Social media addiction
Mohammad Yasir Lone
Modern world is emerging exponentially by different technological aspects. But with the advancement in different platforms, they leave a side-effect in our global society. If we talk about the platforms like social media, it becomes a challenging step for us in defeating its addiction on our youth.
It is said that social media addiction has become a common disorder in today’s society and is thought of as a worldwide problem. According to a survey, the percentage of people feeling addicted to social media is highest at 40% among those aged 18-22 and 37% among people between 23 and 38. Then, 9% of people between the age of 39 and 54 feel they are addicted.
Everyone’s experience of using social media varies, one may use it for gathering information, news, others solely for entertainment purposes. One must recognize whether they are using it in a healthier way or they became too addicted. If it interferes with one’s daily functioning at schools, work and personal relationships, accordingly one is too much addicted. It is too early to cope with this at its initial stages, so that its intervention is a complete success.
The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr)
The social media has made our life a lot easier by making information accessible and around the globe we are connected with each other. However, this convenience does present the risk of addiction.
Initially, it may seem like harmless, fun way to connect with our colleagues, families offshore. But over time, the ubiquitous use of social media platform in our global society has shown a negative impact on human psychology.
There are conclusive evidence in many research studies that show the fact that there indeed occurs a change in the brain during the time we are online gaming, or chatting. Studies observed that increasing use of social media platform directly influences our mental balance.
The psychological consequences are among that the individual becomes disassociated with the real world. The disorder of social media addiction has been associated with both neurological and psychological characteristics like depression, anxiety and poor impulse control, loneliness and even suicidal thoughts.
Studies have also shown that the light of phones and other devices disrupts our cycle of melatonin hormone (sleeping hormone) release, which in turn can have serious impact on our overall mental health.
Despite the services of social media does provide one with, on the other side hazards are also produced if not utilized in a healthier way, as we get dopamine jolt each time when we win a game for example. This dopamine, a hormone is directly related to our psychology as we are prompt to continue our actions, similar way to an alcohol abuse as we feel happier after drinking a couple glasses of wine, we then want more and more neglecting the terms that is it remedial or injurious for us.
We can’t stop it anymore. It is said that we become so addicted to the usage of social media that we disregard the given terms of condition and thus ignore all security threats. So the issue concerned needs more research.
And be ye not those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget their own souls! Such are the rebellious transgressors! (Al Quran al Kareem ,al-hashr ,verse 19)
Islam puts a lot of emphasis on protecting oneself from any harm and on taking care of one’s physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being. We as a Muslims believe that health is one of the blessings of Allah (SWT).
As reported by Ibn-e-Abbas(RA): The Prophet (pbuh) said, “ there are two blessings which many people lose:(they are) Health and free time for doing good.’’ (Sahih al-bukhari) . The hadith reflects that many individuals don’t value health as a blessing and often get involved in activities that harm their well-being, like we have seen excessive use of social media has negative impact on mental health.
As per Islamic perspective ,the Muslims are directed to refrain spending time on social media platforms as it causes feeling of depression , jealously, envy, anxiety, loneliness and other feelings including disturbed peace of mind and well-being.
In today’s world many of us rely on the social media platforms such as facebook, Instagram, twitter, youtube to find and connect with each other. While each has its benefits, but these media platforms can never be replacement for real-world human connection.
It requires in-person contact with others to trigger the hormone that alleviate stress and make us feel positive, healthier. Ironically for a technology that’s designed to bring people close together, spending too much time engaging with social media can actually make us feel more lonely and isolated and exacerbate mental health issues such as dissatisfaction, frustration, sadness. So it may be time to re-examine our habits of using social media weather we are using it in a healthier way, or we are closely dependant on it.
Social media allows sharing moments with friends, tagging, posting on each other’s profiles but it can’t be equal to the real shared experience. It doesn’t strengthen the real social bonds. But a meaningless feeling appears over time which has its side effects.
Addiction to social media may promote inadequacy about our life styles or appearance. Viewing images on social media are manipulated; they can still make us feel insecure about how we look or what is going in our own life. And we make comparison of our own life with others who are sharing their photos or having more fun or living better lives.
This triggers us into dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety and more urge for attaining the better life style. Due to this, one can deviate from his/her straight path to the wrong one. We are engaging in risky behavior in order to gain likes, or positive reaction on social media. We play dangerous pranks, post embarrassing material, cyber bully others, or access our phone while driving or in other unsafe situation.
A 2016 university of Pennsylvania study found that reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of anxiety, depression and sleep problems. Use real substitutes for personal life for example invite a friend, take a walk, or go to the gym. These are often healthier, more effective ways to satisfy a craving.
There is no magic pill for reduction of use, but individuals are responsible for their own social media activity. Social media users can make it as a blessing, if they use it in a healthier way or curse if they get too addicted.
(The author is pursuing his master’s degree in Zoology)