Aaron Lemoine
Nov 14, 2018 · 8 min read

Social Media Is Making Us More Insular As Humans

By: Aaron Lemoine

Date: November 14th, 2018

Social media is one of the most powerful tools we have in the World right now. It’s become the number one way to communicate with people from around the World. We use and rely on social media as a tool for many different aspects and reasons of our lives. Ranging from personal reasonings, work life, and others. We use these networks to keep us close with friends, endorse in business, or develop news faster.

But social media can also have many negative effects on us and the things around us. With the rise of social media consistently gaining popularity by the millions daily, society has never been so connected through technology. Social media has grown to become apart of daily life. It’s grown to keep everyone connected in a sense that nobody is truly to far. Consistently scrolling through feeds, and posting content has become an everyday trend to us as people. Such a common trend that instead of turning on our everyday conventional sources, we have learnt a way to curve around mainstream news sources and instead, learn from the people around us about things we are wanting to know. We sacrifice our time, well-being, and mental health when we put in as much time into our online lives as we generally do.

And even though we know that that’s what we are sacrificing we still find ourselves locked to our phones every day. When social media plays such an important role to our everyday life, it has to negatively affect us in some way. When we ask ourselves if our obsession with social media makes us more insular then humans we have to almost assume that it’s a fact.

“The pace of change is accelerating. For example, the development of mobile technology has played an important role in shaping the impact of social media. Across the globe, mobile devices dominate in terms of total minutes spent online. This puts the means to connect anywhere, at any time on any device in everyone’s hands.”

When we overuse and get attached to our activity on social media, it negatively affects our human connection, mental health, and our self-esteem. It’s become so habitual to the everyday human life that it’s been hard to identify it as an issue in which we as people begin to change. This is when we should choose to look at social media as a significant problem for all of us.

Three billion people, around 40% of the world’s population, use online social media — and we’re spending an average of two hours every day sharing, liking, tweeting and updating on these platforms, according to some reports. That breaks down to around half a million tweets and Snapchat photos shared every minute.” In the new generation, having to read the paper or turn on CNN for news is now considered out of date. For some reason we choose to not trust the mainstream news outlets. Having access to media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram that gives us the ability to digest news that is happening around the World, defeats the purpose of the main media news outlets that are on television like Fox or CNN. This is what has made the slow starting trend where we believe or take in news from people like us rather then the verified news networks that we learn through like Fox or CNN. This is a very odd point in time because society generally chooses to trust the small networks of news we retain through the non-credible sources that are given to us on social media. We learn to only pay attention to news from people like us. We ignore the mainstream media outlets and put ourselves in a World where news can be easily accessed through the device in our pockets.

“Many mental health professionals are deeply concerned about the impact that social media has on mental health. Some believe that the constant distraction of social media contributes to shortened attention spans. In addition, many people who regularly use platforms like Facebook or Twitter report high levels of stress.” It can be easily assumed that for many, social media can negatively affect your mental health. How often do we find ourselves feeling lost or with a small sense of anxiety when we don’t get a chance to look at our phones or scroll through feeds? Social media has become an addiction for us. It’s such a frequent occurrence to take your phone out of your pocket to check your feeds, and see something that makes you unhappy.

An article/video from Global News’ Matt Bottachio heavily examines how using social media affects our health, Bottaccio interviews many Canadian professors and psychologists. What stuck out the most was when Brad Hagen, a psychologist that was interviewed added; “Quite a few people who come to see me who have anxiety and depression, many of them talk about their online use and social media use and how they sort of feel compelled to use it,” said Hagen, who works at Associates’ Counseling Services. “But afterwards they actually feel more lonely, or more depressed, or more anxious.” Hagen believes these feelings may come from social comparison.”

