Too much of a good thing

Since its inception, social media has made a tremendous impact on the internet. It facilitates our communications with friends and family regardless of location, provides access to information scattered over the web in one place, and expands our circle of acquaintances. While it has become an integral part of our lives today, the widespread use of the internet also has negative effects that could impact us. Since excessive consumption or exposure to any one thing often leads to various problems (“too much of a good thing”) – it is always advisable to consume in moderation.

This article discusses some of the possible risks of social media addiction:

Cyberbullying

Social media networks are used by people of all age groups. The anonymity and ease of social media use has benefitted us in some ways but has also made cyberbullying rampant. Bullies can hide behind their smart devices, allowing them to be detached from the damage they inflict with their words, creating psychological distance between their actions and possible consequences. Becoming a victim of cyberbullying can be a traumatising experience which can lead to plenty of stress both online and in the real world.

F.O.M.O – Fear Of Missing Out

Social media use also creates a sense of peer pressure to keep up with the latest trends, activities, or content. This can evoke a plethora of negative feelings, contributing to mental health problems such as stress and anxiety disorders. According to ESET’s 2018 Consumer Behaviour Survey, 17% of Singaporean respondents have indicated that most cyberattacks originate from social media among other avenues.

Distracted and unfocused

Another result from ESET’s 2018 Consumer Behaviour Survey indicated that 62% of Singaporean respondents spend more than three hours a day online. It is plausible to infer that this has led to a decrease in productivity because of the number of hours spent looking at everyone else’s life, rather than focusing on the task at hand. This means that a lot of the time spent could be doing non-intellectual activities such as viewing photos, liking posts, and writing comments.

Fake news and scams

With the emergence of numerous platforms and portals on the internet, it is sometimes difficult to decipher what content is legitimate and what isn’t. This creates an avenue for cybercriminals to deceive social media users, leading to scams and the spread of false information, resulting in financial loss. Furthermore, a company’s reputation can be put at stake when employees unintentionally share misinformation, especially if it is related to their company’s area of expertise.

Overall, while social media is a great tool, it should be used in moderation to avoid the consequences of addiction or overreliance for fact-checking.