The social dilemma


     With technology being a necessity with today’s generation, many of us rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram to connect with each other.  Many of us may enjoy staying connected through social media, but excessive use is not good for your health physically and mentally.  It is very important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world human connections.  We as human beings require in-person contact with others to trigger the hormones that alleviate stress and make you feel happier, healthier, and more positive. It is okay to use social media, but we need to know when to dial it down.

     Multiple studies have found a strong link between heavy social media and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, isolation, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social media platforms are designed to snare your attention, keep you online, and have you repeatedly checking your screen for updates, which is how companies make money.  But, much like an addiction to gambling, nicotine, alcohol, or drugs, social media use can create psychological cravings.  Every time you receive a like, share, or favorable reaction to a post, the brain releases dopamine, a “feel-good chemical” linked to pleasurable activities. The more you are rewarded, the more time you want to spend on social media, even if it becomes detrimental to other aspects of your life. The scariest part is that we do not even notice it. 

     There are ways that we can prevent social media from having negative effects on us.  Reducing time online, changing your focus, and hanging out with friends and family are the first steps to take. It may be a very hard thing to try to do at first, but as you continue to take small steps, it should become easier and in no time you will not even remember what Instagram is.  So, the next time you decide to scroll through Twitter because you are bored, try thinking of anything else you could do to keep you occupied. We are missing out on so much in life because of technology and there is so much we still have to do!