We have heard a lot of negative things with regards to media, unfortunately some opinions may be unfounded whilst others are not. It is important to be fully aware of the consequences of media consumption in order to make informed decisions as to how to use media.
For this reason, this article is centered about the risks that daily use of media, particularly social media, may pose to the individual or on a more collective level, to society.
This is not just about technology but also about our culture. Weare so connected that it leads to less meaning in the connections. Often, our relationships are superficial if not downright fake as is often the case with social media. This distracts from living in the present and gives focus on the attention and likes one receives.
Shorter attention spans
We are also constantly being bombarded by information, our phone buzzes all the time and if it doesn’t, we compulsively check it nonetheless. We need to constantly fight to have some time in the present moment. This, paired with social media use, have been proven to have reduced our attention spans significantly.
Low self-esteem and exacerbation of mental health issues
It is daunting and exhausting to be constantly connected. Social media often poses a risk to our mental wellbeing, making people anxious about not giving enough time for their followers and friends. There is also an issue related to self-worth, self-esteem and comparing oneself to others – which may lead to issues such as depression.
Issues with development of Empathy
We know that some media hinders some aspects of development; excessive screentime, especially for toddlers, has been linked to developmental delays in some aspects including the development of empathy. This happens largely due to not spending enough time looking other people in the eye which is how empathy develops.
Risk of bullying
I say this with a pinch of salt. Bullying, unfortunately, happens everywhere. The problem in this scenario is not the use of technology per se but the bullying behaviour that is exhibited. However, the anonymity of the web has certainly given another tool to the person engaging in the bullying behaviour.
There are also other risks which we face with excessive use of media, and we certainly have to keep these in mind, especially when it comes to children. That said, there are certainly benefits as well (link for other article) and one has to make sure not to be too taken by either view of media consumption. The situation is always more complex than a list may show so with the right amount of awareness and responsible use, one can engage safely with media and technology.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Jessica Saliba Thorne is a Gestalt psychotherapist. She has experience within the mental health field and sees adults with mental health difficulties, relationship issues and trauma at Willingness.
Georgia Southern University Digital commons@georgia southern. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2189&context=etd
Ranch, I. Y. (2022, April 28). Effects of cyberbullying on social media [& how to prevent it]. Idaho Youth Ranch offers Counseling for Youth and Families in Idaho. Retrieved from, https://www.youthranch.org/blog/social-media-dangers-and-the-effects-of-cyberbullying