Since everything we use or need is getting an ‘e’ before their nouns, it is obvious for the youngsters to overlook the setbacks it is causing in their lives. Technology and social media have taken a toll on our lives and we have become a part of the system. People are superficially connected on social media, navigating a virtual life and shutting their eyes to the real world, people and issues.
‘Excessive use of social media and its negative effects‘ might seem to be a mainstream topic now, but the pandemic has brought the problem at it’s worst. Social media in the realms of interpersonal interaction is becoming a show window for youth, bragging about their well being and the luxuries they have, to satisfy their self-esteem. Since everything we use or need is getting an ‘e’ before their nouns, it is obvious for the youngsters to overlook the setbacks it is causing in their lives. One such example is low self-esteem. They are becoming socially awkward, clumsy and taciturn. It is not an issue of the introverts but of the ambiverts and extroverts who were once fine with the social-physical world and confident but now feel gawky and gauche. They may seem like the extroverted loud bunch on social media but in person they are growing into introverts. They know what to talk to a strange person on chat but draw a blank during a face to face encounter with their acquaintances and even some friends. They are trying to be social on social media but are actually forgetting to socialize in real life.
The social presence of people has become more important than their physical presence and it sums up the concern in a nutshell. People have thousands of friends on Facebook but have no idea about the people living next door. They know what their online friends had for breakfast but are totally unaware of the major issues their real life friends might be facing or struggling with. During get-togethers, they are more about clicking snaps and updating their statuses on the virtual world rather than enjoying the event. They show off the pseudo merry and try to escape the actual and real-life issues. Moreover, in many cases it grants people the confidence to speak or write anything outrageous, fabricated or bogus on social media without being questioned and does not even make them liable to answer whereas the same person might not even say anything in the first place if it were in front of an actual physical gathering of friends or people. Furthermore, the habit of scrolling aimlessly through social media makes one less sensitive towards the external world and more towards the virtual one.
The repercussions are not limited to the aforementioned facts. It has many other bleak outcomes. Excessive use of social networking can cause unhappiness and general dissatisfaction with life. It promotes negative experiences and thoughts such as inadequacy about ones life or appearance which increases the risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression thus giving birth to the lethal feelings like loneliness, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts.
It fosters the most common crime of the modern epoch, cyber crime. According to a report, in 2017 alone, Indians were duped of approximately 18 billion U.S. dollars due to cyber crime, which increased by over 100% in the upcoming year. It does not stop there. There are innumerable cases of cyber bullying and even some fatal consequences. Furthermore, it gives young children the exposure to content that is not age appropriate and can guide them to infelicitous paths and leave them in trauma for the rest of their lives. As young students can easily get influenced and distracted, it leads them to create biased and prejudiced views about people or issues they hardly have any knowledge of.
People are superficially connected on social media, navigating a virtual life and shutting their eyes to the real world, people and issues. Social media has taken a toll on our lives and we have become a part of the system. We use it as a tool for our self-esteem with ‘likes’ as its fuel. People are turned into likes, comments are treated as subjects. Their blatherings are looked as vents of frustration. The fire within them gets satiated when few likes pour in and few hearts are dished out on their posts. It is high time that we consider the constant use of social media as a pernicious exercise and understand the ‘glitch’ it is causing in our physical lives.
Sara Mirza is a student pursuing French Literature from Aligarh Muslim University.
Edited by: Varda Ahmad
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Jamia Review or its members.