The Debilitating Effects of Social Media

The Debilitating Effects of Social Media

Facebook and other social media platforms have come under close scrutiny in recent months and years. In addition to the concerns about their ability (or lack thereof) to ensure user privacy, many professionals have begun to question the health ramifications of continued social media use. The problem, in the main, is that social media is a relatively new phenomenon. After all, social media only achieved widespread prominence in the past decade-and-a-half, and studies have only just begun to examine the role social media plays in our lives and how it affects us on a physiological level. However, there is some compelling evidence to suggest that social media is more trouble than it’s worth.

Social Media Fast Facts

  • Roughly 3.5 billion people are active social media users –– and the average user has more than seven accounts.
  • Five million Facebook accounts belong to children under the age of 10.
  • There are more than 200 billion tweets in a given year.
  • Women are slightly more likely to use social media more than men.
  • The average time spent on social media is over two hours a day.

Social Media Health Risks 

Social media is a powerful tool and it can influence people in ways they might not even comprehend. Indeed, according to one study, a negative post by a single person influenced around 1.3 negative posts by others. And another found that individuals who have seven or more social media platforms were three times as likely as those using fewer platforms to experience symptoms of anxiety.

In addition, professionals have found correlations between increased stress, loneliness, depression, other negative emotions/conditions, and heavy social media use.

What’s more, Americans spend a majority of their waking hours (up to 11 hours per day) interacting with some form of electronic media –– computers, TVs, and/mobile devices. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the attention span of the average person has dipped below that of the goldfish. Worryingly, frequent media use has also been tied to sedentary activity, which is a massive contributor to issues like obesity.

Lastly, social media tends to distract people at work. The average professional may spend up to a quarter of their day on social media platforms. And the loss of productivity can be difficult for businesses to replace. (Note, design firms like Key Interiors can help business owners design offices that eliminate or significantly reduce distractions.)  

The Bottom Line

Just how detrimental social media may prove for frequent users may not be known for years into the future. That may be the most frightening element of the rise of social media –– the fact that we don’t know what a lifetime of Facebook will do to a person’s psyche.