1. You’re losing the ability to live in the moment.
Most people spend their time on social media by sharing moments which have impacted them in some way —moments of joy, of friendship, humour, and beauty. Ironically, by engaging with social media during these times, you will often be prone to losing the very moment you’re working so hard to document to others, whether it be by trying to put on a happy face and refine your smile for the public eye or elsewhere.
We as individuals tend to be happiest when our mind is in the present moment, not when it’s wandering off elsewhere – which naturally happens when you log in mentally to your social media.
2. You’re losing sleep.
Unfortunately many of us are guilty of choosing to wind down before bed with our phone in our hands, scrolling through social media posts from the day that has been and gone, or choosing to visit streaming sites to fall asleep with in the background.
Developmental psychologist, Stephanie Lau has expressed concerns, stating that we are using technology too close to bed time, which is affecting how well we sleep. “Being potentially addicted or using these devices too much will make you stay up late as well and stop you from getting quality sleep,” she said.
Lau recommends that people set limits on how often during the day they use social media, particularly before bed time – at least an hour prior to closing your eyes, as recommended by Lau.
Recently, a new Canadian study has warned that just one hour of social media use per day could be enough to destroy your sleeping patterns. ‘The main problem that occurs with taking your electronics to bed is the blue light they emit,’
According to Lau, ‘The blue lights of electronics sends signals to our brain telling us it is daytime. Our brains then release cortisol hormones, which then keep us in an alert, wakeful state.” she continued, ‘The combination of heightened emotions, getting distracted from the time and the blue light all work together to create disrupt sleep that can enable dullness and sluggishness in the morning,”
3. It’s addictive and self-absorbing.
Instead of deriving pleasure from your experiences and the people around you, many individual’s tend to seek it, as well as validation from their phones. Why? Your brain’s pleasure centre’s also respond positively to novelty. Novelty, which in most cases is offered by social media where a constant stream via constant new interactions, notifications, new posts, and new pictures are present at any given time. The very tool that was built to to connect you with others has now made many people globally feel isolated and obsessed over the appearance and virtual image, along with the constant flow of the comments and/or likes, and the impressions made digitally.
Instead, professionals are urging people to focus their mind on creating pleasure from other things – like real experiences. One of the most popular is no doubt travel, where you can explore a new place without relying on your device as your main source of pleasure.
4. It’s becoming harmful to relationships and friendships.
One recent study discovered that the sole presence of a personal phone while two people are talking has major negatives effects and generally interferes with their feelings of closeness, connection, and communication on a very large scale.
Naturally, we as humans will automatically mirror and mimic certain movements and create a sense of understanding toward the feelings of others – like when you cringe when you see someone fall on the street or why you feel sad when you see someone’s eyes filling with tears. By having a device present when conversing with someone else, your own ability to connect with others quickly diminishes and your focus reverts to your phone even without realising. In theory, tapping into social media is designed to connect us to others, however it can easily act as a barrier, too.