Do you have access to the internet? What usually do you do when you are connected to the internet? The first workable prototype of the Internet came in the late 1960s with the creation of ARPANET, no one might have imagined from that time that the internet will change the entire shape of the human world. Now, there are 4.1 billion internet users in the world as of December 2018. This is compared to 3.9 billion internet users in mid-2018 and about 3.7 billion internet users in late 2017. Asia has the most users of all continents which occupies 49 percent of all internet users. Well, with the revolution of the internet there is also a revolution of social media. What exactly is social media? According to Issues in Information Systems Vol. 15, Social media is the collective of online communication channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration. Websites and applications dedicated to forums, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking, social curation, and wikis are among the different types of social media. The most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and others. The latest survey from the Smart Insight shows that over 3 billion people are using social media and the number increases every year. Every second 11 new people use social media for the first time. You know, what happens on social media in every sixty-second? Around 70,00,000 hours of videos are watched on YouTube, more than 2,43,000 photos are uploaded on Facebook, more than 3,50,000 tweets are sent on Twitter, more than 6,50,000 photos are uploaded on Instagram, more than 2,10,000 Snaps are uploaded on Snapchat, more than 29 million messages are processed shared on Messenger and WhatsApp, more than 20,00,000 minutes of calls are done by Skype users. Most of the social media users are teenagers and adults and from mobile devices. Ninety-six percent of online American teens watch videos on YouTube, 74% American adults log in to Facebook daily and 88% of Facebook users are logging in via mobile devices. In the case of Nepal (according to StatCounter) 95.17% of people are using Facebook, 1.52% are using Twitter and millions of watch hours on YouTube are from Nepal.
The bigger is social media the biggest is the problem caused by social media. There is a deep vast negative impact of social media upon people. Social media is creating a direct and indirect impact on the life of people especially in the life of the young modern generation. Youths are the central victim of social media. Social media is becoming an important part of the life of the young generation that is inseparable. That is why there is, along with some positive effects, negative impacts of social media.
Social media causes depression, anxiety and decreased productivity. If any person spends more than two hours per day on social media sites, then these sites could be adversely affecting your mood. People can’t focus on the thing that they have to do. They cannot concentrate on their creative part of life. They are just ruining their mental and physical health if they use excessive time on social media. Wasting time is a bad thing, using social media causes you to spend more time that is why social media is a bad thing. Chatting hours and hours, watching videos that are not related to you, browsing Facebook and other’s timeline without any purpose, checking mobile constantly, counting likes on social media, checking notifications, again and again, uploading unnecessary stuffs on groups and profiles all these decrease your productivity. You waste your whole valuable time. I generally see my friends online more than 12 hours per day. What exactly are they doing online? People don’t chat when they physically meet, they just wave hand and leave but on messaging platform, they do chat the whole night. Students cannot prepare enough for their academic courses because of the bad habit of using social media. People are becoming more virtual rather than physical. While visiting the garden people forget to enjoy the beauty of nature rather they make themselves busy on their mobile phones. They don’t care what is going in their society, they just wait to see notification of what is going on in groups and on their virtual timeline. Even housewives cannot properly take care of their children and family.
Social media can be addictive the same as cigarettes and alcohol. If people feel pain or hurt they open social media and write a post, or get engaged in other activities the same as taking cigarettes or drinking alcohol after getting hurt. People can’t stay without using social media. Two of three people said that they can’t stay for a week without logging in to their social media account. Whether it is necessary or unnecessary they log in. They can’t stop themselves from checking their favorite social sites. Recently data consumption has been increased in a higher percentage because of the increase in the use of social media. Almost every Nepalese adult has their smartphone. They utilize mobile phones not only to make calls, but they use it more to take selfies to share as well as watch videos and to chat with known and unknown people. Let me share my personal experience of using social media. During the period of my Master’s final exam preparation, I tried to stay away from such social media particularly Facebook. Watching funny videos, viewing other people’s photos and involving myself in unnecessary political and nonpolitical topics and by chatting without any important task; all these drew my important time and distracted from deep reading-learning activities. I tried a lot but couldn’t control, I recurrently opened Facebook as If I’ve missed something important. I couldn’t focus myself. I literally threw my mobile on rage and crashed it but still, I couldn’t distance myself from Facebook. I realized that I’ve been addicted to Facebook. Reasons behind my weak performances on various task whether it is an exam or on my creative field, it is Facebook. I can’t read a book with a full focus just for an hour, I need to take a break but in the case of using Facebook or YouTube, I can spend several hours without any break. This is the addiction to Social Media.
