Social Media: More people are protesting against it

For the perspective:

The high price we pay for social media | Tim Harford

That echoes research by Facebook, which owns Instagram. An internal presentation, leaked last year by Frances Haugen, said: “Thirty-two per cent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.” In the UK between 2003 and 2018, there was a sharp increase in anxiety, depression and self-harm, and a more modest increase in eating disorders, in people under the age of 21. In absolute terms, anxiety, depression, self-harm and eating disorders were higher in girls than boys.

The researchers find a large negative effect of the launch of Facebook on mental health — somewhere between one-quarter and one-fifth as bad as the effect of losing one’s job. The Facebook of around 2005 is not the same as the social media of today: it was probably less addictive and less intrusive, and was not available on smartphones. If it was bad then, one wonders about the impact of social media now.

These negative emotions also affect adults. You see the “happy people” celebrating their publications, grants and large meals in a restaurant together. You are living in a cave. Yet, you fail to appreciate the circumstances unique to the individual. The publication status is a poor reflection of the true abilities. Grant committees work through a lottery system or are biased towards “ideas that have already worked”. Conferences repeat and regurgitate the same tired themes. I don’t intend to be pessimistic, but these are overamplified with your interaction on Twitter, which remains a poor medium to interact based on its limitations. I have failed on so many occasions but used them to learn and do a course correction.

Find your outlet through blogs and create content. Give a push to your artistic talent or use your time to invest in real human relationships. Life’s too short to stay glued to 280 characters.

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