Social networks, search engines and instant messengers have become an integral part of our life. We use them for free in exchange for a small amount of discreet advertising, and this might seem like a win-win deal. But every day there is more and more news about the dangers of social networks, users complain of addiction, anxiety, depression, and we can trace that the number of mental disorders and suicides among teenagers has only been growing since 2011.
A few years ago, it was impossible to imagine that someone would buy Instagram followers in order to become more popular. Now this is a very popular solution among many bloggers.
To determine the harm of social networks, it is necessary to determine the principle of operation of social services, how users interact with them, assess the impact and use of human weaknesses.
Platform and Marketing
If we talk about the initial motives for creating social networks, then such services were created based on interest and good intentions. The creators had a desire to simplify life, to facilitate the search and systematization of information, to give a person the tools that will help him in life. Great convenience and opportunities attracted a huge number of people, including creative ones, who used the services in order to share their creativity, communicate and bring new ideas to life within the platform. At the time, they still didn’t have to buy real Instagram followers to get attention.
The novelty and freshness attracted even more viewers’ eyes, and at the same time, marketers and advertisers who are interested in human attention and how to retain it. Marketing and advertising have started to come to these platforms bringing in big bucks for app creators, and big bucks contribute to less ethical ways to get attention.
Social media is a real drug
Research shows that digital addiction brings about the same changes as traditional addictions. Constant addictive behavior triggers the release of dopamine, as well as a protein responsible for addiction. Ordinary pleasures no longer stimulate a person, life looks gray and uninteresting, but at the same time habitual addictions cause hyper stimulation. From this addictive behavior, the prefrontal cortex shrinks and with it willpower also fades.
It is also worth mentioning that it is easier for the adult generation to get rid of addiction, in contrast to adolescents and children, who have had to use smartphones during the greatest neurocysticercosis and dopamine production.
Gradually, all the harm in the form of anxiety, stress and depression will become a familiar companion for the younger generation. If social networks were the equivalent of smoking, then we would live in a world where everyone starts smoking at the age of 10 and there is not a single social group that does not do that.
We are the first generation to use social media so actively. And we don’t fully understand its effect on our own brain. Using services created by engineers in order to attract attention, we get stimulation thought out to every detail. And we ultimately do not know how our body, our psyche will react to such an impact, and whether we will be able to find ourselves in addiction or get stuck to such an extent that there will be no opportunity to critically look at our situation.