There is no dearth of newspaper reports that have actually gone on to compare the effect of social media on youngsters to that of drugs like cocaine, cigarettes and alcohol. However, let us clarify from the very beginning that there is no scientific evidence backing these claims. The effects of social media on youngsters are actually far from being “addictive”. In fact, it would be more appropriate to say that the degree of addiction would depend on a number of factors. Read on to unravel what exactly we mean.
Is Social Media Really “that” Harmful?
In reality – it has been maintained that the connect between social media and youngsters is much more complex than what we can actually imagine. And, why exactly are we saying that? It’s because the effect of social networking on youngsters largely varies from person to person depending on the individual personality, social surroundings and type of social media use.
It has been pointed out that media reports that did claim that the effect of social media on youngsters is as bad as that of drugs had clearly missed out on its positives as well. It has been the perfect case where the general negative effects were completely exaggerated while the positives were not even considered. There is no reason to believe these reports arbitrarily very simply because of the fact that the current practice (of blowing the negatives out of proportion and underpinning the positives) does not promote healthy social media use
What does “science” say?
Scientific experiments on the other hand have revealed that social media has both positive and negative effects. Facebook – for example- has been viewed as one of those platforms that promote self-esteem. Those who are there on this particular platform also feel a bit more connected than what others generally do.
It has also been found that social media is responsible for affecting personal well-being in a negative fashion and increasing social media anxiety as well. When around 57 scientific studies were analysed it was found that social media use could easily be connected with higher levels of narcissism.
So, one can only imagine that social media use can be associated with negatives and positives and none of them has outdone each other.
How much time are you spending on social media?
The total amount of time you spend on social media also determines its effect on you. A recent study was conducted on 120,000 UK teenagers and it was found that moderate usage does not lead to harmful effects as far as mental health is concerned. Those- who for example- use the social networking sites for around one to three hours a day reported higher well-being than those who did not use it at all or for that matter those who used it more than three hours a day.
So, when it comes to estimating the effects of social media on youngsters and deciding “activity” in accordance – you know that you have to strike the right balance between zero use and overuse.