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The constant presence of digital platforms severely impacts individuals’ health conditions such as vision and sleep quality. People who develop diseases might become unable to serve society by working and might be forced to spend more money on healthcare, increasing their taxes.
Medical studies conclude that “mobile screen time before bed causes a range of poorer sleep outcomes, including shorter sleep duration, poor sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness” (Nesi 118).
Social media usage has a severe influence on the mental health of the younger generation representatives. Adolescents cannot timely recognize addictions or worsening conditions, leading them to disorders that threaten the future of society’s wellbeing. Moreover, social media’s influence on people’s brains and psychology is not well-studied yet, obstructing physicians from providing high-quality treatment.
The U.K.-based research revealed that “the adolescent participants reported that social media exposes people to bullying and trolling, and thereby negatively impacts on mental health” (O’Reilly et al. 611). Besides, scientists suggest that the studies must “develop evidence-based approaches for encouraging healthy social media use in youth, and to effectively utilize these tools for mental health screening and intervention” (Nesi 120).
Social media is addictive, and people develop habits of overusing them due to the constant demand in getting more dopamine that produces when they interact with entertaining content. All kinds of addictions severely impact society’s health and lead its members to replace important real activities with being in the digital world.
The New York Times reporter Bianca V. Brooks experimented with abandoning social media to discover how their life would change. Brooks revealed that “We feel we need as many people as possible to witness our lives, so as not to be left out of a story that is being written too fast by people much more significant than ourselves.” Moreover, Waseem and Kumar suggest that “social media can squander an individual’s time that could have been used for profitable tasks and exercises” (352).
Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter influence people’s self-perception and lead them to prioritize their “social media” personality over the real one. Furthermore, open access to others’ “perfect” lives’ images increases individuals’ desire to compare them with their circumstances and make wrong choices. When many people express themselves via artificially created scenarios, the real society would not properly develop.
Social media significantly influence individuals’ body perception, and “participants who were exposed to fit inspiration images reported greater body dissatisfaction and lower state appearance self-esteem” (Fung et al.). Besides, being aware of celebrities or successful people’s lives occasions leads to anxiety, depression, and striving to reach unrealistic goals (Fung et al.).
The modern platforms’ algorithms continuously learn about users’ habits, preferences, and socioeconomic status, and then influence their choices and opinions with personalization and advertising features. Politicians win votes, and businesses gain more consumers by reaching the targeted audiences, however, society does not win from these actions. The elected campaigns might not be the most effective, while the advertised products can be harmful to individuals’ health and the market’s competition.
The researchers suggest that “social media may create ideological “echo chambers” among like-minded friend groups, thereby increasing political polarization” (Allcott et al. 630). From an economic perspective, “billions of advertising dollars were lost to fake impressions and clicks as more and more bad actors leveraged openness as a financial opportunity” (Donovan).
Social media requires providing and collecting significant private data pieces, while there are few sustainable practices and legislation to protect it from misuse. It creates space for crimes like stealing money online, blackmailing, and identity theft, therefore negatively affecting real society’s safety.
Scientists call social media a “battlefield where we can observe different military strategies and tactics, such as deception, disinformation, propaganda, threatening opponents, mobilization of supporters, and coordination of actions” (Biały, 86).
Digital platforms led online abuse to appear and develop, leading to the threat of cyberbullying, trolling, and other mistreating actions that harm individuals’ health and society’s stability. These online did not lead to real offends, and the law does not strictly regulate them, therefore personal safety is at an increased risk of being disrupted.
“According to a report distributed by PewCenter.org, the greater part of the youngsters have progressed toward becoming casualties of the digital bulling over the past” (Akram and Kumar 352).
Constant online connection affects people’s socializing skills in real life as they lack communication skills and avoid interactions that could help improve society. Being a part of a group is vital for humans, and while they might feel they belong in the virtual space while staying physically alone can lead to developing depression.
Research revealed that “a key mechanism for effects on individual wellbeing would be if social media use crowds out face-to-face social interactions and thus deepens loneliness and depression” (Allcott, 631).
Allcott, Hunt, et al. “The Welfare Effects of Social Media.” American Economic Review, vol. 110, no. 3, 2020, pp. 629-76.
Akram, Waseem, and Rekesh Kumar. “A Study on Positive and Negative Effects of Social Media on Society.” International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering, vol. 5, no. 10, 2017, pp. 347-354.
Biały, Beata. “Social Media—From Social Exchange to Battlefield.” The Cyber Defense Review, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, 69-90. JSTOR. Web.
Brooks, Bianca Vivion. I Used to Fear Being a Nobody. Then I Left Social Media. The New York Times, 2019.
Fung, Isaac Chun-Hai, et al. “Public Health Implications of Image-Based Social Media: A Systematic Review of Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flickr.” The Permanente Journal, vol. 24, 2020.
Nesi, Jacqueline. “The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health: Challenges and Opportunities.” North Carolina Medical Journal, vol. 81, no. 2, 2020, pp. 116-121.
O’Reilly, Michelle, et al. “Is Social Media Bad for Mental Health and Wellbeing? Exploring The Perspectives of Adolescents.” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, vol. 23, no. 4, 2018, pp. 601-613.