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The Drug Named “Social Media”: Are We Being Enslaved?

Posted on July 16, 2012 in Media

By Shobhit Agarwal:

How would you feel if you were to have an overtly passionate lover, who just can’t get enough of you even if you stay in front of him 24×7? At first, you might find it very loving and cute, but in time, you will realise that this kind of addiction has detrimental effects on the relationship. It goes beyond saying that when something like love can become intolerable when engulfed by addiction, then there is absolutely nothing in this world that can escape its wrath.

One of the biggest technological advancement made in the past decade has been in the field of digital media, social media in particular. Facebook, Twitter, Orkut have brought this world closer like never before. But like every other phenomenon, even they haven’t been able to escape from the clutches of addiction. A number of studies and surveys have shown that the use of social media has added to the anxiety levels among its users. Studies show that nearly half of the users feel that social media has had adverse effects on their life and they find themselves being controlled by technology rather than controlling it.

So whose fault is it? Can we sue Mark Zuckerberg or Jack Dorsey for making us addicted to every gadget that provides access to Facebook and Twitter respectively; for increasing the anxiety level amongst us when we are unable to find means to access our accounts? Obviously not. There is no doubt that the world is becoming more and more digital with every passing moment. The amount of data and information that is available online is ridiculous. Digital world’s favourite child — social media, has given all sorts of opportunity to people to interact and come across people not just in their own city, state or nation, but also across continents and oceans.

What such ease and the level of interaction has done is that it has increased insecurity among the users who psychologically suffer by caving into the demands of making a good impression across people in their friend’s or follower’s list. Because, whether we accept it or not, we are desperate to impress every moving object that we come across in our lives; it is the curse of being a social being.

People who aren’t welcoming of the digital times are taken to be primitive and medieval. While those that do espouse it, somehow find themselves getting addicted to it. So where do we draw the line?

There is a fine line between embracing the changes and getting overpowered by them. It is we, as individuals, who need to set limits as to the kind of dependency we are going to have on technology and social media. Until and unless we decide their roles, no psychologist or parent or friend can help us get detached from them. While enjoying the bliss of the digital world, we shouldn’t forget that there is a real world outside our gadgets, waiting for our involvement. In the bliss of ‘angry birds’ and ‘online chat’ one must not forget the beauty of ‘gully cricket’ and ‘friendly dinners’. The world did exist for thousands of years before the advent of social media, so to think about your life being miserable without it would be hoax.

As the famous Swiss psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, famously quoted, ‘Every form of addiction is bad.’ Let us remain masters of our creation, rather than turning into their slaves.