While social media allows us to build our network and connect to our loved ones, and even to individuals we have just met, new studies show that social media has an adverse effect.
Social media contributes to the fear of missing out or FOMO. Spending long hours on social media also eats up time an individual would have for creating and maintaining meaningful and real relationships. While social media gives the opportunity to fill social voids, it could very much make that hole much deeper. A study at the University of Pittsburg found that people who visit social networks over 58 times a week are three times more likely to feel lonely than those use the sites under nine times.
And I can attest to this. I, and a lot of my friends, have deleted at least one or more social media app on our phone before for “life cleansing” purposes. My mind knew that lives people build of themselves on social media are illusions – no one actually goes on Instagram and posts the latest picture depicting their unhappy relationship with their parents or of their deepest insecurities. Despite knowing that, my heart would still ache a little when I was sitting at home on Friday night while other people I knew were out with their friends, even though I wanted to do nothing more but sit at home on that Friday night. This made me question my own self and whether my priorities or preferences were good enough. I was extremely unhappy.
Then, sophomore year of college, I deleted Snapchat for about six months. It was a wonderful experience. I started enjoying my own life without worrying about posting pictures or looking at what others were doing. With Facebook and Instagram, I developed a healthier relationship because I discovered the value of appreciating your own life and your own choices.
I love that through social media, I can see my family members pictures or keep up with events going on in my community at the University of Georgia. The importance of maintaining a balance, however, is something that is of great significance to me. I have given this advice about social media to friends before, and the ones who went through a cleanse themselves have emerged feeling more content and happy with their own lives.