Disconnecting from social networks: is it a recommended option?

Social media has come to stay. Only a few years ago its use was restricted to academic fields, but today it is very difficult to meet a person who does not have at least one profile in any of them.

You could even say that the way we presented ourselves on social media can start to be seen as another part of identity: digital. But to what extent does this coincide with what we consider to be our “real” identity?

In this article, we will dwell on this and other questions, with particular emphasis on the benefits we might get from social media disconnection. Or at least, to devote more time to our “analog” life, to the detriment of digital.

    Disconnecting from social networks: what does it mean?

    Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate with each other. Since it first appeared in the first half of the last century, the world has become a much more interconnected place, to the point that you know what is happening on the other end of it in just a few seconds. We can also say that they have helped to promote freedom of expression and even to the construction of knowledgeWell, it is now the product of several million users sharing information simultaneously.

    This transformation of new technologies has gradually replaced television and other traditional media, and has raised scientific questions about how it might affect those who use them. And the downside is that there are users who for one reason or another spend too much time on these online platforms; which affects the way they interact with others in their real life.

    Being a still recent phenomenon, there are still many doubts and controversies about how its use can compromise health or quality of life. In this article, we’ll cover 6:00 am on the potential benefits of disconnecting from social media, based on what the science says about the problem.

    1. Establish relationships with people in the environment

    All social networks allow you to establish communication with anyone, regardless of their physical distance, direct and without further delay. That’s an advantage unthinkable a few decades ago, and it makes the world a smaller (albeit less private) place. Despite this progress, the paradox arises: she can sometimes end up distancing herself precisely from those close to her, such as family and friends.

    The more time you spend on the internet, the less you spend for those who live with us, Which can have an impact on the links that bind us to them. And it is that if the networks can be an important source of support (especially in adolescence), it is always essential to reconcile their use with the life in the daily environment, in which we build the daily newspaper. In any case, these should not be two incompatible realities, although often the rain does come.

    Disconnecting from social networks, reducing the number of hours you spend sharing content or receiving content from others, is an opportunity to strengthen ties with those close to you. It should be noted that the quality of a link is measured by timeshare, and that most contacts born on the Internet tend to dilute it before materializing in a relationship outside of it.

    2. Communicate face to face

    Social media have their own means of communication, which are increasingly popular with their users and the community at large. In recent years, terms such as “hashtag” or “trending topic” have multiplied to describe characteristics of their own, and have crossed the slang barrier to enter the scene of “pop” culture. . like that, these media reaffirmed a unique and recognizable language, To which also contribute figurative elements with which to convey emotions (the well-known emojis) and to compensate for the almost total absence of non-verbal indications.

    While each social network emphasizes a different aspect of the act of communication (from the use of writing to images), and all seek immediacy in the way they relate to the user, none of them offer an experience very similar to meeting face to face between two people who share a physical space. Not even by the inclusion of videoconferencing or other similar technologies.

    Communication between human beings involves both verbal and non-verbal aspects, widely imitated by social networks, but incorporating a myriad of different nuances (proxemic, prosodic, etc.) that none have managed to faithfully reproduce until now. ‘now.

    while social skills are developed from practice with our peers in everyday environmentsIt is possible that an excess of networks (with the lack of real interactions) could hamper the development of such a large capacity.

    By reducing the time we spend networking, we test and improve the way we build interpersonal relationships in real life, which is essential for forging close bonds or for advancing academically and professionally.

    3. Contextualize reality

    Social networks ignite the desire for admiration among users, to the point that certain scientific studies have been described most of the dynamics that develop in them in the form of “narcissistic behavior”. The truth is that on the networks we all want to show our best version, or at least the worst of all possible, this phenomenon being most noticeable among adolescents (because they are in a period particularly vulnerable to rejection and sensitive to social pressure. ).

    Often, people compare their lives to what they see on the networks, Without realizing that they are a window that does not at all represent the reality of who is shown there. Images of fascinating journeys, expensive clothes or an elegant sunset in a paradisiacal landscape, do not imply that on the other side, fascinating things are happening as our life passes in the most absolute mediocrity. ; but the selection of published content is based on an obvious social will.

    An example of this effect (detrimental to the self-esteem of vulnerable people) is found every Christmas on the news broadcasts, when an army of journalists rush to lottery administrations to interview those who have received a major prize.

