The Consequences of Social Media

We have discussed in great detail how social media is beneficial to you, but now you need to know how social media affects your audience, because as a health organization, you should probably care about your audience’s health.

Social media, of course, is a way for people to connect with one another. I have friends on Facebook that I have barely talked to in real life, yet they “like” everything I say and do. Is this constant connection with friends, family and barely-friends a good thing? And why should you health organization care about this?

 

social-media-graphic

(Photo from http://www.thenewdaily.com)

 

Addiction

The first consequence is social media addiction. According to Medical News Today, “Recent statistics show that 63% of American Facebook users log on to the site daily, while 40% of users log on multiple times a day.”

We all have our reasons for using social media. We like the compliments, we like looking at other people and what they’re doing, and mostly because we’re bored. Nevertheless, a lot of people are using social media and spending a lot of time on it.

So many people experience Facebook addiction that there’s even a way to measure it now. That’s crazy! It seems that those who are often in need of a self-esteem boost have stronger addictions. But why is this addiction a problem?

Social media addiction creates anxiety within people. They feel like they have to be checking their social media accounts constantly so that they aren’t missing out or making anyone feel ignored. This is especially true nowadays for teenagers. According to The Guardian, they are literally losing sleep over the addiction. Not okay!

 

social-media-addiction-infographic

(Infographic from http://www.blog.twmg.com)

 

Mental Health

Mental health can be affected by social media. Medical News Today says that people compare themselves to their friends on social media. When these friends are showing off their great accomplishments, it can make others feel poorly about themselves. Also, hardly anyone ever posts about the negative moments in their lives, and when people do, we accuse them of oversharing or looking for attention. Time says we present the perfect version of ourselves on social media.

With everyone trying to put on a happy face and hide the bad things in our lives, it can leave people feeling depressed and anxious. All people see is a bunch of happy people while they may be suffering in silence.

Eating disorders are fueled through social media as well, according to USA Today. If you search #thinsogram #thighgap or #bonespo, you’ll find disturbing images of extremely thin men and women, encouraging others to follow their advice. Social media is a platform for those with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa to encourage each other in a negative way, offering tips to help them lose more weight and words of encouragement such as “skip dinner, be thinner.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 9.23.00 AM

(Photo from http://www.reasonwhy.es)

Narcissism

Getting a “like” feels great. We can all admit that. But what is that doing to us and to our relationships?

Social media causes shallow relationships, such as those barely-friends I discussed earlier. Why do we keep them on our pages? Probably because they increase our number of likes. I know, I’m judging myself here too. Psychology Today says that sometimes we even expect these likes or comments without even looking at other people’s updates. Makes you want to reconsider your social media habits, doesn’t it?

People are also ignoring their real life to get the attention they crave online. Do you have that one friend that can never get off their phone when you hang out? Try giving them a bunch of compliments. You may find that they start responding to you more.

 

Why your health organization should care

You may be thinking “how on Earth does this affect me?” Well as a health organization, you should care! People are being encouraged to participate in unhealthy eating behaviors, getting depressed and anxious, ruining their own relationships and becoming so addicted that they literally cannot function without checking their social media accounts. You should absolutely care, and you should do what you can to prevent it, especially since you’re self-promoting over the very thing that causes all these problems.

Men’s Health on many occasions has reminded its audience of the negative side effects of social media. Even sharing an article can help. Be sure to show your audience that you genuinely care about them. Social media affects them and no matter what your health organization is, your audience can experience these effects.

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 3.22.37 PM

(screenshot of Men’s Health Facebook page)

 

 

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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