The other side of social media

The other side of social media

The importance of social media cannot be denied in today’s world; it has become an important part of an individual’s life, and helps in the exchange of ideas worldwide.

The emergence of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. has enabled users to communicate with people wherever they are and whenever they want.

According to the Digital 2022 report, Pakistan has 71.7 million active YouTube users, 43.55 million Facebook users, 13.75 million Instagram users and only 3.4 million users – 1.5 percent of the total population – on Twitter, which is the most important application in political politics. terms. TikTok has 12.26 million users, and each user spends more than five hours every day. The primary reason behind the widespread use of these applications is affordable internet facilities.

Excessive use of social media among the younger generation can lead to various mental health issues, something that needs our undivided attention. The majority of Pakistan’s population is young, and most of them spend long hours on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.

Many people view social media as a place where they can feel less isolated, but in reality, they are unaware of its detrimental effects. Teens and young adults spend their quality time socializing online. This excessive use leads to psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness and even suicidal behavior, reducing the responsibilities and creativity for work that negatively affects the educational achievements of students. It also has a negative impact on people’s social life because once they become addicted to it, it becomes complicated for them to stop using it.

For many social media users, the confidence boost they get after uploading their photos and receiving comments and likes on them makes it harder for them to give up their social media use. In today’s world, one major cause of anxiety in individuals is a lack of response by others to their social media posts. These individuals are more concerned with how many likes and comments they receive on their content. Such worrying thoughts can lead to sleep disturbances. Social media use also distracts people from their life responsibilities, which usually leads to the breakdown of important relationships.

Social media gives a false sense of online connections and friendships, leading to emotional and psychological problems. People are busy giving quality time to those who don’t care about them. Some individuals give too much time to social media relationships, which affects their other relationships and ruins their marriages. It takes a toll on the emotional well-being of many people.

Even though social media is a powerful tool and will be here for a long time, it is also important that people understand the negative impact of spending long hours on social media. To protect the younger generation from developing serious mental health issues, the government should take proper steps like counseling sessions at school, college and university level and create awareness about the negative impact of social media on the mental health of the younger generation.

There should also be government regulations regarding inappropriate websites social media applications that spread negativity and discrimination. Policymakers should pay attention to creative industries. This approach will not only reduce mental health issues, but it also has the potential to contribute to the economy by creating opportunities for youth in different fields (sports, arts, film industry, theatre).

Dr Abida Naurin is a research fellow at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. She tweets @abida_15

Rabia Basri is an MPhil student in the Department of Economics and Finance at PIDE.

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