Despite all the benefits that the rise of social media’s relevance brings, there still lies an undeniable fact that it is addictive. Much like alcohol, nicotine, and other happiness inducing-things, social media intake can lead to addiction.
Social media addiction has been reported to have already affected over 210 million people out of the 2.86 billion users in 2017 alone. And with a recent study reporting that the number of social media users has risen to 4.55 billion people, it’s safe to assume that the number of people experiencing social media addiction has also grown.
To help you become more self-aware, here are the six ways social media addiction is damaging your health.
1. You are not getting enough physical activity.
Although more content creators focused on physical fitness are popping out on every platform, the problem is still the same. Ironically, the more you watch these kinds of content, the less time you have to actually exercise.
Excessive usage of social media only adds fuel to the already burning prevalence of sedentary lifestyles caused by the digitalization of most workforce industries.
2. It negatively affects your sleeping habits.
Since browsing your social media feed can be entertaining and engaging, it can influence you to stay up longer than your body can handle. And there’s also a more scientific factor behind it.
The Harvard Medical School is currently conducting a study regarding how the blue light produced by mobile phones can affect a person’s mood and alertness. This is essentially a problem related to your sleeping habits because the body’s alertness reduces and suppresses your body’s ability to produce melatonin. And melatonin production directly helps with putting you to sleep.
And even eye bags are the least of your worries now, the long-term effects of your lack of sleep can be extreme for your mind and body a few years from now.
3. It can lead to an improper diet.
Multiple surveys and studies have proven that social media usage greatly affects your diet. And among all of these ways, one is considered to be alarming.
As shown in the data, there is a high probability that when you see food online, your mind develops a craving for satiation. Note that you are not going to be hungry. Instead, you’re just going to crave feeling satisfied. Paired with a decrease in physical activity, this would lead to physiologically unhealthy body mass that might result in more physical complications in the future.
4. It can cause eye strain.
With 65% of Americans showing symptoms of digital eye strain, it easily shows how this problem is not being taken seriously. But digital eye strain is not only about redness, itchiness, and dryness of the eyes. It could also lead to serious dangers to your sense of vision.
With the accumulation of your daily mandatory screen time due to work and your daily screen time due to social media usage, your eyes might develop glaucoma after a few years. And although the science behind glaucoma treatment surgery has grown to be efficient and effective, prevention will always be better than cure.
5. It greatly affects your body image.
One of the biggest impacts of social media addiction on your health can be found in your mental balance, from FOMO or the fear of missing out to an unhealthy comparison between yourself and other people.
But the most problematic effect of social media on people’s mental health is the deterioration of people’s body image. Thousands of eating disorder patients have stated on record that their conditions either started due to unhealthy body comparisons on social media or were triggered by online bullying. But more than eating disorders, your body image issues could also materialize through anxiety and depression.
6. It romanticizes unhealthy behaviors.
Multiple social media platforms are being used to gain popularity and traction. Whether it’s just for clout or for more financially driven reasons, the end game is still the same. To do something that will catch the attention of the public. And most of the time, these things are quite troublesome. From scalp popping and back cracking challenges to the overdosing of Benadryl and blackout (choking game) challenges, some social media trends have become too extreme and have caused hospitalizations and, worse, death.
The bottom line
If you are exhibiting the following, then considering a day or two without your phone in your hands could probably do you some good.
- It’s the first thing you check in the morning and the last thing you do at night.
- You get FOMO (fear of missing out) and feel anxious whenever you cannot check what’s going on online.
- Your mood is greatly affected by the interactions that your posts receive.
- You neglect your body’s needs for the sake of staying online.