Over 1.6 billion people have created profiles, collectively posting hundreds of millions of photos every day, and tweeting six thousand times every second.
How much time are you spending on social media?
A Canadian survey revealed that spending such long hours socialising online, has caused an increase in the levels of anxiety across the country. Shockingly, in Canada people are socialising more on social media than in real life. This statistic may be similar in our country as well, with the rise of smart phone sales in India. Smartphone sales are expected to increase 29% by 2016, according to the Times of India.
What is causing the anxiety?
A research study from McMaster University suggested that the number of youngsters suffering from mental health problems has increased by 20% since the rise of social media. According to Professors Wiszniewski and Coyne, the anxiety stems from individuals masking their real life identities, while interacting on a social platform. People are also selling different aspects of their identities on various social media sites. For instance, one would take a more professional approach on LinkedIn compared to Instagram, which is more likely to show the fun side of their personality. Another factor that determines one’s posts would be, whether they have their parents and other family on the platform.
“Everyone tends to express the happiest version of themselves on Facebook or Instagram …We have public personas on these social media platforms… So people may be comfortable expressing certain aspects of their lives with certain people, but not necessarily to 200 friends on Facebook.”
said Prof Shalini Lal, University of Montreal, Canada
Selling several personas online that are fabricated with filters and clever post titles can leave many of the users feeling lonely, jealous and ugly. Scope, a disability charity in the UK revealed that about 62% of Twitter and Facebook users felt that their achievements were not good enough compared to others. Promotional consumer goods like acne creams, slimming teas, fitness gear and more, which are advertised on these platforms continue to trigger the insecurities.
So, maybe it would be good to think about whether we are heading towards a happier future, if we are dissociating ourselves from each other. Revealing your true identities and feelings on social media may prevent your from developing anxiety.