Excessive use of social media | By Dr Ibad Ullah Sajid

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Excessive use of social media

IT is an old proverb that excess of everything is bad but sometimes excess of some certain things or practices can be more dangerous and one has to pay heavily for that.

Excessive use of social media can do the same with the users. It is true that social media provides the people with a range of benefits and helps them strengthen their relationships but its excessive use can lead towards serious repercussions.

The article in hand is an endeavour to draw attention towards health-related outcomes of excessive use of social media.

According to the modern medical science, health is defined as a condition having absolute physical, mental and social well-being. It is not about merely the absence of disease or infirmity in the human body.

In this perspective, it can be understood that disease or illness is not just a physical disorder in human body but it is combination of physical, psychological and social factors affecting health.

The modern medical science named this as bio-psycho-social model of health. If someone claims that overuse of social media can affect one’s health negatively in all three prospects as social, psychological and physical, it would not be wrong.

Social media overuse can gradually affect the user psychologically, socially and physically as well.

This process may be very slow and steady but eventually it has potential enough to create severe health issues.

Excessive use of social media is actually a behavioural addiction and it may be equally hazardous to health similar to drug or substance addiction.

As a substance addicted person assures himself with every dose that he will surely get rid of this soon; similarly a social media addicted also believes that he will definitely avoid its overuse in future.

But if truth be told, both types of addicted persons rarely do so. As there are no defined rules to create a distinction between the moderate and excessive use of social media but actually it is not so tricky to differentiate.

Minimally, if you feel restlessness and irritability whenever not using social media and you can’t resist yourself to use it during important tasks like study, office working, taking meal, driving or during family time, you have been addicted to it.

Likewise, if you check the notifications repeatedly to see and count the comments, likes, shares and followers, you have been addicted and this condition can affect you psychologically.

Using social media excessively may cause psychological distress, mood swings, isolation, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Excessive social media user often experiences fear of missing out. This is a psychological condition wherein you start thinking that all your friends are living luxurious lives and having a great time by travelling, eating, having meetings with friends but you are missing out all this.

This condition may further have some severe adverse consequences leading towards mental and physical health issues.

Excessive use of social media can also spoil one’s social life. Excessive users may have feelings of superiority or inferiority complex and these feelings ultimately affect personal relations as well as social life.

Feeling of being superior to others usually arises because the social media friends rarely criticize the posts rather they always admire the same without determining the quality of the post and this admiration sometimes turns into the feelings of superiority complex.

Such users upload their selfies, pictures and videos along with fascinating posts about themselves and believe that their friends want to see all about him.

Conversely, sometimes social media users may have feelings of overwhelmed or inferiority complex by seeing and comparing the unrealistic lifestyle and fake beauty of social media world with their own real life.

This unhealthy comparison increases the feeling of being inferior and having miserable life. Social media often develops a false sense of intimacy and connection in its users with the social media friends and eventually the users start ignoring their real relations which ultimately disrupt their real relationships.

If your close relations especially parents, siblings, wife and children are unhappy with your inclination towards social media, it is an indication that social media is affecting your family relations.

An excessive social media user can also have serious physical health implications. Watching device constantly for hours can disturb the vision and eyes.

Long sittings especially after taking meal may cause of stomach complications and many other health issues.

Irregular sleep pattern may cause insomnia, a sleep disorder. An excessive user can hardly spare time for healthy activities like walk, exercise, physical games, prayers, reading books and spending time with friends and family which have sooner or later bad affects on health.

In a nutshell, it is true that adverse affects of social media are all too real for a lot of us so it is very important to beware that how can a harmless hobby seemingly turn into an addiction.

If you realize that overuse of social media is having a negative impact on your life, stop using it immediately and go with a better plan.

—The writer is PhD (Medical Social Work) Social Welfare Officer, Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal Department, Rawalpindi

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