    The probability of ‘touching’ is ridiculous, but it is distorted when shown publicly, generating a cognitive error that puts it on different ground (more likely than it actually is). Well, something similar happens on social media when we are constantly exposed to information about the beauty of other people’s lives, unlike our own.

    Social media distancing it allows us to focus our attention on a much more real life, this is what surrounds us, In which we bear witness more clearly to the fortune and the misfortune that inhabit the world. This brings us back to the precise coordinates in which things take place, beyond the nonsense with which everyone decides to show their digital personality.

    In fact, many studies have linked this problem to feelings of injustice and eroded self-esteem, which may be distally linked to depression and anxiety.

      4. Avoid addiction

      While there is still no consensus in the research community, many believe that social media can stimulate addictive behavior in its users. This could be explained through features such as the immediacy with which reinforcements are given (social approval with a click on the “like” button), its ease of access, the simplicity of its interface and participation in communities that give the person a sense of belonging. There is even a network that includes games simple, the end is that users stay indoors as long as possible.

      Many authors have described that social media abuse closely resembles the phenomena that occur in toxic addictions, such as: tolerance (progressively increased use of one of the platforms) and withdrawal syndrome (significant discomfort when using one of the platforms). ‘it is not possible to access the network from any device). This cluster of symptoms reduces participation in other activities of daily living, such as family or work, and affects the time spent sleeping or exercising.

      When the onset of these problems is evident, it is essential to see a mental health professional. so that it can articulate individualized treatment, leading the person to responsible use of these tools (which can be particularly useful when used appropriately).

        5. Protect yourself from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem

        Many studies have found a relationship between time spent using social media and depressive symptoms, although it has not yet been possible to clarify the exact dynamics behind the finding. In any case, there seems to be a consensus that the use of networks is not in itself a factor that deteriorates mood, but that everything is subject to the way they are used.

        Networks are therefore a double-edged sword: they bring positive or negative things, and whether they receive one or the other will depend on what the user does during the time they are there.

        Over the past decade, standardized protocols have been created to detect, through the use of social networks, the profiles of users likely to suffer from depression or to express autolytic ideas, in order to identify those with particular suicide risk. It is expected that in the coming years, all of these tools (which are based on the principles of artificial intelligence applied to language) will be used to provide secondary prevention interventions (in the early stages of a potential disorder). .

        A relationship between anxiety and social media has also been observed, Especially when the use of the same is aimed at coping with difficult emotions for which there is a lack of alternative and adaptive coping mechanisms. There is work that even links the number of available profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to the self-activation of the user, who would perceive an overwhelming demand trying to treat them all as they would like. .

        The use of social networks should therefore be moderate in people suffering from a depressive or anxiety disorder. Even today, the exact way in which these phenomena are related is unknown.Most of the research to date is based on correlational analysis, which does not allow a cause-and-effect relationship to be traced. So, the use of the networks could precipitate the problem, or perhaps it would be the mental disorder which would motivate the abuse of the Internet. Self-esteem could be the basis of both hypotheses.

        6. Prevent sedentary lifestyle and insomnia

        The use of social media is generally a sedentary activity. To write a tweet or download a post on Facebook, the person does not have to make any physical effort, the time spent on these platforms is therefore inversely proportional to what is invested in sports activities. This problem is very important especially in childrenMany of them already have their own online profile because they need exercise for healthy development.

        On the other hand, there is also evidence that excessive use of social media can reduce sleep time or make it less restful.

        This finding could have three possible causes, namely: cognitive hyperactivation during the hours near bedtime (due to performing mentally demanding tasks on the internet), staying connected until the wee hours of the morning (time remaining in the morning) . exposure to screens that project excessive light on the retina. All of this can alter circadian rhythms, Regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus and melatonin production by the pineal gland.

        Disconnecting from social networks can be the perfect opportunity to spending time on activities that help improve our overall fitness, As long as the use which is made of it prevents a healthy life. As we have pointed out, this is all more important in children, because participating in symbolic games (alongside their peers in real life) contributes to the maturation of their nervous system and the development of life skills. social. greater body movement and optimal physical condition).

        Bibliographical references:

        • Pantic, I. (2014). Online social media and mental health. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 17 (10), 652-657.
        • Scott, H. and Clelland, H. (2019). Understanding the Links Between Social Media Use, Sleep, and Mental Health: Recent Advances and Current Challenges. Current Sleep Medicine Reports, 5 (3), 141-149.

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