There is a lot of debate as to whether social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are more harmful or more helpful. There are pros and cons to everything, and living in a very connected and tech-savvy world is convenient. But is it worth the risk?
Social media can be a helpful tool for businesses and personal use. For rural and remote areas, social media can connect employees to employers and customers to products that are sold far away. It can also provide a platform for introverted and socially challenged individuals to job opportunities, education, and social events that they may not attend in person. It can even connect old friends and family that may not be in touch, or even have met, due to long distances or different lifestyles.
Social media, however, has huge faults and exposes people to large risks. Just in social media’s venue, the internet, allows for every risk that comes with being on the web. There are fraudulent sites, bogus accounts, predators of every sort, and financial scams. Aside from all of that, there can be a negative impact on self-esteem and self-worth. It can be worse than being picked on at school or in a job. Not only are you compared to your local peers, but on a global scale. A kid from rural Sullivan County will see that photo-shopped or airbrushed picture posted from a person in NYC or Paris or Singapore and think that is what they are supposed to look like or act like. A stay at home mom will see that some of her classmates are posting job promotions or perfect looking family pictures from vacations and homes looking like they are in Better Homes and Gardens. Social media exploits every insecurity and self-doubt, and third-party advertisers will jump on the opportunity to sell you what they think you need.
Almost a year ago, I gave up social media for Lent. Here are 10 things that happened to me in those 40 days:
- I realized that clicking on the Facebook and Twitter app was way too easy and I was spending too much time skimming though posts and comparing myself and family to what others were posting;
- When I stopped looking through news feeds, I stopped comparing myself to others, felt content, and just lived in the moment;
- I spent less money online shopping, probably because business like Lime Lush and Blue Chic Boutique were not showing me the latest boots or sweaters;
- I went to bed earlier and slept better through the night;
- I felt less stress and more confident, probably helping me sleep better;
- I felt more productive during the day;
- I spent more quality time with my family;
- The time I did spend online was spent wisely on websites I actually needed to visit;
- I worked out more consistently, helping me fit better in my clothes, feel more comfortable in my own skin, and have more energy.
- I saw how interesting the world around me actually is and how amazing my husband and son are as people.
Therefore, while social media has its perks and an upside, there are so many downsides and negative long-term effects. Decreases in self-confidence and esteem, increases in complaining and wishing for a better life, lack of sleep and exercise are just some of the negative effect of social media that can alter the course of a person’s life. For me, I was more content when I gave up social media. I think a break up is in my future!