The internet is perhaps the greatest thing to happen to the world. The entire globe has been repeatedly referred to as a “global village” and it couldn’t be better described. You can now be virtually omnipresent and learn anything from anywhere. If the internet were a city, social media would be the park in the center of the city, the star attraction of the entire show. These platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram make it really easy and attractive to navigate through what the world is talking about. It’s however sad that the deeper our generation dives into the capability of social media, the further we’ve run from quality family time and shared experiences.
Positive Effects of Social Media
Social Media is perhaps the most important tool in digital marketing. Platforms have created affiliate programs for brands and firms to market their goods and services by fully utilizing the power of “word of Mouth” method of advertising.
Now, people can converse and exchange ideas in real time like never before. Business meetings are even held over the internet. Recently, the online schooling community has adopted social media into their systems to liven the education process. YouTube is credited for being one of the greatest sources of video-related information on the internet. You can learn virtually anything on these platforms; it’s the closest thing to being a super-hero. It’s a ticket to a world of possibilities.
You can offer marketable skills on social media and get paid for doing what you love. Family members can key into the reliability of these platforms to keep up with themselves. Facebook has a ‘create event’ function that can bring families and friends together no matter where they are.
It’s easier to keep tabs on family members that are not always around through feeds and status uploads from them. This is a good way to keep loved ones in sight –although virtually. Another awesome use of social media is to express emotions in posts and statuses. A lot of people agree that this has a relieving effect on their minds and is a great way to let go of bottled-up frustration that can lead to depression.
On some social media platforms, there are provisions made for businesses to specific their target audience and isolate them. Hence the uncommon pop-ups that you receive while surfing the net. These systems are designed to single out the needs that are particular to you and bring the service providers to fulfill them.
Negative Effects of Social Media
There seems to be endless natter about how social media damages the lives of people, especially young ones out there. But how many of these concerns are genuine?
We can all agree that we make jokes about being addicted to these platforms, and sometimes they aren’t really joking. The biggest disadvantage of social media is ironically its biggest plus- the ease of access. Right from the comfort of your room, you can have a mind-stimulating conversation with someone probably halfway across the world from you. What this does to a lot of people is make them detached from the world they actually live in.
Viewing pictures and posts of how other people live their lives every day is an unhealthy distraction and can get really addictive. Majority of the high ranking or trending posts on social media platforms are as plastic as they can come. A lot of these people aren’t as happy as they seem on screen.
Time-spent doing frivolous things on social media can be directed into better and more resourceful activities. The occasional indulgence is understandable, but so many kids are developing unhealthy life patterns around social media. You may have noticed that families are not engaged in quality interactions as they used to. It has become less of a hassle to learn things about loved ones from their daily posts that what they actually say to you. Conversations are getting shallower and lacking real emotions.
People stopped using the love in the family to measure self-worth and started relying on a number of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook. Interactions are being reduced to text and emojis. Fake happy is the new kind of happy, and that’s sad.
Kids with uncontrolled access to the internet as a whole have a higher chance of coming across harmful media. Pornographic content are shared daily on a lot of these platforms without regulations. Hackers and Internet-burglars use the information they get on the internet to infiltrate personal security and perpetrate evil. Sexual predators and other criminals have been reported to stalk victims from social media.
Relationships are suffering dearly from the exposure that social media brings. Diverse people on the internet have different views on what a relationship or marriage should look like. Nowadays, people are lacking in face-to-face social skills that make up a healthy relationship. Dating itself has become a very superficial affair. Dating sites make it super-easy to find a person that fits the shallow expectations most people have for a partner they hope to spend the rest or even some part of their lives with.
There’s a lot of people that get depressed by the majority of contents on social media. The picture-perfectness of what is considered information on social media puts subconscious pressure on people that spend time on these platforms. All of these however depend majorly on individual interpretations of these trends.
Striking the balance
It’s important to know that the ultimate deciding factor is your preference. You have to choose what you want out of your family. If you want deeper connections and more meaningful exchanges, then you should be looking to creating more time to engage them. This may involve reducing your social media presence to the most manageable.
Responsibility is the game plan. You and your family have to take responsibility for the effects that you want social media to have on you. Here are some things you can do as a family to curb the negative effects of social media:
- Plan Family Time away from the Internet: This essentially implies that you take time away with your loved ones and do something fun, outside your phones and laptops. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex that is social media. It doesn’t have to be anything super-planned –just a day at the spa would do. You can go on dinners without your phones, or just take a walk every night with your partner. These are the threads that make the real fabric of life.
- Practice Time Management: To get more done, you have to realize that there’s only so much you can do in a day. This requires a conscious effort in planning and managing the 24 hours you have in a day. A good night rest is important, plus quality time spent in exchange ideas and thoughts among loved ones. You also have to give time to things you keep saying you’ll do but never actually do anything about. One very dangerous thing that social media does is to distract you what you’re certain about with its endless library of fun things to indulge in.
- Cut down Social Media presence: I highly recommend that you stick to just one or two platforms to reach out to loved ones and do business. What this does to you is let you fully explore the usefulness of only relevant platforms. If you’re looking to learn a skill and maybe stay in touch with immediate contacts then you can limit yourself to WhatsApp and YouTube. These are just suggestions, explore and find out which combination fulfills all your current needs.
In the end, what you need to understand the most is that Social Media can be a plus to your life or it can be a bug chewing away the bond that holds your family as a unit. Begin to exercise more control over your personal time so as to know what you’re visiting these online communities for.