The research on addiction to social media and the effect it is having on our mental health has been pouring in as we are starting to see social media usage overwhelmingly take over in our society. Most recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has come out as saying, “Recent changes to the site [Facebook] have reduced the amount of time users spend there – a development he says he expected, and one he welcomes as good for…the health of society at large.” (Domonoske, 2018). This comment comes after scrutiny over the overwhelming amount of fake news and violent videos that fill individual’s new feeds and the harming effects it has on their mental health. The changes they have made include ones, “that will deemphasize business and news posts and prioritize content from friends and family.” (Domonoske, 2018), which supports Zuckerberg’s belief that connections between people is good for mental health, which he claims as the main priority of Facebook.
How many of us has picked up our phone and mindlessly started scrolling through it? Have you done it while somebody has been trying to talk to you? Have you done it to avoid awkward silence and eye contact in a large group of people? I know I’m guilty. However, have you ever thought about what opportunities you’ve missed because you were looking at your phone? You’ve missed a great conversation with a friend or a chance to be there for them when they needed you. Maybe you’ve missed a kind smile with a stranger, a random conversation, a connection, a possible new friendship. Human connections, are important for our self esteem and mental health. They help us learn from and grow with each other.
We then wonder, “Why am I so alone? Why do I feel so disconnected from society? This can cause us to feel anxious and depressed- humans aren’t meant to feel isolated. Now we turn to apps and the internet in order to meet people. It’s a loop of constant social media in order to find those human connections we innately crave. Does this then hinder us from the true human connections that happen organically? I think so.
Contributed by Leigha Russell, Education Coach at Northwest College Support- Moscow, Idaho
Domonoske, Camila. “We’re Spending Less Time on Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg Says That’s Great”. NPR. February 1st, 2018. Accessed on February 2nd, 2018. https://www.npr.org.