeded in the studies conducted in 2017 all over the world on the prevalence of social media. Considering these results, the way social media, which is a new communication method, affects families, relationships, individuals and children mentally, physically and socially, raises questions in the minds.
- So, while the negative aspects of social media are constantly emphasized, can there also be positive aspects? I think we should ask the question.
- Otherwise, shouldn’t social media used by such a large mass of the world’s population be banned by all countries of the world?
Let’s bring together some studies done by some research institutions and academics in our country and in some other countries, and take a look at the answers to these questions. Let’s first look at the positive aspects of social media and then examine the aspects that affect us negatively.
The Spiritual Benefits of Social Media
- Provides a sense of belonging:Everyone wants to adapt to some extent, so a friend or relative replying to the post you created on your own social media account or receiving likes for the post gives you the feeling that you are accepted by your friends or close circle.
- Finding role models makes it easier: Some posts on social media are made up of people’s interests. Getting suggestions or inspiration through social media with people you can connect with people close to your interests and accept as idols are some of the easiest activities to do.
- Increases confidence:In a study carried out by Valenzuela, Park and Kee abroad, it was stated that facebook, one of the social media networks, increased the trust of users because detailed information could be obtained through contacts with people and the uncertainty about people’s intentions and behaviors was reduced.
- It reduces the feeling of loneliness:In a study conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, it was stated that the feeling of loneliness that people experience decreases because they can interact one-on-one on social media (ie, receiving instant comments and writing messages).
- It makes us happy: Despite all the talk about the increased risk of depression as a result of heavy use of social media, a study by University of Missouri psychologists found that social media makes us feel better. It was observed that test subjects who actively participated in the study experienced a physiological response indicating an increase in happiness, but this increased happiness disappeared when the interaction decreased, that is, when they switched to just passively browsing.
Positive Effects on Physical Health
- It can positively affect people’s physical health by:More than 40 percent of Social Media users stated that they gained positive health habits as a result of the information they read on social media.
- Improves health through smartphone apps : It allows you to get help with exercise, diet and weight, thanks to the applications you can get with the smartphone you use. You can also provide additional support from other users, thanks to the social features of some applications.
- Increases the quality of health services:In some studies abroad, 60 percent of doctors think that the quality of care they provide has improved because of social media.
Positive Effect on Relationships
- It helps you connect and connect with people:Social media can be considered positive in this respect, as it makes it easier to find people and rekindle friendships.
Although we have mentioned some of the positive features above, unfortunately, depending on the intensity of social media use, it can have serious negative effects on both mental and physical health.
Psychological Problems That May Occur As A Result Of Social Media Exposure
- Increases feelings of inadequacy:Some of the social media users compare themselves with other users and feel inadequate because of the people or situations they cannot reach or reach.
- Some users may show signs of social anhedonia: A University of Missouri study found that some subjects experienced a state of reduced interest in the outside world, known as social anhedonia, a condition in which you no longer find pleasure in activities you would normally enjoy, including interacting with others. It is stated that people who experience this situation have fewer friends and share fewer photos on social media.
- Increases the risk of addiction: Checking cell phones or social media accounts triggers addictive areas of the brain. Because users get a “high” experience. Over time, even the brain structures of technology users can change. They may experience emotional withdrawal, withdrawal symptoms, and inability to focus.
- Anxiety can cause:Social media users, FOMO “fear of missing out on what’s going on” They can live it. Every moment, every minute, you think that something is going on somewhere and you have a serious anxiety that you are unaware of all this. Unfortunately, this is one of the inconveniences caused by the introduction of social media into our lives. This is exactly where people feel or think that others are making fun of them and say that they should take a quick look at social media because of it.
- Affects sleep:The desire to text late or browse social media sites can cause you to experience sleep disorders, stress, and even depression.
- It consumes energy to produce something new : In our country, Assoc. In a study by Vehbi Bayhan, it is seen that the ability to produce something new is more especially in young people when the internet and social media were not widespread yet. However, with the widespread use of the internet and social media, people are starting to use materials created or produced by others. This naturally reduces productivity.
Negative Effects on Physical Health
- inactivity encouragesAccording to the National Institutes of Health, heavy use of social media and smartphones can lead to serious health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, blood pressure problems, respiratory problems, neck pain and cancer.
- Increases obesity: You may think, or even believe, that it would be a good idea to do the same as a result of a social media favorite of your friend or a celebrity you consider to be your idol gaining weight. For this reason, heavy use of social media can cause damage to your perception of acceptability.
- Eating disorders lead to: Studies have revealed that women who use social media a lot have more problems with their body image, and as a result, they tend to have eating disorder behaviors more. These women may be inclined to get “likes” and compare comments on their posts with their purely bodily appearance.
Negative Effects on Relationships
- May cause destructive and negative arguments : In a study, 25 percent of couples state that they receive disturbing messages on social media and therefore they experience relationship problems. The same study also states that 8 percent of couples argue because their partner or partner spends a long time online.
- It can cause feelings of jealousy:Couples who use social media heavily may show jealousy seeing an opposite-sex (girlfriend or boyfriend) connection in a partner’s personal space, which can damage the relationship.
- Couples may have trouble finding topics to talk about: If couples use social media around the clock, they may not find anything new to share when communicating with each other. Therefore, after a while, their communication may weaken and they may experience relationship problems.
- Decreases empathy: Since virtual communication methods are constantly used, face-to-face communication becomes limited and a gradual decrease in the level of empathy of individuals is observed. As a result, people are no longer able to truly react to real-life problems that affect others.
Although the use of social media has positive aspects, as can be seen, serious negative effects have been revealed as a result of research if not taken into account. If you are experiencing the negative psychological effects I mentioned as a result of the heavy use of social media, it may be useful to seek professional support.