Reading between the likes: The perils of social network addiction
Social media has become an instrumental device in everyday lives. It is used to keep in contact with friends, search for jobs, download news stories, games and so much more. The devastating impact of some of technology’s most renowned sites isn’t to be taken lightly. Once upon a time, when an individual was ‘bored’, they’d escape into a book or simply complete some household chores. Nowadays they’re far more likely to access a social media account, spending countless hours clicking this way and that.
Social Media’s Dominance in Today’s Society
The dominance of this technological phenomenon has had such an impact due to its accessibility, connectivity and overall practicality. It is able to bring people together and it allows
individuals to share their lives with others, essentially promoting themselves in a world where anyone can take to the stage and become a star.
Its dominance has expanded beyond traditional social usage in recent years with many companies and organisations marketing themselves through it and their work. This extra platform opens up additional avenues which can be explored, exploited and used for massive gains in terms of business.
Like a drug, it’s able to instantly draw individuals in. It’s an addictive experience and if used in the right manner, an innocent one. The features found on social media sites allow individuals to live a good chunk of their life through them. They can chat to friends, share gossip, share work and even contact potential or existing employers. With this in mind, why would anyone want to leave the comfort of their house? Researchers have started to claim that the potential addiction to social media is stronger than addictions associated with cigarettes and alcohol.
Virtual Benefits/Loss of Reality
Perhaps the strongest benefit of being hooked into a social media site is that the individual is free of the social chains and pressures usually associated with these situations. Typing behind an interface gives the user control, a greater deal of confidence in themselves and a certain cloak to hide their insecurities.
The problem is that this pseudo-reality starts to look massively appealing when compared with real-world actuality. In reality, school-work and general work has to be done yet it’s so much easier for many to escape into their virtual, and safe, world.
An Unfit, Unbalanced Lifestyle
Essentially, an addiction to social media prevents an individual from ‘intellectual pursuits’. The individual is opting to remain safe and secure behind an avatar or a user-name as opposed to getting out into the real world, forming their own opinion. Putting out an opinion via social media and stating it outright have become two entirely different concepts.
Social media can cause negative habits. Posting stuff online, from blogs, opinions and pictures, can have a detrimental effect as it’s online, meaning anyone can access it. Passwords will not stop hackers and scams and more people fall for them every day as the comfort associated with social media grows.
The Alienating Impact of Social Media
Many people will go through what they call a ‘cull’ on their social media profiles, removing ‘friends’ who they wouldn’t call a proper friend in the real-world. This promotes the idea that many social media sites merely encourage people to link to others they know through other people.
More and more people form opinions about people based on their social media pages, their profile pictures and the stuff they write online, suggesting that the idea of friendship has become increasingly murky with the dominance of social media.
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