We live in a time when there is an app for everything, but is there one to gauge the loneliness that seems to be spreading due to the overuse of all these apps?
Social Media Overuse
In today’s society, the young and the old have their own uses for social media applications. While the young folks might use it to make new friends, find love and stay in sync with the world, the older generation might use it to find lost friends and stay connected with family in different parts of the world.
Regardless of the use, social media does have its advantages and disadvantages. You may have noticed groups of people in restaurants, each one looking into their own phone, snapping pictures of the food and sharing Instagram stories.
Don’t you think their social experience may be more enriching if they paid more attention to each other and their food than to their social media profiles?
Linking Social Media and Loneliness
It is true that social media helps us stay connected with family and friends and the world at large, but there is another side to that reality: It is making us more disconnected from each other too.
A study shows that the number of people, in the U.S. alone, who suffer from loneliness has doubled from 20 percent in the 1980s to 40 percent in recent times.
This may not all be social media’s fault, but there does seem to be a connection between the two. We are meant to be social beings, but unfortunately, a lot of our socializing is limited to our online presence, and this can have a negative impact on our emotional well-being.
Some experts say that hours of scrolling through other people’s posts on Facebook is not necessarily a way of keeping yourself updated about your friends and family. On the contrary, many people feel dejected because their lives are not as fun as what is projected by their connections online. This dejection often leads to a detachment from these friends in real life, a feeling of insecurity and low self-esteem.
Another common problem that experts notice is that even though many people resort to posting about their emotions on social media, they are not always completely honest about it. This leaves them with pent-up emotions, which can eventually lead to emotional issues like anxiety and even depression.
How to Be More Social Without the Media?
Since social media is a relatively recent advent, it should be possible to wean ourselves away from its overuse.
Experts recommend the following tips:
Choose face-to-face time over FaceTime:
The next time you want to catch up with your best friend, choose to meet over a cup of coffee or for dinner instead of over FaceTime. This way, you get to experience actual togetherness that a digital call can never provide.
No Facebook on the weekends:
Being on a strict social media-free diet may not be possible, considering our deep involvement with it every day. But you could make specific rules, like avoiding its use on the weekends or even just on Sundays, leaving more time for your loved ones.
No phones at the dinner table:
Whether you’re meeting a friend for drinks or sitting down for dinner at home with the whole family, make sure you leave your phone out of sight. This way, your loved ones will get your complete, undivided attention for the entire time.
There are filters and special effects that can make our lives look colorful and bright for social media, but the real joy is in the tiny pleasures experienced away from the digital world.
Does Using Social Media Make You Lonely? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-apes/201801/does-using-social-media-make-you-lonely
Iyer, A. (2018, July 20). Social Media Is Making You Feel Lonely (Even If You Don’t Think It Is). Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/social-media-mental-health-does-it-make-us-more-connected-or-less