Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest and so on have been a blessing to our generation no doubt. These streams of technological advancements have made it easier to connect and interact with people around the world within a blink of an eye. We are finally at the “destination” we’ve always envisaged. 

We can even communicate with multiple people at the same frigging time. What a great accomplishment to our insatiable quest of breaking the barrier of space and time in our social interaction. 

Despite the exhilaration from this amazing feat, we have been unable to provide the solution to the dangers that the constant use of social media poses to our overall well-being. Already, the social media has been linked to series of negative mental issues. It has become an additional source for general mental health discourse, one that needs to be carefully dealt with, else we become mentally unbalanced beings whose regard for the actual relationship and interaction we so much desire is replaced with only a facade of the real deal.

Shirley Cramer CBE, RSPH said that “Social media has become a space in which we form and build relationships, shape self-identity, express ourselves, and learn about the world around us; it is intrinsically linked to mental health.”

I couldn’t agree more. We have built our lives around it so much so there is arguably nothing we can do without the social media. Human interaction is very vital, however, much of these don’t seem to be of importance when people can successfully hide behind their computers and phone screens. And since it is possible to claim anonymity online, it is quite easy to fool people with lots of fake contents.

We are made to relate with one another, to share our experiences with people, to help one another. Even though all of these can be done via social media, the touch of human feeling which gives a sense of real involvement, mindedness, concern, and care are all missing in action. Personally, I really prefer interacting with people face to face, taking note of their facial expression, gestures, body language amongst other things. I might not necessarily have to say a lot of things, but the mere fact that the other party is present for the conversation makes me happy because I know there and then that every little detail, every bit of expression will be captured, something that is not possible with social media interaction.

In a survey by the RSPH and the Young Health Movement; #StatusOfMind, it was reported that the usage of social media is linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep. These issues weren’t part of the plan when these social media platforms were designed in the first place, but now, we can’t overlook the fact that they are worth looking into.

I know you have lots of things to do online, be it catching up with friends and family, business related, career, sports, and so on. You will need to take a break when you start noticing some of these symptoms in yourself:

1. When social media becomes the only thing you are involved in every now and then, then you need a break. Don’t get it all wrong, social media is a good thing, a wonderful revolution that not only has changed our interaction with ourselves, it has also opened up new ways to do things. 

2. When meeting people in real life doesn’t seem to be a thing of joy to you, you really need a break. You now lose interest easily whenever you are having a conversation with another human but come alive the moment you are behind your screens.

3. When you no longer enjoy real social interaction i.e when relating to people is more of compulsion. You feel burdened each time you talk to people face to face.

4. When you begin to neglect your immediate human relationship for social media folks. 

No one needs to tell you that all you see on social media isn’t as it is. Some of those contents are fake, they have been edited hence the perfection they portray. Take time out to work on your social skills, your interaction with people around you. Do well to help when called upon. 

Take the needed break from social media. Start with a day, i.e 24 hours. This is not too much to ask for your sanity and mental state. After you have successfully done this, increase it to 48 hours and continue that way. It might be difficult at first, but trust it won’t hurt you, to say the least.