How social media affects people’s lives?

This question was asked on the site and the results were impressive- 92% of people consider that social media has an impact on their lives. They comment that people “use it more instead of socializing with people in front of them” and “online everybody wants to be that estrange model and to be the coolest, most successful person on their newsfeed.” But why exactly do we act differently on social platforms like Facebook? And moreover, how does it how affect our mental health and well-being?

To begin with, all of us play many various roles, and behave differently in different social settings. Of course, that doesn’t mean that one of these roles is “true” while the others are false, instead we see different aspects of the same person in different situations. For example, a man acts a certain way while he is home- he is a loving and caring dad, and probably calm. On the other hand, at the office he is a completely different person- serious, professional and always in a hurry. “Most of the time people are behaving in ways that are natural for them, under the given circumstances.” However, sometimes people are not 100% honest in their Facebook posts. They usually post positive messages and photos where they are smiling and this creates the fake feeling that they are happy all the time. An interesting research from Utah reveals that users who didn’t know their Facebook friends face-to-face believed that “others had better lives” which led to lower self-esteem. In comparison, people who communicate with their relatives or close friends are known to have an elevated self-esteem according to Wilcox and Stephen’s study.

Social media impacts especially on lives of teenagers. “The adoption of the mobile phone by young people has been a global phenomenon in recent years. It is now an integral part of adolescents’ daily lives and is for the majority, the most popular form of electronic communication. In fact, the mobile phone has turned from a technological tool to a social tool.” states Marilyn Campbell in her article The impact of the mobile phone on young people’s social life. The article was published in 2005. Now, 10 years later it is proved that 60% of 13 to 19-year-olds admit to being “highly addicted” to their iPhones. Social media’s main advantage is that it unites people from different backgrounds, schools, countries. Everything could be found on the Internet: useful and not so useful information. As follows: imagine that a 13 year-old kid makes a Facebook account. Yes, it will be awesome because he will be able to communicate with his schoolmates but also, he will be exposed to the entire inappropriate content people share on their ‘walls’. Not only bad language but pornographic content as well. So after spending a few minutes evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of social media, which are more?

And why do we leave all task to our phones and computers. It’s not that it’s hard to do it b ourselves , it’s just that we have become so addicted to our devices that we don’t even consider the option of us doing things alone. Would you say that it is complicated to go to your friend’s house and enjoy a good old-fashioned conversation. Is it complicated to walk 5 minutes to the supermarket and do the shopping or calculate 12×23 by urselves. Of course not. But despite that we prefer our phone or computer to do. Not because it hard, just because it is one click away.

This post will have no conclusion. Instead, I will quote Gary Turk and let you answer the question for yourself:

“Are we a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people?’’



Connected, but alone?

In 2011 Sherry Turkle, who has done research on psychoanalysis and human-technology interaction published the book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.  In it she suggests that “we’re getting used to a new way of being alone together. We are designing technologies that will give us the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” How technologies and social media have changed the way we interact with friends? How do we tend to find friends? And are all of the 500 people we have on our Facebook friend list really our friends?

Yes, technology’s main purpose is to unite humans but turns out that in fact it makes us feel lonelier. Years ago people used to find friends in school, university, their workplace or simply on the street. Today, apps like JoinU, Skout and Meetup exist. These new technologies help people to connect with random people located nearby. Of course, the most common way of finding new companions is Facebook. Almost everyone has an account and it is extremely easy to approach someone. All you have to do is send a friend request or a message. Like every other communication, after a while people become close to each other even if they’ve never met in real life and consider each other friends. One by one people pile up hundreds of new contacts and in the end they don’t really make a difference between a real and an online friend. Interacting in social media can cause problems for adolescent who need to develop face-to-face relationships, for instance. We live in times when children aged 6 possess an iPhone, tablet and/or a computer. They find it hard to communicate with other kids in real life because they prefer to spend their time on the phone or chatting online. Another way in which technology puts obstacles in conversing with mates is when they have finally met and everybody is on their phones non-stop. Seems like teenagers are scared to talk face-to-face because there is no edit button; they cannot delete what they’ve said. While online they can present the self that they want to be- pretty, intelligent, generally better than what they really are. There is a huge amount of videos talking about the overuse of phones. I decided to showcase this one, it is called “Look up” and has over 50 million views on Youtube. In my opinion the video presents life very accurately and will make every person stop for a minute and think. My favorite part is when he says:

“When you’re too busy looking down, you don’t see the chances you miss. So don’t get into life where you follow the hype, give people your love, don’t give them your like. Look up from your phone, shut down those displays, live life the real way.”

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