In the current day and age, social media has become a mandatory part of our lifestyle. Each day, we connect with many people with whom we have not met in the past few months or years and some of them are complete strangers to us in the real world. Seemingly, we think we can broaden our friends circle and get to know many more people through internet. But in reality, the more we spend time online, the less we interact with the people around us.
Consequences of internet addiction
As we spend most of our time with virtual friends, we seldom realize our “family time”. This leads to the loosening of our bond in a family. When a family member would like to discuss issues, most of the time they find us busy and not attentive enough to listen. This in turn damages the feelings of safety and security of that person. So they tend to get depressed very easily.
For this reason, some people rely on their virtual relationships too much and discuss their personal issues with them. In this case, very personal information of that person gets leaked and become prone to be used against them. Nobody can actually judge anyone from their online profile. So these virtual friends sometimes deliberately give wrong solution to their problems and even involve the person into illegal activities like drugs.
On the other hand, studies have shown that spending too much time on the internet forces our conscious mind to feel that this virtual identity is our true self and we become too vulnerable to handle trolls. We often tend to portray the best version of us in the internet which we are not in real life and seek the validation of our existence. So even random hate comments can trigger extreme self-doubts. This gets even more complicated when we start to compare ourselves with the popular idols on social media. This tendency drives us to believe that we are not “good enough” and so many people ruin their health to become like that idol instead of investing in their self-development.
While we are emphasizing on what virtual strangers think of us in the internet, we forget to interact with people in real life. We get to learn more about our body language, gestures and tone of our voice in real life scenarios. Sometimes we end up imitating others behaviours which make us look fake. And these altogether lead us to severe identity crisis. The tendency to look “cool” and attractive make us do what we would not do otherwise. The hype of games like “Blue whale” and the extreme cases of people jumping off the buildings in the midst of an online livestream just to get a few more followers are not that rare these days. All these symptoms are more prominent to teenagers which is too harmful for the future of our society.
In the 21st century, internet is an essential part of our daily life, no doubt. It opens up a lot of opportunities for us and make our jobs easier and faster. But at the same time, it is our duty to restrict our addiction and dependency on the internet.
We must make people, especially young children and teenagers, aware of the harmful sides of internet and organize sufficient seminars at school and college levels to make students cautious of the downsides and encourage them to visit the psychiatrists and counsellors more often and share their troubles with them. We should sort out our priorities and take out as much time as we can afford for our loved ones. This can strengthen their feeling of safety and security at home and make us less dependent on the internet.
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