These days, almost every single aspect of our lives is dictated by the internet. Every year, technology makes leaps in bounds to provide more convenience for every single person.
That much is made clear when you look at the average American household. There are at least 10 different high-tech devices within the home and they’re all connected to the internet. And while technology has brought us more comfort and convenience in our lives, there are some darker and negative sides to it.
With all this technology we spend less time in the real world as we are wrapped up in the world that social media has created. And that has some steep costs. Below is a list of a handful of things that social media is doing to us all.
The Right To Never Be Forgotten
In the early 2000s there was a talk about the right to be forgotten. The idea was that if someone made a post of any kind that the recipient didn’t like, they could request authorities to remove it.
It’s a little silly because one of the aspects about the internet is that it’s massive and that there will always be talk. If you want something to get removed, there will be talk of you trying to remove that thing you wanted gone in the first place.
Social media is no different. While there are literally hundreds of thousands of posts being sent out every day, they can still get uncovered. They won’t all get lost in the noise.
Ads Are Targeted
One other aspect of the internet is targeted ads. The idea with these is that ads are more tailored to what it is you are looking at or thinking about.
Planning a vacation? You’ll see ads pointing to discounted flights.
Thinking of joining the dating scene again? You’ll get ads for dating sites left and right.
Looking for productivity tools? You’ll get pushed courses or other items to boost productivity.
While we consider these as great perks, there are other ways to interpret them. Similar to how our news feeds are tailored to our views, the fact remains that happens because complex algorithms are taking that information and are changing the system.
How you get targeted ads is the same way. Though the algorithm is turning around and selling it to advertisers instead.
You Become A Stalker
Social media has normalized a lot of things. Hate speech is one thing we’ll cover later, but one other aspect is stalking behaviour. It’s okay to admit you’ve looked at someone’s profile page and checked out what they are up to. That’s normal behaviour and is what a profile is for.
But you’re pushing the boundaries when you start checking out what they were doing last year or watching their every post like a hawk. The problem is social media makes it really easy to do this.
You Replace Real-Life Interactions
And on the note of being a stalker, too much social media can also lead to you replacing a lot of your social interactions. It’s a little ironic considering social media was designed to connect people.
And it does to a degree.
And while there are studies out there that state interacting with others through a screen or in person are the same, we can find ourselves replacing a lot of our interaction with others. This can lead to development issues in the future.
Dealing With Hackers
While the vast majority of people on social media are all about making connections and connecting with friends and such, there are others with different intentions. For hackers, their goal is to steal people’s information and use it for all kinds of things.
And once they have your information, they can do all kinds of things with it. Steal your identity, get access to your bank account. The number of possibilities is endless.
You Gain Weight
It sounds unusual, but when you have an understanding of the human body it makes sense. Remember that technology emits a lot of blue light. What blue light is – it is the light that tells our brain it’s morning or there is still light outside.
The thing is though that it’s not always morning or daylight and that we need sleep. Sleep that we won’t be getting if we’re constantly looking at the screen.
And when we lack sleep, this can lead to a variety of problems. But one side effect of it is weight gain.
Not only that, but the longer that we spend on social media the more that we’re succumbing to a sedentary lifestyle, which doesn’t work with being active.
If you’re jumping between working on a computer and checking your phone, it’s easy for a lot of us to get over eight hours of screen time each day. In other words that’s a lot of blue light that is being pushed into our eyes and it can cause strained and dry eyes.
We also experience headaches and nausea too when looking at the screen for too long.
Loss Of Empathy
Remember what we said about replacing social interaction? Well, we can start to see how interacting with people only through a virtual reality can sting. For people, showing empathy is an aspect of compassion. It is the best way for us to express that we understand what other people are going through.
Showing support for others is great and while there are some cases of it, there are many cases where people are experiencing less empathy. It is one of the sad states when social media is riddled with sad events.
Ultimately Crushes Relationships
When you have less empathy with people and more of longing to create virtual relationships, any kind of physical ones become challenging or next to impossible. If you’re always on your phone while talking to other people, that can interfere with the growth of the relationship.
The fact that you’re looking at your phone tells other people that what’s going on on social media is more important than them. You’re losing that one-on-one time every time that you go and check what’s happening on social media.
This isn’t the case between friends, but with any kind of relationship you build.
You Could Develop ADHD
Technology has its perks, but one other area that it has shortened is our attention span and our need for gratification. Today, many people desire instant gratification. If we put in effort to work, we want our results immediately or in a short period of time.
There is an entire generation and many others after it who think in this manner. And according to many researchers, they think social media is to blame. In fact, some are going as far as saying children can develop ADHD from spending too much time on here.
Not To Mention Depression Too
One other side effect to social media is depression. If you’re not going to get ADHD, you’ll probably get this deep down. People who spend over two hours on social media every day will start to feel a negative shift in their mood.
People have reported that around the 2 hour mark they start feeling anxious, irritable, or outright depressed. It’s for this reason if you’re able to cut it back to the 2 hour mark that’ll do you a lot of good. Even better if you can narrow it down to 30 minutes each day.
Are More Negative About Own Figure
One other aspect of social media is that many of us have become masters at masking ourselves. Part of that has stemmed from the fact there are many influencers on social media sporting specific looks.
Turn to Instagram and you’ll find many guys and gals with the perfectly toned bodies and flawless pictures.
Because of these posts, a lot of us have developed a culture where our value and our body is based on the amount of likes or shares our posts have gotten. As a result, more of us have become more conscious of our figure. This of course is compounded by the fact most teens are overweight and you have a generation of people who aren’t happy with their body or go as far as bullying others based on looks.
Less Self Esteem
By extension of those picture perfect posts, it can lead us to lower self esteem too. While many of us are asking for influencers and businesses to be more authentic, there is still some level of filtering.
