It’s safe to say that we all have a Facebook account, maybe a twitter account, possibly a LinkedIn profile, and a select fewer of us have our own blogs. That means we all have an online presence, and when it comes to publishing your life online, we all have a few safeguards we like to run by.
A lot of us get into a habit when it comes to social media, and we check it probably every five minutes in search of updates. However, there is a point where this obsessive checking becomes very dangerous for our health and wellbeing, whether that be physically or mentally. Our online persona is always different to who we really are, and thus painting a perfect picture of ourselves online can get quite harmful.
When it Interferes with Our Lives
Let’s start off with the most serious issue. Social media can have a profound effect on our schedule. It seems silly, that just an online account can have so much say in what we do, but it does! A lot of people can’t focus in class because they’re too distracted by their phones or laptops, and sometimes it can have immediate repercussions, such as trying to text and drive.
This doesn’t have to mean we’re unsafe with our phones however. For example, you may have just got your driving license and you’re not sure how safe it is for you to get a hands free device for the car, and what is and isn’t allowed in the eyes of the law when it comes to having something like this in your car. Then you go in search of a guide for texting and driving for young people, and voila! You’ve got yourself plenty of answers.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a few bad eggs amongst the rest of us. The information age combined with the ever advancing craft of the digital makes it hard to avoid the influence of a phone and everything it allows you to access. With about 330,000 injuries from accidents on the road being caused by mobiles, we can immediately see there’s a bit of an issue with our social media usage.
When Acceptance Comes from Outside
So this is more of an intrinsic danger, but it’s often the most common side effect of prolonged social media exposure. We should seek validation from friends and family, as they’re great self-esteem boosters, but truth be told that’s where the seeking should stop. It becomes a huge problem when we go online simply for others to make us feel good about ourselves.
This hugely defines who we are both off and online, but only in the online world does it really matter. This isn’t representative of real life, and stepping outside can often be a huge shock, especially to the younger generation. However, this doesn’t have to be their fault, there’s some huge personalities online, and looking up to people and trying to remodel their behavior is a normal human behavior!
This leads to comparisons between ourselves and others, and that’s the worst thing to do when you’re already struggling with the perceived expectations. We don’t tend to be inspired when it comes to seeing what others have achieved compared to ourselves, unless we go out of our way to be positive. But that’s hard, and that means social media usage needs to be cut right down, for the good of our health.
When Our Priorities Change
Often, when we’ve spent a good amount of time online, we come face to face with internet celebrities. These people have often worked hard to get where they are, and they’ve managed to make a career out of working off of social media, where they’re exposed to everyone. However, following in their footsteps can be hard, and that often makes those of us who strive to do so extremely obsessive about the numbers.
We’d be lying if we said that nobody cared how much of a following they had, but some care more than others. Suddenly the real world doesn’t hold as much value as what strangers think on the web. The people we hold nearest and dearest we begin to take for granted, as they’re physically there and can’t detach themselves from us with a simply unfollow button. It’s this skewed priority that begins to take over our lives!
So there’s a quite a few factors that go into making the online world dangerous. Know about them and try avoiding them.