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Loneliness and the Illusion of Connection: The Role of Social Media

The work culture of the globe has shaped itself very differently in the past 5 years. Not to forget the COVID-19 pandemic has its biggest role to play here.

Work-from-home jobs were very rarely opted for by companies until the pandemic. But once it paved the way into the mainstream, we are now hooked to that pattern of work. 

Emerging from those opportunities was freelancing. Earlier people used to freelance as a part-time or side job, but today we see thousands of people as full-time freelancers.

Not only do they earn a good amount, but they also get to choose the kind of work they wish to do unlike in the corporate sector. One of the major contributors to this possibility is the social networking sites (SNS). But there is always another side to everything.

In this article, we are going to talk about the use of social media gone wrong. And how SNSs are both an asset for money making and a liability for trouble making.

The Trolling Booth

People have started using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok as a means of sharing their talents, life journeys, trauma, and creativity. But more than this, these social media platforms are used for sharing opinions.

And these opinions, in a very short period, turn into trolls. Political trolls are one of the major examples of this. News channels such as CNN and Fox witness trolling in the comment sections frequently. Research has also been done by analyzing comments on three of their social media platforms.

The research tells us about differences in the style and extent of trolling across different social media platforms. It emphasizes a fine line between the socio-technical factors that are enabling and hindering trolling.

Sometimes, we see a different kind of trolling happening between partners or friends on social media, which, in simple terms, is pulling a leg.

However, we never know how others will perceive it.

For instance, the famous couple Blake Lively and Ryan Renolds have been seen trolling each other many times. That generally could be seen on their birthdays, when getting COVID-19 vaccines, and at the time of pregnancy announcement. 

As we all know, following public personalities on social media has become extremely popular. As a result, incidents like this may persuade others to follow suit.

However, because everyone’s viewpoint is different, this can have a detrimental impact. Keep in mind that if you’re teasing someone you know on social media, you should address them first.

Excess Validation

Creators of today, especially the younger ones focus more on likes, views, and engagement rather than their content. They can go up to any extent just to garner views and likes.

This addiction to validation may lead to anxiety, depression, self-harm, and even on the verge of suicide. As per psychologists, 5-10% of Americans meet the criteria for this addiction.

It has reached such an extent that people have now started taking legal action against this impact on mental health. Multiple lawsuits like the Instagram lawsuit and Facebook lawsuit have been filed against the parent company Meta. 

These lawsuits are filed against Meta for the consequences faced by the plaintiffs. For instance, Instagram lawsuits are filed against the deteriorating mental health of teenagers. 

Likewise, social media mental health lawsuits are being filed against other platforms like Snapchat, as they are contributing to major mental health issues among youngsters. 

According to TruLaw, these cases seek compensation for children and adult users whose mental health has deteriorated as a result of their experiences on SNS. The legal fights over mental health difficulties caused by social media highlight the urgent need for industry regulation.

Distancing from the Real World

Whenever we feel socially awkward or lonely, we make social media an escape from those situations. This, in many ways, distorts our ability to create confidence and give public speeches. 

A Help Guide study revealed that excessive usage of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram increases rather than reduces feelings of loneliness. 

Furthermore, it revealed that countless selfies and deepest thoughts can lead to an unhealthy feeling of self-centeredness, isolating you from real-world friendships. It is critical to recognize that social media was created as a tool for ease of life. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can social media impact body image and eating disorders?

Social media can influence body image perceptions and contribute to the development or exacerbation of eating disorders. Exposure to idealized and unrealistic body standards can lead to negative body image, unhealthy dieting, and disordered eating behaviors. 

Are there any positive effects of social media on mental health?

While there are potential negative impacts, social media can also provide positive benefits for mental health. It can facilitate social support, provide a sense of community, and offer platforms for sharing personal experiences and raising awareness about mental health issues.

How can one maintain good mental health while using social media?

To promote good mental health while using social media, it’s important to practice mindfulness and self-care. Set usage limits, engage in offline activities, curate your social media feed to include positive content, and prioritize face-to-face interactions with friends and loved ones.

Should I completely avoid social media for better mental health?

It’s not necessary to completely avoid social media, but it’s important to develop a healthy relationship with it. Being mindful of your usage, setting boundaries, and practicing self-care can help mitigate the potential negative impacts on mental health.

It is important to understand that social media is developed as a tool for ease of life. Do not make it a survival zone for yourself. Use it wisely and healthily.

As much as it is your responsibility, developers of the apps are equally responsible for their user’s well-being. If you feel something is not right and is impacting negatively on you or anyone, do not hesitate to take legal action.

Contact a legal advisor or attorney and look at all the possible actions you can take. Responsibly accessing social media can prove to be the biggest boon for human life.

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