If you have been using social media for a long time, then you have probably heard about the negative impact it can have on your mental health. But do you know what steps you should take to prevent and protect yourself from the dangers of overusing it?
Compulsive and excessive use of social media can lead to social, cognitive, and behavioral impairment
Social media has a significant impact on the brain. It activates the reward circuitry, which releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of pleasure and want.
But overuse of social media may lead to negative consequences, such as cognitive impairment and behavioral problems. These include decreased physical activity and poor work performance. In addition, people who spend a lot of time on social media tend to suffer from anxiety, depression, and social dysfunction.
A systematic review found that all four domains of social media correlated with increased psychological distress. For example, the use of SNSs fosters impression management, social comparison, and a desire for social approval.
The use of online dating and other social networking sites can wreak havoc on personal relationships. People who rely on these platforms for friendship and dating have trouble making real-life commitments to their friends and families. This can lead to relationship problems and isolation.
One tool for measuring problematic use of social media is the Generalized Problematic Internet Use Scale 2. The GPIUS is a nine-question instrument that assesses four cognitive constructs: mood alteration, compulsive behavior, craving, and control dysfunction.
Adult predators use social media to attract and exploit children
A growing problem in the United States is the sexual exploitation of children over the internet. Predators have been known to groom their victims to establish a special bond. These predators often use compliments and validation to gain their victims’ trust.
While it is important to identify and treat child abusers in the community, it is also essential to understand the dynamics of their relationship with their victim. Online predators are able to disguise themselves online, and they are often adults.
In some cases, predators are able to take advantage of a power imbalance, and the victim is unaware that they are being exploited. It is also important to educate older youths about the dangers of Internet sex crimes.
The FBI estimates that up to 50,000 child predators are online at any given time. This number is based on the number of people who have reported contact with child predators in the last year.
Using social networking websites, Instant Messaging services, and online chatrooms, a predator can reach out to a victim and offer to help with something, or just ask for something. For example, a predator may ask a child to provide explicit images of themselves, and then threaten to share them with other people.
Privacy settings can’t protect against improper sharing on social media
It’s no secret that social media is a big part of our lives. As such, a little caution should be applied when weighing the pros and cons of social engagement. This entails instructing our children on the virtues of privacy and privacy protections in the digital realm. The more they understand the less snoopy they will become. In addition to protecting their digits, our adolescent brethren need to learn how to manage their emotions responsibly. A bit of parental oversight will do wonders for their sanity.
What’s more, when you’re dealing with a mental health condition, the temptation to engage in behavior that would cause you harm is a constant. For example, a social media profile might make you more susceptible to impulsive and overt acts, which in turn might cause you to be more open to solicitation. So, a judicious application of a bit of common sense and an eye on the prize is the best way to go.
Regaining control of your social media time
One of the best ways to keep control of your social media time is to set boundaries. Many people use social media out of habit. If you find you’re using it for negative reasons, it’s time to reassess your habits.
If you’re worried about the impact your social media use is having on your mental health, you can try switching off for a couple of hours a day, or even a full week. However, you should remember that setting limits isn’t always easy.
There are also apps you can download to help you manage your social media usage. These include ones that will track your time, notify you when you’ve reached a certain level, and even mute notifications if they’re getting in the way.
You can also try a social media detox. When you do, you’ll have the chance to take control of your online life and focus on the people in your real life. This may help you avoid feeling envious towards others on the platform.