Social media is the internet-based communication platform to connect people around the globe. It helps to exchange, socialize and interact faster and easier. Since the world has digitally transformed, social platforms became a core part of our lives.
According to Statista published in July 2020, 4.57 billion out of 7 billion people in the world were actively using the internet which is 59% of the total population and an average of 8.2% growth rate per year.
The data clearly shows that the use of the internet is growing at a fast pace and people mostly perform their activities online. According to 2020 report, over 3.5 billion users worldwide are registered with social-media based websites.
Karos reports that the 86% users ages between 18 to 29; 77% users at the ages of 32 to 49; 51% users ages between 50 to 65; and 34% users ages from 65 + years old are engaged on Facebook and other online platforms which show similar facts as well.
In 2020, people spend minimum of 2.5 hours daily on social media. It will be the same or more cases in 2021, 2022 and beyond. No matter where we live on earth, virtual community offers incredible opportunities for people to be able to succeed in their lives. At the same time, mostly young people can easily be exposed to unhealthy situations, making them more vulnerable to be abused and exploited.
The survey has shown that users who use social media excessively, have increased feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness and are more vulnerable to sleep problems, suicide, eating concerns and social risk. Excessive usage of social media could have linked to relationship problems, poor or worse academic achievement and less participation in offline communities.
On average, youngsters spend five hours a day which could lead to become addicted to social platforms. Children’s who are at the age of two and as young as five have been victimized of cyberbullying and harmful online materials. Social media addiction is a mental health problem that may require professional treatment.
Without having a strong family support, young people might have experienced childhood trauma which could be more susceptible on their mental health to the negative impacts of social media. According to surveys, it might not have directly linked to impact young generation at a higher risk.
The main purpose of being part of social media is to expand personal network from one to many people. It lets you connect, share, and explorer ideas in a good ways and bad ways. Once you are online, you may be pinged and attracted to many things. Ordinary online users have a little or no knowledge about how to handle social media safely and securely.
In the end, “Friends” may not actually be friends in real world; “online relationship” might destroy your real life; and “online carriers” could become barriers on your future progress. Always think twice before you click while using social platforms.
– Author : Prof. Dr. Ramhari Subedi