Imagine a world without social media. Hard, isn’t it? Okay, here’s an easier challenge: Imagine the 1990s! While the same can’t be said for children, most adults these days remember at least a little bit about life before the explosion of social media, so we can exist without it. However, most of us choose not to, and it can have some consequences. Psychologists in Littleton regularly meet with people who want to “break up” social media and reconnect with people at the same time. Read on to see the pros and cons of social media and how you can do it the best.
Social Media: Cons
It seems like everyone hates on social media these days, so let’s start with all the reasons why! First up is privacy—or lack thereof. Does everyone on your feed really need to know all those details? Unless you have very carefully customized groups and filters set up, you’re probably oversharing. This can come back to bite later, and can be frustrating when you get “leaked.” Even if you’re careful, many big social media companies have been accused of privacy violations in the past few months. Further, research has found that people who use social media more tend to be less connected, not more, and to feel less lonely. Unlike other relationships, where friendships, intimate relationships, and more often cross, relationships on social media often only have one point of contact… break it, and the relationship is off.
Social Media: Pros
This is not to say that social media is all bad! In fact, when people use it in certain ways, such as to connect with family, friends, or contacts from whom they are very far, it can improve socialization and make people feel less lonely. Some use social media to find groups to spend time with in real life, and some simply cannot get out much due to physical or mental illness or transportation limits. Social media has helped thousands of people reconnect after many years, and some have found close family and friends on these sites.
How to Find Balance
Remember, social media is a tool. Just like you can’t use your hammer for everything, you can’t use social media for everything, either. Pay close attention to where your attention goes—are you ignoring real, caring people right in front of you to engage in “connections” that may or may not be real on social media? Are your kids following in your social media footsteps and appearing stuck on these sites or apps? Are you giving up time at work, self-care, or time with family to spend time on social networking sites? If so, evaluate the rest of your relationships and see if you can find balance anywhere. For help, a psychologist in Littleton can help you sort through these issues, and if social media is affecting your relationship, you can find help through couples therapy. Contact Dr. Steve Lazarus today to get started.