Think of the amount of times where we go about our days and after one check of the phone, seeing something or reading something we don’t like, and feeling like the rest of our day was ruined just like that. This is why it’s more important to live in the moment we live in. Because a lot of the time, our phones and some of the information we process through social media depresses us. The social media era starts with the teens. Teens constantly focusing on the non-important aspects of social media like how many likes we get, having fake friends that we perceive as real, comparing ourselves to the people we see on the screen, and lastly is cyberbullying. This is all a problem for us as young adults because once the real World starts for these kids all of these different characteristics that tie in with social media are meaningless. It’s what is in front of you in the moment that is most important, not what is locked under the screen.

via Ilna Club

Can we make assumptions that there are many people out there that make decisions or choices to gain likes? How often do we see people doing things “for the like”. It’s very common to change who we are over the web. Many people have completely different personalities in person as they portray how they really are over the internet. Social media gives us these unrealistic expectations that we form over the internet. When we only see the good of people over the internet, we never allow ourselves to see the bad. So this is when the real life expectations are generally a lot different compared to there online expectations that we repetitively see. And this is when we tend to compare ourselves to each other. “Though many teens know that their peers share only their highlight reels on social media, it’s very difficult to avoid making comparisons. Everything from physical appearance to life circumstances to perceived successes and failures are under a microscope on social media.” We tend to make note of the contrasts between a perfectly presented life and the life that we currently live in. Comparisons of others tend to lower our self-esteem, which then increases the risk and severity of depressive, and anxiety symptoms which will then host other unhealthy feelings and behaviours that may affect us.

How often do we see ourselves out of the moment we live in because of how constantly glued to our phones we get. We catch ourselves trying to capture the most perfect image possible instead of viewing and taking in the experience from our own minds perspective. “There’s a new meme circulating on Twitter that reminds us of a simpler, more wholesome time before we were glued to the tiny computers in our pockets.

“Not a cell phone in sight. Just living in the moment. Absolutely beautiful, wish we could go back,” the meme says. People began sharing photos of people living in the moment, with no cell phones in sight. One person shared one of the many fights on Jersey Shore, where there really was no cell phone in sight. Just the infamous duck phone.” Although this new meme can be considered humorous to everyone, we as people need to take in the fact that were behind our phones way too much. We need to go back to the more simpler days where we were actually enjoying the moments we are living in, with not a cell phone in sight, just being people that are living in the moment.

via Know Your Meme

Everyone has to be in front of a screen at some point of the day. When we tend to use our phones more often, we slightly lose that face to face connection we have with other people. In order to have good social interaction skills we need to engage in as much face to face interactions as we can to help build our social skills. When we turn to our cell phones and interact more online then we do in person is when our skills start to slowly decline. And this is evident to the up and coming generations that technology is destroying how we socially act and communicate to each other when were together. Right now we live in a time when people sit down for dinner and they lose their connection because they can’t stay off of there phones. It’s such a regular thing for people to be sitting together both on their cellphones and be completely content with how there real face to face interaction is going. Where as we used to see it as a way of ignoring and being rude to someone, we now see it as being normal. And this is a huge issue to the society that we are currently living in because the original idea of how we began using social media is slowly starting to change and become a part of our lifestyles, and change how we act.

What we as people need to focus on during these times where technology begins to take over is to make sure we focus on the lives we are living in. Social media is meant to drag our attention spans, society needs to not get drawn too far into the technology age. Personally, I think social media does have negative effects on people and society. But we need to consider that not all individual people can be negatively affected, I think it really depends on the extent as to how people use their social media. Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains,” wrote, “The net is designed to be an interruption system, a machine geared to dividing attention.” Society as a whole has to come to the conclusions that, as the rapid growth and improvement of social media and technology begins to take over, we can’t waive the screens away from our faces anymore. It’s become apart of all of our lives in some certain way, so make the most out of the life you have with your own two eyes versus the screen that continues to give you what you want. Why do we have to live lives where what comes up on our screens matters more then what is actually in front of us? Social media has become a beautiful tool for us, but what’s in front of us in life is something much more important then what is delivered to us over the screen every time we pull our phones out of our pockets.

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