Social media and technology have changed the way we do everything. Most aspects of our lives are touched by social media and technology and it keeps us connected like never before. There are great benefits to social media and technology, but have you thought about the negatives? Can social media and technology have a negative affect on our lives? Is it possible that the convenience, quickness and overload of data could be hurting us and preventing us from truly living our lives?
Can social media and technology have a negative effect on our lives?
Have you ever thought that the things meant to help you are actually hurting your productivity. We have all dealt with technology problems that consume our time and hurt our productivity. The bigger problems are the not so obvious ways technology and social media are negatively affecting our lives. Some use social media as a diversion or procrastination technique. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you play games before your work is done?
- Do you use online games or mindless internet surfing to avoid other tasks?
- Do you check for social media posts frequently?
Using social media as a diversion is not healthy. If you have a “need” to update your status or check for friends updates than it is possible that social media is negatively affecting your life.
Using social media in a unhealthy way also leads us to become physically unhealthy by prolonged times of being seated and eating more. Social media makes us a feel good. That is how we can become addicted and overuse it.
“While a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that just 5 minutes on Facebook can temporarily improve your self-esteem when you focus on close friends, here's the bad news: Enhanced self-esteem actually reduces your self-control when you make decisions, like choosing a snack, after browsing.” – Today.com
Technology and social media can actually make us feel less satisfied with our lives. While posting and updating you have a happy feeling, but reading others happy posts can cause a social media envy and leave you feeling negative about your own life. The reason is most people do not post their worst moments. Social media posts are more likely to reflect the poster in a positive light.
What are the negative effects of sharing our life via social media and technology?
Sharing our lives and pictures online is a great way to stay connected. You must be conscious of what you are sharing and what you are missing. Of course exposing personal issues is not a good thing. Sometimes it can be hard to decide what is too much information. Some good advice is to write your post and then think about it for awhile before actually posting it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I exposing too much?
- Do I want everyone to know this about me?
- Could this post be interpreted the wrong way?
Other things to consider are what you are loosing in sharing the moment. Are you trying to get the perfect picture or compose the perfect tweet to share where you are instead of enjoying the moment? Do you rely on social media to form your opinion? Are you easily swayed by reviews or others opinions? Be sure to remain yourself while on social media without overexposing yourself.
Can social media and technology change the way your brain works?
Our brains are constantly growing and constant input of data can have an effect on cognitive functions long term. There also is evidence of chemical effects on the brain related to joy, sadness and other emotions we experience while using social media and technology.
Technology and social media can also cause shorter attention spans. In the times of instant information, response and gratification, we can loose patience and become easily restless. We must slow down and learn to let go of our need for social media and technology.
You don't need to make a radical move, like disconnecting from technology and social media completely. Start by setting aside time, weekends or certain days to disconnect. Think about the long term and not the right now. Slow down and disconnect for awhile.
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