A false sense of connection creates a major problem created by social media. Since the inception of social media, there’s been an increase in less real-life conversations. More people are building relationships online and drifting away from the real world. The more we post, comment and like, the more we feel closer to other people (whether or not we know them in person). I want to ask when was the last time you had a real chat with your neighbor? This false connection leads to the cybercrime and cyberbullying. While social media made it easier to make friends, it also made it easier for predators to find victims. The anonymity that social networks provide can be used by the perpetrators to gain people’s trust and then terrorize them in front of their peers. These online attacks often leave deep mental scars and even drive people to suicide in some cases. This is another dark effect of social media. Before social media, bullying was something only done face-to-face. However, now, someone can be bullied online anonymously. For example, you have sent some nasty images to friends via chat but he openly shares it with the public. You make private videos with your wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend but someone without your permission leaks it and uploads it on social media. Some write bad comments, send offensive contents in inbox directly and indirectly which is mean to harass you via social media, which means you are being a victim of cyberbullying.
There was news in Kantipur on Srwawan 11, 2074 that an anonymous boy pretends to love two girls from Rukum. The boy asks both the girls to come to India, thought to be in love, both of them go to India to meet him. Later they realize that they have been victim of girl-trafficking. But they have rescued by Maiti Nepal. According to Maiti Nepal, more than 40 girls in a year of girls have been sent to India by using social media. This is another part of cybercrime.
Through various scandals, the private life of celebrities and common people are being viral on social media. Social media is becoming a platform for such scandals to send to millions of people at once. This tendency ruins other people’s lives, these types of dark activities on social media lead any people up to suicide. Some send a fake letter with a claim of winning tons of money in the lottery and ask for pre-installment to get it. If some other convince to send a nude picture in the inbox, but later he does blackmail with that picture. Some creates a fake profile of other people and uploads negative photos/status. All of these are examples of cybercrime. Cybercrimes are increasing day by day in recent times all because of social media. I think, in the case of Nepal cyberbullying and cybercrime are major problems.
Another problem caused by social media is FOMO which stands for Fear of Mission Out. Fear of Mission out is a phenomenon that was born at the same time as Facebook. The more you use social networks, the more likely you are to see that someone is having more fun than you are right now. And that’s exactly what causes FOMO.
On top of increased rates of anxiety and depression, spending too much time on social media can lead to poor sleep. Numerous studies have shown that increased use of social media harms your sleep quality. The blue light coming from mobile phones causes harm to your natural sleep pattern. Have you ever wondered how you can stay waked up the whole night using a mobile phone? it is because of the blue light that prevents your eye from sleeping. This is the bad effect of using social media that can cause physical problems.
Social media is also affecting people’s privacy. Sharing photos, checking in different sites, sharing locations, attending events, updating personal interests and information, these things can be accessed by other people and at the same time Social Media company. Have you ever wondered how they can show you ads based on your interest? If you are using social media then there is nothing private, what you type, what you search, what types of photos you upload, which products you search most, what’s your profession, your face ID, your internet uses pattern, your bank details, your location, your voice pitch; everything is stored by social media sites like Google and Facebook. Recently one collected data using an in-built second party app and sold millions of data to Analytica. Analytica confessed that they used that data on the presidential election of America.
Other side effects are caused by social media. An HP Lab’s computer scientist’s study revealed that more users are influenced to change their way of thinking based on the majority rule – their online circle. Peer pressure continues to be an influence on a lot of users, this is a negative trait that disallows a person’s idea or implement of thought, as they fear criticism, their self-esteem is lowered. Often, more couples fall victim to jealousy or breakup, from online occurring posts. For instance, a partner is caught keeping up with their ex in conversations. Social media is not a platform for sensitive people, as a lot of negative content can be posted. Social media can also modify your appetite. A study from Women’s Health reveals, more people tend to feel hungry after they’ve viewed a couple of ItsFoodPorn images online. A photo of a mega-food plate can trigger a part of the brain to compel observers to overeat. Social media never presents someone as they are, people use AI and VR powered cameras that can beautify your face. People often post images on social media which are edited and selected. So, there is always a gap between people in reality and people in social media. On Instagram its called Insta-Lie, it means, for example, there might be a problem between husband and wife but they don’t post their reality, instead, they post photos that show them as a happy couple. People create fake personality, they come as double standard life in social media.
Fake news is another major problem. Social media can be used to mislead other people. Generally, people trust the online news portal without checking its fact. Anyone can be a journalist on social media, they can share any news, facts, information which has no ground at all; this spreads false information to hundreds of people. It is said that the reason behind Hilary Clinton’s defeat in the presidential election of America is fake news regarding her email propaganda. If media is against you, in modern-day, you are sure to be ruined. They have now the power to make someone God and Devil at the same time. All because of their hold on social media.
There are many positive impacts of social media, like one can get instant information, social media helps us to be connected with friends, family, and other distant people. We can practice democracy on social media. We can raise voice. Social media has provided a voice to voiceless people. People are being more updated regarding national and international issues. It is because of social media whole world is turning into a tiny village. People can even earn, run their business, promote their product, get feedback from people, get connected with customers and many others. A site like YouTube is performing as an educational site with millions of educational videos. As with everything else, social media brings both good and bad things into our lives. At the end of the day, you’re the one who decides whether there’s more help or harm in it for you. We must be aware. We must censor ourselves. We must use social sites in a balanced term. If we can control our privacy and many other things we can be safe from the bad effects of social media.
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