Actualizado: 19 feb
Nowadays, social media is a double-edged sword. Like never before, we can be connected with our families and loved ones at the distance of just one click, but at the same time, this new digital world inside our phones is taking us out of the real world. This article will discuss all the pros and cons of social media and offer you tips to get the best out of it.
It is easy to spend 9 hours on our phones. Thanks to apps like “Screen Time”, on the iPhone, we can track how much time we spend on our devices. The Generation X and Z, spend most of those hours on social apps such as: Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.
Social media works as a regular drug, bringing us excitement, new emotions, and new incentives in a way that boredom is no longer acceptable and rare. We are constantly seeing something new. In the past, being bored was the beginning of new and revolutionary ideas, now we don’t have time to be bored. Day by day, social media is inserting us into a new world through a screen in such a way that the real, slow and normal day is too boring to be in there.
Values such as friendship are losing significance. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in 2017 that loneliness was becoming a global epidemic, just like other transmissible diseases. The lack of socialization areas for humans is constructing an atomic society, made of isolated individuals who lack natural social relations.
Pornography addiction, regrettably, is higher than ever. Social media, video games and video channels offer easy access to the pleasurable sexual fantasies that beat real sex. In the same way, the digital beauty standard requires perfection, and a perfect lifestyle is indispensable too. Unfortunately, the real sex, beauty and life is everything but perfect.
Our brain receives an unnatural and excessive amount of dopamine because of the digital incentives. The General Social survey launched revealing results in 2022: 26% of Americans over 18 years, have not had sex in about 12 months, and the cause wasn’t the coronavirus pandemic, because the decrease was growing before. The broadcast channel, in an article related with the survey expressed: “Put simply, there are now many more choices of things to do in the late evening than there once were and fewer opportunities to initiate sexual activity if both partners are engrossed in social media, electronic gaming or binge-watching. While social media and internet sites should in theory make it easier for Americans to find sexual partners, the use of mobile technology could interfere with the satisfaction garnered from in-person interaction”.
Besides the greatest benefits of social media, such as connectivity around the world, more access to education, easy commerce and more possibilities for entrepreneurs, we are having side effects. The depression and false expectations that social media are inserting in the minds of the new generations are costing us the highest rates of suicides.
Pew Research reveals in a 2017 study of 8th to 12th graders that high levels of depressive symptoms increased by 33% between 2010 and 2015 because of social networking consumption. The suicide rate for girls in this age group increased by 65%. Among those who said that the social media influence is negative, the survey found that the reasons are: harms relationships, unrealistic views of others´ lives, distractions or addictions, peer pressure or bullying, and causes mental health issues.
But do we really need social media? According to my personal interviews for this article, more than 75% of people under 30 years, answered “yes”. We need to have social media to have a part in a world, for social or professional reasons. So, if social media is that important nowadays, how can we get the best of it without the worst effects?
Get the best and not the worst: use social media for your own goals
In the last couple years, I completely reduced my social media use. However, I recognize that this place in the internet world is valuable to share the stories that I need to tell. So, no matter all the negative experiences that I had in the past, I started researching different authors who wrote about productivity and social media effects. Finally, I harvested easy and rational tips that will help us to get the best of those platforms that broaden us to a new world full of possibilities.
Pick a time and goal to use social media
You need a purpose, the social media systems want your time, every advertisement and algorithm desires to hold you because they will make monetary gains, more and more money. And for you, your time needs to have the same value. We must determine how many hours we want to spend on social media, when and for what reasons. Do you want to make a post to promote your business? Or maybe you just want to catch up with your friends? Do it and be honest with yourself.
Don’t bring your social media to places where you would not bring your friends (or work)
Will you talk with your boss in the restroom? Probably not, so why are you answering emails in the restroom? Select a safe place for your social media usage.
Pick the most valuable apps and accounts for you (delete the rest)
All that you need is the apps or spaces that add value to your goals. You don’t need to follow 10k accounts to be inspired for your next project, select the most valuable accounts. In the same way, you can reduce the social media apps that you have, invest time searching where your audience is so you can work intelligently and reach your goals.
And do not procrastinate!
A great commandment for a good use of social media is to not waste time. If you have a couple of hours, invest them in other tasks that you have pending, or in that sport that you always wanted to try but you never did. You can do so many things, but don’t scroll your screen without a reason.
Our time is so valuable. Don't believe it? Try to do a plank for 1 minute and tell me how long is one second. We must make every hour of our life count. In a world where everyone is talking, with so many distractions, we need to reevaluate boredom as a nest of great ideas, and increase our human relationships (Yes! Give someone a hug today), and reconnect ourselves with the daily and imperfect but real world outside our screen, because it’s what we have (and it’s beautiful).