How much time is too much time on social media?
According to a Pew Research study, 45% of teens admit that they are online “almost constantly.” So, if kids are online less than a couple of hours a day, they’re doing really well. But for those who spend three to six hours or more a day, that’s when they’re getting into iffy territory. It’s interfering with the time they could be spending with other people or doing things that help with their developmental growth, like engaging in school and extracurricular activities.
Engaging in the world around you and having social interaction with others help to develop a sense of being part of the community and doing things that enhance your feelings of competency around other people. This engagement is extremely beneficial for your personal growth and development, and it doesn’t happen when you’re online.
How does social media impact those with attention-deficit disorders?
Data show that those with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) can fall into the rabbit hole of more time on social media and less time being in the world. This is especially true when it comes to gaming, because of the way that gaming programs are created; they directly affect the reinforcement systems in the brain in such a way that they’re very stimulating and exciting. When you’re participating in online gaming, you’re experiencing things that make you feel good about yourself, but in reality you’re in isolation from actual face-to-face interactions with people.
Why is social isolation dangerous?
Because we live in a social world. It’s healthy for an individual to have at least one or two friends who listen to you, whom you can engage with, and have fun with. And isolation, especially isolation where you are in a world of watching Netflix, scrolling Instagram, or gaming, will increase anxiety and this sensation of unreality, which can give you a false sense of the way the world really works. If you stay online, you may get a false sense that the world is too hurtful or dangerous. A kid might feel, “There’s nothing out there for me. I can’t do anything. I might as well just lose myself in another season of whatever show this is.” And that’s not healthy. You don’t become a productive, contributing member of society.
How does social media impact sleep?
We know that using screens directly impacts your ability to get good quality of sleep. The bottom line is technology keeps you awake. The artificial light arouses your brain and disrupts the production of melatonin to induce sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is linked to increased anxiety, stress, depression, and also substance abuse. That’s why it’s so important to disconnect from all screens an hour or more before it’s time to go to sleep.
This is a big thing for the college students I work with. Many of them sleep with their phones either next to their beds or under their pillows. So, it’s vibrating or dinging all through the night, keeping them awake. Part of this is attributed to the notion of FOMO, or fear of missing out.
How is FOMO harmful?
Other than keeping you tethered to your phone all day every day, this fear of missing out encourages young people to constantly try to build up their social media profile in some way, which makes them take risks that can then put them in an awkward position or lead to bullying.