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Social networking refers to a multitude of websites that let the people from across the globe to get in touch with each other and interact through photos, videos discussions or audio. To name a few, Facebook tops the list by having over 1.2 billion active users monthly from across the world, followed by Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
As per the latest statistics, around 42% of populace online at one time, is using social networking sites either on their laptops or mobiles. Majority of this population is below 30 years of age, whereas the figure is changing for internet users aged 65 years and above. People use these sites to stay in touch with family and friends, to share things, express their views on matters and to find out what's happening in the other corner of the world.
But this usage can have many negative effects on the mental health and well-being of users both children and adults.
- It is addictive: It has been analyzed that these social networking sites are often addictive with people using them daily or even several times during a day. They log in to these sites for many reasons like to overcome boredom, distraction, to check their likes and comments which are usually a positive support after posting a status or information.
- It makes us do unfair comparisons: Various posts on social media at times make people compare their lives with others. And it is said, the grass is always greener on the other side, it makes you feel low thinking how idealized are the lives of people connected to you.
- Social media makes us restless: Many people start feeling restless when they are unable to access their social media accounts.
- Cyberbullying: Social media increases cyberbullying specifically in adolescents.
- Increased use of Alcohol: Social media glamorizes the use of drugs and alcohol since the teenagers often view the pictures of people using it and out of peer pressure would like to try them.
- Social media increases unhappiness: Enthusiastic users feel that social media fluctuates their moods also leaving them dissatisfied in their lives.
- FOMO: It might also lead to FOMO, fear of missing out. Pinterest might give you a feeling that you are not creative or talented, Twitter and Facebook might make you feel that you are not smart and are not enjoying your life enough.
Excess of social networking might also lead to problems like anxiety, feeling of imperfection, may induce a feeling of being miserable or in some cases might even cripple the basic need for social interaction. It has been known to create a digital landscape has exerts an unnecessary and increased pressure on the generation today and the general population has to a larger extent.