The “Dark Side” of Social Media

There is little doubt that we live in the age of social media. It isn’t uncommon for us to exchange photos via Facebook, share updates on twitter, look at videos on YouTube, or start a conversation on Google Plus. On the surface, social media sites seem harmless and wonderful. What if I told you that social media sites have a dark side to it? There have been studies showing a direct correlation between social media use and decreases in work productivity, invasion of privacy, and even anxiety.

Social media technology, like aspirin, isn’t free of side effects. The American and British economies have lost billions of dollars due to employee’s participating in social media sites while at work. Rather than working on job related tasks to advance the enterprise, office workers seem to be spending a sizable amount of their working hours in social media sites updating profiles, sharing photos, and what I like to call, “goofing off… or simply wasting time.” Yet, we keep advancing the idea that social media is wonderful ignoring the multitude of repercussions the medium has. Perhaps, we should be a bit more conservative with our assumptions.  We live in an open society where our traditional privacy values are being questioned. Thank goodness we seem to be annoyed and uncomfortable with this phenomenon here in Indiana county. We don’t need to compromise our rights to privacy because of technology. We should be educating our kids to realize that displaying everything about one’s life on Facebook (or any other social media site) isn’t necessarily a good idea. As a parent, I am disturbed when I hear that 13 year old kids are living a “second life” through social media. The great advancements of modern technology seem to have a dark side, doesn’t it? I like technology but don’t love it. Do you?

Anxiety is a problem. Anxiety due to overuse of computerized devices through social media is emerging as an epidemic. The decreased sense of self perception is a serious side effect of social media. Just because we can create a profile for the world to see doesn’t mean it is real or beneficial.  The need to constantly update a profile also generates higher levels of anxiety among teens which could be toxic to their health. Our brains were not made to be working on constant information overload mode despite the belief of some that we should be always connected, especially to social media.  This is what I propose. Techno Moderation! Use social media with care. Please realize that the medium isn’t free of side effects. Be aware of the positives and negatives effects of this innovation for your own sake. Before taking a medicine, we read about its side effects, right? Why should social media use be any different?