Prof. Minda Chuska
ENG- 101- I01
Effects of Social Media Addiction
Social networking has become ingrained in people’s lives that they don’t realize the amount of time spent scrolling digital feeds, videos, and photos through social media platforms. In recent years, social media usage has hit a new high, given the rise in digital communication. Reliable studies also indicate that most people, especially youths, spend at least two hours daily scrolling down social media pages. Notably, with over 2.5 billion social media users, addiction is becoming a major problem in the sector. Bullions of adults and teenagers explore Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among other prominent social media platforms. However, the dark side of social media use is unavoidable as more users register daily, and addiction continues to be an unsolved problem. Although social networking is an efficient approach to communicating and accessing news feeds, addiction has imminent detrimental effects, including, depression, low self-esteem, poor job performance, underdeveloped social interaction abilities, and online bullies.
Depression is one of the inevitable effects of social media addiction. Various studies have affirmed the correlation between addiction and depressive symptoms. A systemic assessment of 11 different surveys indicated a greater correlation among media dependence and depressive systems among children. Another meta-analysis of 23 surveys depicted a greater connection between Facebook addiction and depression. According to a survey by the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenagers easily form bonds online, but have limited education to control their emotions (Keles et al. 81). Therefore, prolonged negative emotional expressions trigger mental complications ranging from depression to psychological disorders. Social media users frequently gauge themselves with other users to explore their opinions and capabilities. Such comparisons deepen on addiction leading to depressive symptoms, mainly in adolescents compared to children and adults.
Low esteem is another imminent challenge of prolonged social networking. There is a comparative aspect in social media platforms that triggers low self-esteem among users. Most users can admit that seeing their friends’ posts engaging in tropical vacations and perfectly raising their kids is a major challenge on their side. Such impacts can only be less considerate when a social media user experience them once. However, social media addiction prolongs the effects leading to overall low self-esteem to the user. An article published in Forbes Magazine indicated that the magnitude of events occurring on Facebook alone is a breeding ground for jealousy and ultimate low self-esteem. Besides, the article indicated that jealousy emerges as a vicious cycle that not only prolongs low-self-esteem, but also triggers depression among users feeling undervalued (Walton). Ideally, it is envy in social media addiction that leads to low self-esteem among users.
Job performance can be extremely affected by social media addiction. Apart from addictive behaviors, including pathological gambling, social media addiction is highly connected to poor job performance. Researchers argue that Internet addiction increases depression and stress that are more likely to be reflected at work. On the other hand, in workplaces with less-strict social media policies, employees tend to dedicate more time and energy to browsing their social media pages. Eventually, they dedicate less commensurate efforts to the daily assigned activities. An immediate result is poor worker productivity that increases with social media addiction. Similarly, social media addiction creates burnout, stress, and mood fluctuations among different employees. Such emotional reactions deplete their energy and constructive resources at work. Another study involving 326 full-tie workers established an undesirable link between addiction and job performance and another correlation among social media concentration and work burnout (Zivnuska et al. 754). Indeed, social media addiction is degrading work performance in environments without strict social media policies.
Social media addiction leads to stunted social interaction abilities among the users. Excess social networking is detrimental to children and adolescents, given that their cognitive and social skills are still growing. Significant research reveals that individuals who habitually use social media platforms are more likely to exhibit inhibited social interaction ability at their tender age. Although the young users interact online, the interrelations are not replicated in real lives. Such users feel that their friends or followers in social networking platforms are closer than real friends (Robinson et al. 2). Eventually, such users depict worsened social anxiety symptoms, adverse body image, and low empathy and compassion during social interaction.
Numerous cases of online bullying have emerged from social media addiction. Social media users, especially youths, always compete for attention on their posts. Consequently, they are likely to post more videos or photos to receive feedback from their followers. Such attention-seeking behaviors have created a foundation for name-calling and the spread of misappropriate information. According to research, teenage girls addicted to social networking frequently post images or videos of themselves, settings grounds for online bullying. Apart from face-to-face bullying through live videos, several teenage girls have been bullied by distributing explicit pictures of themselves (Robinson et al. 2). Such abuse increases risks for mental complications and, in extreme cases, triggers suicidal thoughts.
Social media addiction has established a foundation for harmful consequences among social media users. While social networking enhances easy and quick flow of information, its addiction increases depressive symptoms among users. Besides, frequent posts on social media by friends lowers other users’ self-esteem. Social media addiction creates stress and burnout in the workplace, reducing employees’ time, energy, and attention on their daily tasks. Moreover, spending more time on social networking reduces social interaction skills, especially among youths. Finally, users, including adolescents and minors, are highly susceptible to online bullying. Indeed, social media is the new communication wave, although it has damaging impacts on addicted users.
Keles, Betul et al. “A Systematic Review: The Influence of Social Media on Depression, Anxiety and Psychological Distress in Adolescents.” International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, vol. 25, no. 1, 2019, pp. 79-93. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/02673843.2019.1590851.
Robinson, Anthony et al. “Social Comparisons, Social Media Addiction, and Social Interaction: An Examination of Specific Social Media Behaviors Related to Major Depressive Disorder in a Millennial Population.” Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, vol. 24, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1-14. Wiley, doi:10.1111/jabr.12158.
Walton, Alice. “6 Ways Social Media Affects Our Mental Health”. Forbes Magazine, 2017, https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/?sh=119e32792e5a.
Zivnuska, Suzanne et al. “Social Media Addiction and Social Media Reactions: The Implications for Job Performance.” The Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 159, no. 6, 2019, pp. 746-760. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/00224545.2019.1578725.
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