Since the rise of social media platforms more than a decade ago, adults and young people have taken to this trend even more than marketers and business owners thought they would. There are now literally billions of Facebook, Twitter, and similar accounts, and the number continues to grow. It’s not unrealistic to predict that by 2030, virtually every adult will have some form of social media presence.
Experts have already started weighing in on the pros and cons of social media. To hear them tell it, the pros are few and the cons are legion. One of the biggest downsides to the socials, as enthusiasts refer to the platforms, is less socialization. It’s almost like an Orwellian version of double-speak to call Twitter, Instagram and others by any name that includes the word social.
How do the giants make us less apt to interact with one another? Here are a few of the ways that too much chatting, posting, andliking can lead to a more isolated lifestyle:
Some People Become Addicted
For younger adults who haven’t yet developed a full set of interpersonal skills, too much time online can mean stunted or delayed emotional development. It’s easy to become addicted to computer socializing, experts say, because there’s nothing at risk. If you don’t like a conversation for any reason, you can simply shut down your connection for the moment and do something else. In real life, learning how to converse is a long-term process that includes miniature successes and failures. We learn, over time, how to deal with others in a face-to-face environment. Online, we can cancel each other out with the click of a mouse.
Too Much Online Time Affects Mental Health
Depression and anxiety are just two of the mental health issues that result from excessive use of sites like Facebook and Pinterest. What is excessive? Most experts say that anything more than 90 minutes of activity per day can be damaging to the human brain. The scary part is that about one-fifth of all adult and teen Internet users spend much more time than that online each day. Finding and working with an Oakland therapist can be an effective way to develop interpersonal skills. One of the key drawbacks of socializing online is that the activity easily takes the place of real interaction. Old-fashioned forms of interpersonal activity like going for walks, having lunch, seeing a movie, taking a hike and similar endeavors are still around but quickly giving way to online chat and multiple varieties of cyber activity.
Cyber-Bullying is a Real Problem
One of the latest problems to rear its head is cyber-bullying, the use of computer platforms to intimidate and essentially terrorize others. Among teens and young adults, it’s becoming a major societal ill. State and federal authorities struggle with legislation that might put a cap on the activity but nothing seems to work. As long as huge platforms exist for the sole purpose of interacting with others, part of that landscape will be bullying, just as it is in real life.