Remember, breaking a phone addiction isn’t easy. Be gentle with yourself. Understand that when you stare into your phone 10,000 programmers’ eyes are staring back at you, monitoring your move, adapting the on-screen environment so that you’ll keep looking and scrolling. Let’s make 2021 the year when we stopped doing that mindlessly. Let’s take back control of our country, our time, and our minds. Paul Greenberg: Goodbye Phone, Hello World
Happy Birthday to Facebook, a sweet 15 years old.
What has this rambunctious child done in growing up? Whatever will it do as a head-strong teenager growing into a mature adult? Has it fostered a cell phone addiction along with other social media platforms that is now catching the world by surprise? Are adults trapped in a vicious cycle of digital addiction and do we require deprogramming for normalcy of communication and society’s values?
I have always considered the internet as a vast social technological experiment that now, after a couple decades, is assessing and remedying results where necessary. A 70% growth in the number of people who use Social Media platforms only increase concerns about day-to-day lives and psychological well being.
Now that society can better assess the blunt force of social media and its impact on narratives, social movements, conspiracy theories and calls to action with lack of facts or substantiation. Social media’s short attention spans have produced unbridled free speech with dangerous personal affirmations of all-right or all-wrong without confirmations of reality. The recent sudden lock down of social media to hundreds of thousands of users seemingly without hindering the right to free speech without facts was unexpected but necessary.
Social media as a cultural boiling pot has been simmering for a while under pressure to compete and control and it was a matter of time when its wanton dangerous affiliations blew up where the loudest voices and strangest falsehoods directed inculcated mobs to undermine the rules of democracy as a self-righteous attack.
Ongoing teenage research worries about their brain development
My previous research and articles focused on teenagers’ use of cellphones on social media multiple times a day or even an hour and how that might affect their cognitive development and psychological well-being. In fact, there are ongoing concerns and studies that growing up with digital technology may be changing teen brain development in ways we don’t yet know — and these changes may, in turn, change how teens relate to technology.
Developmental media psychologists are saying that “because the exposure to technology is happening so early, we have to be mindful of the possibility that perhaps there are changes happening at a neural level with early exposure. How youths interact with technology could just be qualitatively different from how we do it as adults.” Dr. Kaveri Subrahmanyam
So, what are the vestigial effects for adults? Conditioning doesn’t stop at 19 years.
Is there any research about how social media impacts adults like the Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers? It would be a natural assumption that digital consequences would continue to streamline from vulnerable teen to mature adult without any intervention or education about its strengths and weaknesses.
It is still a relatively new technology, and new research will need to follow the long-term consequences, good or bad, of social media use for adults. However, multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts.https://www.Helpguide.org
How adults use social media with or without problems
The most obvious reasons are for communication and keeping in touch with family and friends, for entertainment as well as creative outlets. New reports also show that almost three-quarters of users of social networks use it as a way to get news. Imagine how a quick tweet can recap the news that helps to promote an agenda quickly instead of reading the full news story.
We know how many teenagers, especially girls, are infatuated with the right kind of Selfies for self-worth status. But are adults also concerned with self-presentation and identity construction or discover core issues like sexuality and intimacy? Are they more mature to realize that there’s a lot of ideal-self or false-self presentation?
Do they engage in risky behavior in order to gain likes, shares, or positive reactions? Could they be victims of dangerous pranks or embarrassing posts? Do they suffer from sleep problems or disrupted sleep from lights on digital devices?
Do they also face risks like being cyberbullied or encountering inappropriate content like violent images or pornography? How do they deal with racism, sexism, or religious-based hate content?
Do they use social media as a substitute for real life? Does social displacement on social media affect their relationships. They may not want to go to parties or movies finding new virtual friends who may be superficial with hidden agendas. Studies show that people with the least time in face-to-face social interactions report the most loneliness.
Is there a vicious cycle of unhealthy excessive social media?
So I was very surprised to read how social media use can create a negative self perpetuating cycle even for adults with these descriptors:
Use social media more often when you feel lonely, depressed, anxious, or stressed as a way to relieve boredom or feel connected to others.
Using social media more often, however, increases FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and isolation.
These negative feelings affect your mood and worsen symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress in a downward spiral.
In fact, I continue to be surprised that there are current therapists, articles and authors of whole books who are trying to pass on advice as recovery programs from social media and how to make meaningful connections in real life.
8 Ways to Make Meaningful Offline Connections
- Set aside time for regular get together with old friends with no cellphones allowed. Don’t eat food with a phone as your best friend … keep a book handy.
- Call a friend on the phone for a conversation not always texting. Be aware of true “friendships” with whom to spend time is usually about 10; certainly, it’s absurd to think that 1000 “friends” like you.
- Join a club with a hobby, fitness activity or meet with a group of like-minded individuals.
- Connect with people you meet on public transport, or coffee shop, or grocery … simply smile and say hello … eyes off the screen.
- Don’t fuss about posting a perfect hairstyle … take pictures of a puppy playing outside and post to make others smile.
- First thing in the morning grab a pen to write down some things to do today … not a cellphone for messages. (I’m guilty of this.)
- Avoid cellphones at least two hours before bedtime. Read a magazine.
- For goodness sakes, don’t go for a walk in the park with earbuds and music blasting, cutting out birds chirping or squirrels scampering. Never let the cellphone lose touch with nature.
Perhaps this is as good a time as any for parents to sit down with their teenagers and discuss common threads about how to control the problems of overactive, interactive media and how to overcome negative experiences such as loneliness or anxiety about your life or appearance.
It is the right time to share and talk that social media should never be a replacement for real-world human connection. There is nothing better than a handshake and a hug to help trigger the hormones that alleviate stress with positive feelings.
What kinds of problems have you experienced with social media? What are some of your ways to temper your use of cellphones?
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