Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.
It's no secret that technology can have negative effects on our health. But is social media driving us insane? Surveys say yes, it might be.
Global social media research revealed that as of August 2020, around 7 in 10 Americans rely on social media to connect with friends and family, consume news content, share information, and keep themselves entertained. However, is social media driving us crazy?
We've already discussed the dangers of social media in a previous article: 7 Seemingly Harmless Addictions That Can Ruin Your Life, which touched on the growing percentage of dangerously addicted social media users. In today's article, we'll dive deeper into the statistics proving that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites are affecting our health.
Is Social Media Driving Us Insane?
The American Psychological Association reported that 43 percent of people in the United States are "constant checkers," which means they go through their inboxes and social media accounts excessively throughout the day. According to numerous researchers, doing so can have adverse effects on our overall well-being.
Technology Makes People Feel Disconnected and Unhealthy
Constant checkers may be risking their mental and physical health as a result of this obsessive behavior. Those who view their phone all the time reported a stress level of 5.3 on a scale of 1 to 10, whereas the average for non-checkers is 4.4.
Furthermore, technology itself is a significant cause of stress for a number of men and women. Here's something ironic: 44 percent of constant checkers reported feeling more disconnected from their family due to technology, while another 42 percent experienced negative effects on both their mental and physical wellness.
Technology Can Cause Communication Barriers
How many of us are guilty of being in the same room as our family members, but all or most of us are on our phones instead of actually talking to each other? Would anyone be surprised if we all raised our hands?
58 percent of parents believe that their children are too attached to their smartphone or tablet. The emotional health of kids, particularly teenagers, is arguably connected to social media, and the average teen consumes about 9 hours of their day on social media platforms.
Constant Exposure to Social Media Can Lead to Suicide
Much to every parent's dismay, prolonged screen time may help promote a sedentary lifestyle, cause sleep disruptions, and make a teen's life revolve around "likes" and "shares." The latter is especially dangerous, as children who experience cyberbullying — or gained popularity online and then lost it — have an increased risk for depression and suicide.
Of course, the above statements also apply to adults, their health, and relationships.
How to Stop Social Media From Driving You Nuts
There is no denying that technology is building bridges and eliminating communication barriers. However, it can also have the opposite effect and then some.
A proactive way to avoid the negative effects of social media and technology is to manage the amount of time you spend using gadgets. Unless it's work-related or a matter of life and death, limit the amount of time you spend checking your emails and notifications to, if possible, once for less than an hour in the morning, afternoon, and evening. If you use Apple products, you can learn to use Screen Time to track your consumption, or try Android's Digital Wellbeing feature.
If you have children, start with implementing a "no-phone policy" during family time, especially when having meals together. It may also help to check in on them during bedtime, ensuring that they're not on their phone or computer.
Hopefully, these tips help you and your family have a healthier relationship with technology and with each other.