We know you don’t want to hear this but trust us, social media can be bad for you. We’re not just talking about how absently scrolling through your feed can lead you off the edge of a cliff or into oncoming traffic. It runs deeper than that. Social media can wear you out mentally, encourage unhealthy habits, and threaten your security. Here are 4—just 4—of the reasons why social media is a scourge in the digital world.
It’s stressing you out. The pressure of having to keep up with all your friends 24/7 can stimulate an increase in cortisol, the stress hormone. This state of disorientation can give you short-term memory loss or lead to depression. Ma. Teresa Gustilo-Villasor, PhD of Allied Mental Health and Lovie Hope O. Go-Chu, M.D., Chief of Makati Medical Center Section of Psychiatry acknowledge links between social media use and increased incidence of mental health issues. “Indeed, increased social media use has been associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and psychological distress, particularly in children, adolescents, and young adults,” the experts explain.
And even if you haven’t noticed a spike in your stress levels, being on social media has also been shown to mess with your sleep patterns. Many people spend 1 to 2 hours browsing their social media accounts on their phones before going to bed—that’s less hours of catching some valuable zzzs!
It’s messing with your self-image. Seeing everyone curate the best of their lives online can really weigh down on you. For starters, it could trigger a sense of dissatisfaction. Comparing everyone’s beautiful, filtered posts to your own life can make you feel inadequate. Dr. Gustilo-Villasor and Dr. Go-Chu add that irresponsible social media use can cause people to develop “a perceived lack in the quality or quantity of social support systems; a predilection for upward social comparison with seemingly superior others, leading to poor self-esteem and negative self-evaluation; a constant desire for positive peer feedback; and a susceptibility to cyber-bullying and online harassment,” which may later progress into a mental illness. It’s no surprise, then, that social media can give people the false impression that they aren’t good enough.
It’s not a substitute for real life. Have you heard of The Outside? It’s a lovely place on the other side of your door. You don’t need Wi-Fi to access it, but you can still have lots of fun adventures. Getting off social media opens you up to the wonders of real life, where you can nurture face-to-face relationships and pursue new interests. Dr. Gustilo-Villasor and Dr. Go-Chu advise that social media use should be restricted to “consistent time limits and supervision for children and adolescents ages 6 and older.” Plus, being out and about means less time sitting down for extended periods, which doctors have said can be dangerous for your health.
It’s invading your privacy. Social media turns your digital life into an open book. Things like GPS, data tracking, and more keep tabs on you all the time. Even when you aren’t navigating a road, social media apps can still track your location. What’s more, your social media profile is prone to being breached by third parties, who use people’s online activities to create targeted content, from regular ads to dangerous propaganda campaigns. You don’t want your private info to be used for someone else’s ulterior motives, so why put it out there in the first place?
If these do sound familiar, it’s best to quit or at least ease up on your social media use. Don’t worry! It’s not like you’re disconnecting from family and friends. Messaging apps are a great alternative for keeping communication lines open, since they let you chat with your contacts while insulating you from all the hazards of social media.
Plus, Viber lets you keep the perks of social media without any of its security risks. On Communities, you can start massive group chats that connect you with people who share your interests. Share photos, polls, news articles, and more without any of your private info being compromised. Not only that, this feature also allows you to keep up with the latest happenings—minus the social media stress—by subscribing to news agencies’ Viber Communities.
Among these apps, Viber is the most private and secure. You can start with Hidden Chats, which are stored in a separate section of the app that can only be accessed with a 4-digit PIN. Since they are not shown with your regular chats, Hidden Chats help you ensure that your most private conversations can never be seen by anyone else.
With Group Calls, you can get real-time barkada or family updates with up to 5 people. Save yourself the hassle of contacting people one by one with this easy, convenient feature.
Now that social media is proven to be bad for us in many ways, moving to messaging apps like Viber is turning out to be a healthier, less demanding—and most importantly—more private way of keeping in touch.
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