Social networks are part of our life. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have revolutionized the way we connect and are used by one in four people around the world.
Social networks have become a space in which we form and build relationships, configure our own identity, and express ourselves and know the world around us. But have we sufficiently assessed what risks it entails?
The highest incidence of the use of social networks occurs among young people between the ages of 16 and 24, a crucial period for people’s emotional and psychosocial development.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have not even completed two decades. Its birth dates back to 2000 with the appearance of the first web pages with a social purpose, among which, by the way, is LinkedIn as one of the oldest (2003).
In this context, a lot of reflection is still needed, especially about education. Today it is one of the headaches of parents and teachers, and it is also one of the tools that contribute to cyberbullying.
That is why we wanted to talk in this article about how social networks affect young people and other aspects to take into account to deal with it. Let’s go there.
The first thing we must make clear is that social networks are not bad, just like video games are not bad, as we have heard so many times.
It all depends on the use made of them. To start laying the foundations, we must analyze the effects that social media are having and how social networks are affecting health in general.
Social media is considered one of the biggest time thieves. One of the measures we recommend is to set up alerts to let us know that we have already reached our usage time limit.
Instagram, for example, has this functionality and can help us combat misuse.
Dependence is one of the first effects that have social networks. It is common to see people hooked to their mobile devices in silence when they are in the company of other friends instead of talking, laughing, playing, or dancing.
The image that tends to project on social networks, such as Instagram or Snapchat, is very far from reality. We are talking about the obsession with the cult of the body and an image of perfection that can become a pressure factor, especially in the case of teenage girls.
They influence your identity, bearing in mind that this stage is decisive in finding yourself and defining yourself as a person.
Concerning eating disorders, social networks have only favored the increase in the number of cases of bulimia and anorexia.
And lastly, they contribute to that fear of “staying out,” of acceptance, of being part of a group.
Excessive use of social networks can also cause sleep disorders, especially if the last thing you do before going to bed is to be on your mobile phone.
Also, the misuse of social networks can cause depression, anxiety, and anguish. People continuously check about what happened in their profiles on social networks.
By now, the adverse health effects of social networks are visible. We have not yet treated technological diseases, such as nomophobia, dissociative identity disorder, phubbing, etc. Other adverse effects are not less important.
Now, is everything negative? The answer is no.
Therefore, as we said, you have to make good use of social networks. Only in this way will we reduce the adverse effects and incentivize the positive ones. Yes, we have work ahead. Let’s do it!