Social media is a massive part of everyday life for many people. It has become almost second nature to Generation Y, known as millennials, and Generation Z, the following one. These individuals grew up with technology for most of their lives. So it’s no wonder social media, a product of technology, has become such an integral part of it.
Because social media is such an enormous part of people’s lives, many researchers and skeptics alike are curious about how it affects humans. With no long term studies on the effects social media has on the brain, curiosity is warranted, to say the least. As for now, what do we know? Well, one thing we all know for sure, it is a distraction.
Rabbit holes of social media
Have you ever gotten stuck down the proverbial rabbit hole of social media? You check Facebook or Instagram to see what’s going on in the life of close friends, and suddenly, you notice the clock on your phone and realize you’ve been scrolling mindlessly for over an hour. It’s okay. We’ve all been there. Yet, it’s these very moments that take away from us.
As my Mom always says,
“Everything is good in moderation.”
Moderation being good is true in most cases, but especially true when it comes to habitual acts. Which is what social media has become for many people, a habit. At this point, it’s such an integral part of the human experience; it’s nearly a birthright. We check our phones the same way we brush our teeth, eat meals, and sleep. Notice anything in common with those things? We do them every day. Actually, we spend more time checking our phones than brushing our teeth, eating, and nearly as much sleeping.
Have you ever checked your phone usage? Did you notice over a week through Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat you’ve spent over seven hours combined? I have. Some people spend as much as an astounding seven hours a day. That’s almost as much as the recommended eight hours of sleep we should get, and if you’re like me, it’s probably less than that.
In my case, that’s an hour a day of just mindlessly scrolling down a screen:
There’s no productivity, no health benefits, no nothing.
In fact, several studies conducted show the same receptors which go off in our brain when we get the feeling we need to check our phones are the same ones that go off when someone has an addiction. Is this extreme? Well, not when you give it some thought. Have you walked into a store or restaurant and noticed everyone’s heads buried in their phones? You probably have, as this is a common occurrence.
Control what you can control
While social media can be a useful marketing tool, at what detriment is this usage to our natural physiology? Naturally, human beings are communicators.
“But has our drive to communicate even more across different channels taken away from our true communicativeness?”
I believe so. At the very least, social media is a distraction. It does not fuel our passions and ambitions. Instead, it takes away from them. Yes, a post on social media may be inspiring. But if you look at your overall usage, how often is your time spent reading an inspirational post in comparison to you just mindlessly scrolling? Probably not much of it.
Ultimately, social media takes us away from what we truly want to accomplish. It distracts some of us in a minimal sense and some in a greater one if we let it.
Keywords being: If we let it.
Just like any other distraction in our lives, we can control social media and our usage of it. I encourage you to unplug and take some time away from these platforms. If you’re like me, you’ll need to use them for business-related purposes, but other than that, try to reduce your consumption and spend your most valuable asset, time, on the areas of life that truly matter such as family, personal growth, and spirituality.