Many people these days know how to use new technology such as social media for connecting to other people. Using our PC’s, laptops, smartphones, and tablets to get in touch with our old friends or family members and meeting new people is the way to go in the digital age. With the advent of social media websites such as Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter, communicating with other people has never been this effortless.
This convenience has its advantages, but too much of anything is bad, and there are times when you go overboard in using social media. If you are tweeting or posting Facebook statuses at every step and neglecting your real-life activities as well as your own well-being, it means you’re close to being addicted. If it seems like you just can’t survive without social media, this is a cause for concern. Addiction can prevent us from living our life to the fullest and decrease our happiness in the long run.
Here are a few signs that social media is taking over your life. Stay alert and do away with them as soon as you see any of these red flags:
1. Picking fights on social media
Don’t ever think of posting a Facebook status/comment or a tweet especially when you are angry, frustrated, drunk or fatigued. This warning also applies when you’re simply an online warfreak. Remember, what you post might very well go viral in the wrong way. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll just be consumed by engaging in online fights with people you don’t personally know. It’s really a waste of time, energy, and effort at the same time. You may regret your post or comment soon, but the screenshots are irreversible.
Other than regret and wasted time, you may also get more serious repercussions from picking fights online. For instance, you might be stalked, receive hate mails or even death threats just from posting and tweeting expletive-filled tirades or politically incorrect opinions.
2. You spend more than 20 minutes a day on social media sites
There’s little doubt that most of us check our Facebook and Twitter every now and then. However, if you spend more than 20 minutes a day on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — after you wake up, before lunch, during work hours, after lunch, before dinner, and before going to sleep, when you go to the bathroom to relieve yourself — this is definitely a red flag. It’s all right to check your Facebook or Twitter, but you must make sure that it doesn’t adversely affect your schoolwork, your job, your real-life daily activities, and the real people around you who deserve more of your attention.
You don’t wish yourself to say “Not right now, I’m on Facebook” to your child, your spouse, your parents, or your friend, right? If you find yourself doing so even once, assess the situation as soon as possible or you may risk losing touch with the real people who matter to you the most.
If you’re busy checking Facebook or other social media sites too often, you may even neglect your own well-being. You skip your meals, forget to take a bath at the right time, or forget to take your medicine regularly because you cannot let go of your smartphone. If you reach this point, the best idea is probably to seek professional help as early as possible.
3. Revealing details that should have been kept private
Sometimes, many of us cannot help posting the details of our lives that should have been kept to ourselves alone. You reveal something deeply personal on your Facebook status, post racy photos of yourself on Instagram, or upload an intimate video on YouTube (which you shouldn’t have recorded it in the first place).
Remember that what you’ll post on social media can easily become viral at any moment. This holds true especially with private photos and videos, which would go to the hands of many people you don’t even know. These faceless people have the potential of ruining your life. One day, you might see a photograph of yourself, Photoshopped or otherwise, on an unsavory site. You may even get blackmailed with some of the content you’ve made public to everyone. When in doubt, staying private is the way to go.
Also Read: The real impact of Social Media
4. Too many “selfies”
Selfies have been the practice of many people since cameras were invented, even before the term was coined. You don’t need a smartphone to take a selfie, but the concept is much more common now thanks to these devices.
Ever since the arrival of smartphones and tablets equipped with front-facing cameras, the selfie has taken over social media. Instagram is among the major culprits here, with people taking selfies of themselves in potentially dangerous positions in order to get likes and shares. Selfies themselves are harmless; it’s all right to be vain once in a while or feel good about yourself. But if you take more than a hundred selfies a day, or put yourself in danger because of them, this could be a sign of desperation.
As an example, there have been instances of funeral selfies from social media fanatics. The concept of taking a selfie on the way to a funeral is quite crass in itself, but the jolly smiles, stuck-out tongues, or duck faces make it even worse. Taking selfies doesn’t stay a harmless trend in such cases, but exposes one’s seeking of short-term gratification at the expense of more important goals.
One recent study even confirmed that taking selfies obsessively could be a sign of mental illness. This disorder is called “selfitis,” a form of obsessive-compulsive desire to take selfies and then post them on social media sites. There might be many reasons behind this, including the need to compensate for a lack of self-esteem, or bridge a gap in intimacy.
Too many selfies could also get you into trouble — and a selfie done in inappropriate places and circumstances could bring about quite a bit of unwanted controversy. Some people take selfies during funerals, which disrespectful enough. One Florida high-schooler received a backlash after snapping a selfie at school while his pregnant teacher, who was at the background, was going into early contractions. A school teacher in Georgia was even fired from her job because of her nude selfies. One Alabama teen took a selfie at the Auschwitz concentration camp, site of several atrocities and mass genocide. After she posted this photo on Twitter, the resultant criticisms and backlash resulted in her going private.
Social media is a wonderful tool if you want to connect with people, ask questions, and even find jobs. It’s even useful in conducting online businesses and in reaching out to various good causes. However, anything that goes out of control can ruin your life, and so can social media if it’s abused.
It might be easy to get lost in social media and its trappings, but there are ways to prepare yourself against unpleasant situations. If someone’s completely new to social media or has kids at home, we recommend ‘The Boogeyman Exists’ as a first priority.