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The average person is almost related to a social-media platform, birthed as a cyber body part used to navigate its way through virtual life in aim to seek entertainment and reinforcement. Yet this highly plausible invention is confirming addiction amongst its users.
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The risks of using social-media is increasingly recognized as it accomplishes states of dependency. A condition termed as ‘nomophobia’, with over 66% of people in the UK appearing to be dependable on social-media in unhealthy ways according to Secure Envoy “with no signs of abating”, whilst a poll conducted for Common Sense Media reveals that “50% of teens feel that are addicted to their mobile devices”. Individuals are constantly exposed to social stimuli which synchronizes with ignored mental health including a lack of concentration, attention span, insomnia and needy usage, all resulting in a vicious circulation of inadequate feelings and helplessness.
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Dopamine overload: When using social media, individuals are in constant receiver mode of dopamine when they see new posts, and generate several likes. With dependency comes the hub of anxiety, as the depictions of an illusory lifestyle are now conducive to fulfilling self-esteem. Many individuals go through various lengths and time to master a likeable post particularly in this selfie phenomenon. The post is followed by mental reinforcement, surges of dopamine overload the pleasure center in the brain as every ‘like’ alerts the screen, augmenting the ego and rewarding the user with them gassed up feelings. The pleasure is definitely not a bad thing unless it becomes a need for a primary self-esteem boost, followed by a virtual reality becoming more tasteful than a physical one.
The issue of self-esteem is further exampled as many users may not even upload a truly meaningful post as it may or may not generate several likes to indicate a level of approval. This later results in emotional baggage that can be reflected in post self-esteem (no pun intended). It suggests that authenticity is attempted to be claimed through avenues of inauthenticity, and the need to conceal reality further reflects inadequacy and a lack of self-actualization.
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The rate of anxiety and depression in the UK have increased by somewhat 70% over the last 25 years since our tech era. Some cannot sleep. Some miss their sleep train in order to catch social media as it just does not feel right to rest. The body called rest yet the mind disagreed. In fact, people go restless, people go anxiety, people go depression, and once the idea of lacking is internalized with materially packing, people are on a mission to get what’s socially deemed fashionable, a fake ‘glow’ even if the pockets may be as empty as the realness being claimed.
Sometimes individuals tap into these apps unintentionally because it’s now formed within the subconscious; they did not intend to tap into Instagram when their phone was to hand but they did. The exposure to constant stimuli is shortcutting the brain and possibly creating the hub of anxiety. Our brains were not wired to such stimuli exposure from AM to PM. This is negative neural adaptation. Negative evolution. The modern and futuristic human could be reaching a state of underdeveloped existence. If people do not reward themselves with the social-media stimuli when they feel such needs, they may become restless, distracted and if they continuously use social-media with constant exposure, they are probably circulating those either or all feelings associated with inadequacy viciously. No doubt its intelligence brings the distance closer but as with many things, its counterpart is relevant to consider. It is important to understand that even if it does not hinder your own individuality, any user could be subject to its downfalls in some shape or form if not used effectively.
I love innovation, yet from day I did not like the idea of a virtual world becoming a part of me and this will literally be a part of us when the global cashless system comes into place. In this polarity I have love for it too as it brings the distant closer, allows me to express myself to a global audience. Yet I understand, it’s long to fully dismiss a product that we are increasingly conforming to for whatever reason. So what am I saying?
There are ways to use social media to your advantage if you are aware of how it truly advances you. Considering these conditions, I emphasize that it is more important than ever to promote the rawness of reality and this should be at the new forefront when using social media. If people did not appear false collectively, people can gradually appear authentic collectively.
What has made me to conquer my constant exposure to my smartphone is actually recognizing it and trading minutes throughout the day for being instantly present in the physical. Managing the way I use it in daily life does not affect my social life negatively, I do not feel any scarce and it can honestly feel liberating when I am not in consuming mode.
In my opinion, awareness and uploading the rawness of reality is far more appealing than being an unconscious, inauthentic, addicted consumer in a virtual world.