Nowadays, social media is a big part of our lives, but how much does it play a part in our health?
By now most of us know that social media is not the best for us, but how come many of us cannot resist the temptation to spend hours scrolling and checking for notifications?
These bad habits may not be our fault. Many of these social media networks do not have the best intentions for us. There seems to be a growth in ‘social media addiction’ since the launch of Facebook, and the sudden popularity of Instagram in recent years.
It has been made public knowledge that many social media companies hire people called ‘intention engineers’, to program our social media apps to make them more addictive, by borrowing characteristics that are present in gambling. Their main goal is to collect our personal information by rewarding us with validation such as likes, but subsequently our information is then sold off to be used in politics, advertising, and marketing.
Nevertheless, there is no reason to be shocked by this. You agreed to this in the terms and conditions – which no one ever reads.
A recent controversy involved Facebook, who had been involved in allegedly selling personal data from their users during the 2016 presidential elections. Supposedly the data helped them with how to direct propaganda to any consumer. The said rumours were squashed but still shows the Orwellian capabilities of social media.
The Role You Play
Time is another factor involved in the rise of social media addiction. Social media platforms program their sites to be addictive and one other way of sparking this addiction is making users have fragments of attention. For instance, when you are scrolling through the explore page on Instagram; a post catches your eye, you click on it, interact for a few milliseconds later then you are back on the explore page.
This constant lack of full undivided attention can leak into our real lives, making us unable to fully thrive in our work, schools and everyday tasks. This is especially concerning for the younger generation, who are the most saturated with this new technology.
Social media addiction has birthed the background hum of anxiety that many of us experience. The worry of ‘am I good enough?’ comes into play when you post a photo; this fear of judgement can leak into your real non-virtual life and cause oneself to be overly-critical of their image.
Is There A Solution?
How can we fight these addictive habits? There is the option to get off social media, but in our increasingly technological world that’s not as realistic or easy as it seems; so the only answer, is to be aware of your time spent on social media and watch out for these sneaky social media platforms.
iOS 12 recently came with the ability to limit your usage of certain apps and give you a breakdown of how much time you’re spending on your phone, showing that we are taking steps in the right direction to overcome this rising addiction.