From kittens whimsically playing musical instruments to dazzling models falling down the runway, the internet, specifically social media, has provided us with enough entertainment to last us a lifetime. What a time to be alive!
But as much as we would love them to be all rainbows and sunshine, to every advantage, there is a disadvantage.
Here are 7 unexpected problems that weren’t a problem until the smartphone era.
1. Videos of Horrifically graphic violence and deaths
We’ve all received that broadcast video. The one whose contents you’re unaware of until you open it. You just sit there, frozen staring at the thick burgundy of deoxygenated blood splattered on hot earth. You can’t stop hearing the piercing, loud screams of the unassuming victims, and the loud bang of police brutality. Hours later and you definitely can’t stop picturing the horror.
Good intentions and awareness of global issues or not, if those Facebook videos of human wickedness are too graphic for adults, it definitely shouldn’t be witnessed by a child. Just imagine the psychological damage that could cause. Kinda makes you wanna go back to the good ol’ days doesn’t it?
2. Dissatisfaction and general Unhappiness
Along with its benefits, social media came with a load of pressure to be like everyone else. To do things because others are doing them. We are only happy until we put the phone down. This is worse for children and teens growing up in this world as it can lead to depression when they cannot meet up to the expectations social media creates.
3. Depression or even suicide from Cyberbullying
A 2018 research (Ventriglio & Bhugra, 2017) showed that the indiscriminate use of social media such as trolling is harmful to children of all ages. It stresses their self-image and esteem.
There will always be bullies, which we know, but at least when we were younger, our bullies had to say what they felt to our faces. Now, any coward can hide behind a screen and create hate pages on Facebook or troll on twitter.
Back in the day we at least knew that the insults and hate wouldn’t follow us home, but what can our kids say, the cyberbullying never stops in a connected world. Many a teen has committed suicide as a result.
4. Sleep Deprivation
From memory consolidation to cell regeneration, scientists have told us the many benefits of sleep. They tell us that adolescents and teens need 9-10 hours of sleep – children even more.
When our kids don’t get enough sleep, it can cause memory problems, depression, a weakened immune system and increased pain perception.
5. Reduced concentration
For children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), heavy social media use can only be disadvantageous because the numerous brilliant videos, exciting games and millions of shiny apps will keep them occupied for hours allowing them little attention – if any – for much else.
6. Increased consumption of unhealthy foods
Your youngling is innocently surfing social media, he/she comes across a video that displays a greasy, hot, savoury, tasty burger or that spicy fire Cheetos ad.
Because those companies spend millions in ensuring that their product ads make you crave it, he/she is significantly more likely to consume those unhealthy foods and drinks. This, according to a 2018 research. (Baldwin, Freeman, & Kelly, 2018)
7. The Dreaded Fear of missing out
The fear of missing out – or FOMO – as the kids call it is a real phenomenon that plagues thousands of young ones and even adults! This social anxiety disorder causes an overwhelming need to be constantly online for fear of missing out on something amazing or interesting or fun.
8 years ago, this wasn’t a real thing. But now, Psychological research shows that almost 3 out of four teens experience this social anxiety disorder. It has even been added as a word to the Oxford English Dictionary’s lexicon.
Sure social media has tons of benefits, from thought-provoking content to yelping laughter brought about by original comedic content, to millions of diverse and insurmountable information at our fingertips, is it really worth it if we are losing our peace of mind and sanity?