People are only posting things that they want to share with their followers.
Pair that up with the fact people are still comparing themselves with others, you create a large group of people who are always sizing themselves up with other people. And since those posts are probably going to be way better than what you have right now, many people bash their self-esteem, rather than realize it’s all a filter.
Getting Less Done
As the saying goes “all talk, no action.” It’s easy for us to imagine ourselves in all kinds of ways. But when it comes to becoming that, it can be a challenge. Pair that up with a short attention span, many people make attempts only to give up after a while.
The same holds true to us showing support for movements. While there is merit to talking about an issue and sending out posts to support a cause, it’s important that you fight for it outside of that too.
It was only 50 years ago where marriages back then were uncommon. For many millennials today, their parents are still probably married. But the same can’t be said about the millennial generation or Gen X’s.
These days, our divorce rate is about a 50/50 chance of staying intact.
Part of the reason of the case is the rise in temptations. Again, social media has given rise for people to meet up and connect with others, and who knows, where those relationships can lead to. Of course some can be totally mutual, but for many people, it could lead to them cheating or divorcing.
Especially, in the event where the relationships have no clear boundaries.
You might not think much of it, but social media can be expensive. Of course there are all kinds of tools and resources that businesses can use on social media sites, but even for the average person it can be costly.
You’ve got the buy and sell groups on Facebook, as well as other companies pushing various products at you. Furthermore, there are thousands of boards on Pinterest giving you how-to guides for various crafts and recipes as well.
It’s easy to find yourself scrolling through these various things and either doing this yourself or paying a freelancer to do these for you. These of course are sudden expenses that most people don’t plan for.
It Invades Your Privacy
If you’re on social media, there is a good odds that your information is public knowledge by now. You are literally one search away from people seeing where you live, your phone number, and what your name is.
What’s worse is that you may be providing more information than intended. With apps and sites allowing you to post locations, people can tell where you are and whether you’re at home or not. This can lead to people breaking into your home or apartment and stealing valuables.
You’re Not Living In The Moment
Social media has pushed to the point where people want to be cataloguing everything. It’s about sharing moments of joy, life, achievements and more. And while so many of us feel the urge to capture those moments and share them with others, that actually takes away from the moment.
And over time, sharing those moments becomes less and less important. It’s important, because when you are taking a picture or a video, it takes you away from that moment. You’re not living in the moment, but rather living life through a lens.
It Can Quickly Become An Addiction
The constant desire to check our phone and see what’s happening on social media is by all definitions an addiction. As you can tell already, the implications of this addiction are far reaching. But like every other addiction, it can be difficult to break it.
Social media in general provides a means for us to communicate. There’s also push notifications and there is always a sense of delight when we notice a lot of notifications as well.
All of this works because our brain has a pleasure center that responds positively to validation and novelty. There is also dopamine, which is an addictive and feel good hormone. It’s that rush whenever we get a response from a message or when someone likes our post. It’s a rush and we want more of it.
It Sets Higher Expectations For Us
A few of the points we’ve made already hint at this one. It’s the fact that social media pushes us to have higher expectations of reality. This is one of the root causes for our instant gratification and perhaps lashing out at things that break the norm.
Overall, social media has created this reality that many believe is the world we live in when it’s really not. People filter and while some people are authentic, there are things they’re not talking about.
At the end of the day, we place ourselves with unrealistic expectations that we’re not able to accomplish. This can lead to us being dejected and depressed amongst other things.
Messes Up Sleep Schedule
Remember the blue lights we’ve talked about and how they mess up your sleep cycle? Yeah, they really do. While it does lead to weight gain as mentioned before, the long last effects is a messed up sleep schedule.
What’s worse is the fact that we’re staying up late all because we’re aimlessly scrolling through feeds and absorbing all kinds of garbage. So we wake up the next day, sleep deprived and feeling awful.
Our suggestion is if this happens a lot, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead change what you do to get to bed. Make a point of shutting off devices past a certain hour. What also helps is placing your phone out of sight or in another room. This removes the temptation to check it during the night.
Fear of missing out or FOMO is a technique that many brands have been pushing through various content. In fact, ephemeral content (i.e. Instagram Stories, Snapchat posts, etc.) captures this and pushes it hard.
What this is is that when someone sees a post of someone having fun, they want to be part of it or risk the fear of missing out. It creates feelings of sadness or anxiety and it pushes us to do rash things.
Like pay for a course that we don’t need or will stop using after a while. Or follow some program that we’ll stop using after a few weeks.
Bullying is a problem that many of us have to deal with. But now that the internet is around, bullying has also moved online and has caused more problems. The internet emboldens a lot of people and allows them to reveal who they really are with little risk of their identity being put to risk.
It leads to people getting a kick out of trolling people to outright harassing other people.
Decline In Spelling, Grammar And Writing
For some of us, we remember the time in class where we learned how to cursive write. It’s a skill that some of us have ingrained into our head, but has been put at risk for decades now that the Internet is a thing.
But one other thing that’s been on the decline is our spelling and grammar as well. Depending on when you were born, you may have grown up chatting with your friends through instant messaging.
Furthermore, if you spend a lot of your time on the internet, you may find yourself using the shorthanded style to communicate. Instead of typing out words in full, you’ll shorten the word. For example, “you” can become “u” or “for” can become “4”.
It’s convenient and for many it’s cool, but it can lead to improper spelling and grammar structure.
It’s A Huge Waste Of Time
But the biggest thing that social media does to ruin our lives is that it wastes time. The older that we get, the more we realize how valuable our time is and the more we become conscious of what we’re doing with that time.
The sad thing is for many, they can attribute their time to spending time scrolling through news feeds for hours. All for what?
A little bit of gratification and little learning and less time to do what we really want to do. Doesn’t sound all that great.