Every day, millions of people all over the world log on to some form of social media. Just think about it, every day we now share as much data on the internet in one day than the internet world had in its entirety 20 years ago. Yeah we know, it’s a more than decent way to pass time, keep up with friends, and get a personal perspective on some of what’s going on in the world, but have you ever wondered just how much of a negative effect hours of social networking can have?
(Be warned, this article isn’t meant to dissuade you from using your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or even that old Hi5 teenagers these days probably never even heard of, but it just might open your eyes to some of that fruit-in-the-middle-of-the-garden food for thought).
Too much time on social media may affect short-term memory –
A new study has warned, people who spend too much time browsing social media could be squandering their memories or losing important information. Erik Fransen, a researcher from Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology, interviewed by IBN Live says that a brain exposed to a typical session of social media browsing can easily become hobbled by information overload. This means that when its time to commit the important things to memory, the brain may not be able to function as it should.
The problem begins in a system of the brain commonly known as the working memory, or what most people know as short-term memory.
“At any given time, the working memory can carry up to three or four items. When we attempt to stuff more information in the working memory, our capacity for processing information begins to fail.
“When you are on Facebook, you are making it harder to keep the things that are ‘online’ in your brain that you need”.
You’re also robbing the brain of time it needs to do some necessary housekeeping. The brain is designed for both activity and relaxation, Fransen said.
Worse things can happen to you than a little short term memory trouble though. But what if we told you Facebook can make you lonely, unhappy and ultimately miserable?
You might say that’s pretty far-fetched, but research by the Tufts University says that while sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were created to connect users and enhance social interactions, many research studies show the opposite is occurring — people who use social media heavily throughout their day can experience detachment, boredom and even loneliness. To make matters worse, social media experience can make real life experiences disenchanting and much less appealing. Even looking at pictures of food on Instagram can decrease satisfaction gained from actually eating the same food, according to research published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.
Can’t put your phone down for too long, you’re not the only one, but at what point do we stop living in reality and living our lives in the digital world? One experiment even concluded that Facebook could cause problems in relationships, by increasing feelings of jealousy. Uh oh.
Finally, Psychology Today says that the use of social media can become a negative behaviour with overuse. We can get lost in our screens, and miss out on what’s really important around us.
Before you go logging out and deleting all your accounts, it’s worth noting that all these studies also link these negative effects to misuse, and most often, overuse. As with every sweet treat in life, some decent discretion always helps to avoid embarrassingly frequent bathroom breaks, or in this case, all the above.
By | Neil Barry