By Nur Wahida Fitriah
“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein
Have you ever been in a situation where you are being bombarded with notifications to the extent you cannot ignore or you have been checking your phone every single minute?
In the age of tech-dependency, smartphones and Internet addiction have become the norm. People keep on updating every single thing they do in their daily life on social media and tend to ignore the reality. It is apparent that they prefer to live in the “virtual world” more than the real world.
So, social media are used to share content or information. Almost everyone who lives on this Earth has multiple or at least one social media account either Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and so on. The usage and amount of time we spend on our social media supposedly should be controlled. Nonetheless, in the era of information and technology, it is the other way around.
These platforms are used by users for many purposes. Some people use social media for good purpose such as to stay connected with friends or family members who live far from them. Furthermore, in business context, people are able to expand their business through social media.
Meanwhile, there are also some irresponsible people who get access to social media just to create chaos. Cyberbullying often occurs in social media when the perpetrator creates a fake social media account to humiliate or threaten their victims. Hence, according to the research from Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, the occurrence of cyberbullying usually leads to a situation where the victims get involved with mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
In order to emphasise that social media contribute to bad impact towards the society, let’s focus on how people use Twitter to express their opinions.
These recent months, when there is a rise in certain issues in Malaysia, people are able to tweet freely regarding their opinions without any restriction. To a certain extent, individuals might get into an argument just because they have different perspectives about some issues. The argument will lead to an unhealthy situation between the users where hatred is developed between them just because they have different beliefs.
Besides Twitter, Instagram are also most popular social networking sites especially among teenagers and young adults.
As a matter of fact, people will definitely show the good sides of their lives on Instagram. Hence, we start questioning ourselves, “why I can’t have a life like her?”, “she got a lot of money to spend while me, I have to find part-time job to get money”. As a result, we will feel dissatisfied with our lives just because we only see the lavish lifestyle of our followers. In the worst case scenario, one might attempt to commit suicide since they are not being able to meet the expectation of the so-called “perfect lifestyle” that has been portrayed in the social media.
Surprisingly, there are also users who make use of the polling feature that is available in Instagram as a tool to control their lives. In fact, according to The Guardian, a teenage girl was killing herself because 69% of her followers voted for death. This alarming situation proves that social media are actually jeopardising people’s life and mental health.
It is true that social media are created to facilitate our lives but it is up to us to utilise them to our benefits because they do have pros and cons. In this regard, we should minimise the consumption of social media to overcome the negative effects.***