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Are You A Social Media Addict?

If you're a social media addict and your addiction is getting worse, there's a reason for that: Most of the major social network companies as well as social content creators are working every day to make their networks addictive so that consumers can't resist them

Aug. 13, 2017, 2:52 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 11, NO. 02,August 11, 2017 (Shrawan 27,2074)

A few decades ago, smoking was widely advertised and seen by many as an elegant thing. People smoked almost everywhere; at meetings, elevators, hospitals, airplanes, bars, etc. When the tobacco industry and their lobbying politicians were forced to bend and finally admit that smoking is harmful to health, they imposed advertising restrictions and bans. Many of us still smoke in spite of all these prohibitions and health risks. What if they impose such restrictions on social media giants such as Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Apple and Twitter, which are  doing the same thing as the tobacco industry did a few decades ago? We have seen that a  strong dependence on social media is causing social problems. Social media addiction may be as bad as tobacco or drug.

We live in a fast-paced world where information is available at the touch of a button and we are bombarded with stimuli from different sources. Teenagers have grown up in this  changing environment and have never known anything else. Social media has become an integral part of our lives. Social networks have expanded greatly in the recent years, and they are of great value to us to stay in touch with our loved ones. But if these social networks begin take over our real life,we should be concerned. Spending so much time on something that has no return on investment can  affect the quality of our life. Social networking sites may be more addictive than a chocolate cake. Cigarettes and whiskey are minuscule compared to social media addiction.

If you're a social media addict and your addiction is getting worse, there's a reason for that: Most of the major social network companies as well as social content creators are working every day to make their networks addictive so that  consumers can't resist them.  Both adults and children are forcibly thrust upon something that will cause addiction just as much  as tobacco.

Globally, there are 2.34 billion social media users . This number is expected to grow close to three billion by 2020. The duration of the normal Facebook visit is 20 minutes. More than 510 000 comments and 293 000 status updates  are made daily on Facebook.

Social media is  all over our lives. Wherever we go, we have a big and colorful world in our pockets. We are so dense that we owe it to the social media that our relationship with many of the people we have not seen for years is still going on. We cannot meet, but we follow each other and communicate by moving away from real life. The number of people alienating themselves from reality is increasing. It has been reported that the development of technology and the addictive use of social media cause various disorders, called "e-sickness".

Nearly 30% of the world's population is actively using social media and this number is increasing day by day. We spend an average of 2 hours of our daily life on social media platforms,  tweeting, posting, sharing, or reading updated news.It is a new social disease, worsened by the development of technology and the flow of social information and misinformation online. For most  people, it is not easy to escape this digital addiction.

Social media is interesting, free, and endless. Social media is made as attractive as possible for users to grow and register themselves in this virtual world. 

Nepali teenagers also using the social media. Generally, Nepali users are increasing every year , be they adults and parents or  small children if they are able to access the social media.The latest technology   such as smartphones and tablets, and PCs have boosted the use of social media. Although all this development exposes people to more information, greater knowledge and better opportunities to use them, this is also causing a digital anxiety.

Digital detoxification .such as internet blocking  and deleting certain apps from your phone can help control the use of social media and reduce  anxiety.

Social media addiction is often much more intense compared to nicotine consumption.. Neglecting one's friends and family outside the virtual world, as well as recurring omissions in favor of Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks, are serious signs of social media addiction.Based on a survey, 40 percent of social media users are more concerned about maintaining social media networks than real meetings with friends. More than half of students and around two-thirds of young workers in the US cannot imagine a life without Internet. All this can only be solved through careful fundamental work. We already have detox clinics for smartphone addicts. These are the symptoms that passion for social networking is becoming a serious problem. If you are unable to break away from social networks such as Facebook or Snapchat, twitter, Instagram , you're not alone. Now there are psychotherapists who can help you. If you feel that you cannot refuse the temptation to surf Facebook or Instagram and other social  sites or are experiencing anxiety when you cannot check your smartphone or when there is no connection  to social networks, you are becoming  abnormally dependent on  virtual life.

The ideal thing to do would be to turn off the mobile at night and prioritize personal relationships rather than virtual ones. Social media addiction leads us to spend more time in the virtual world than we spend talking with people we love.
Online communication is not a problem but it is devoid of emotions and true tone. In the long run, it causes internet users to forget how to communicate with others. This is why people with social media addiction retreat from society. This behavior even ends up which  terminating relationships with family and friends.

According to NTA, there are 14.18 million internet subscribers in Nepal, which  is nearly 56 percent of the total population. Internet users have increased by upto 18.22 percent over the last year.  Cellphones  are  the third most traded commodity in Nepal after petroleum products and iron.

Technology  is making human life difficult 


We must address this issue carefully. Being careful  while using social media is very  improtant. The social media facilities indeed make it easy to connect at a great distance. But we also need to care about our real world, while getting connected to the virtual world. If one learns how to control him or herself, he or she can take advantage of the benefits of technology. You can create a gap  between social media and your real life relationships, and you can get rid of addiction.

According to the study, the excessive use of social media has had adverse effects on the mind. According to researchers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, the brain works to secure information during spare time. Sleep, hygiene and eating behavior suffers under the urge to be  constantly online.

Social networks do not teach dialogue because it is so easy to avoid controversy. Many people use social networks not to unite, not to broaden their horizons, but on the contrary, to lock themselves in what we call comfort zones, where the only sound that they hear is the echo of  own voice. The networks are very useful as they give very pleasant services, but they are a trap.

Go for  walks without  devices.  Use your phone for communication only when needed. Use limitation on digital devices. Gather somewhere with your friends and force yourself to chat face-to-face. Instead of checking Facebook, the first thing you  should do in the morning is to look out your window and then have  breakfast . Read books, newspapers, magazines on the bus or in any place when you have free time.

Fasting is very common throughout many cultures in the world. So let’s fast for social media.  Let’s not use social media for set intervals of time in which the person to miss all of the media and communication, ie, creating periods of "fasting" for a period of one day per week, or for a whole week dealing with the Internet and electronic media without the Internet. 

 Nepal is the world's most culturally rich country. Every other day we have festivals. Let's smile and celebrate every day like a festival minimizing use of electronic gadgets. Social media presents a virtual socialization to individuals who are the building blocks of society. These virtual socializers have made a virtual world out of a real world, a virtual society naturally a virtual element of society.

 Breakthroughs in social media devices and technologies have created an ironical situation. Touch screens make us lose touch with our people. We have a large friends list but most of us are friendless. Let's have a real conversation without abbreviation. ADD is rising faster than 4G. Turn off the screen, we have a finite existence, a number of days counted, do not waste your life being caught in the social media addiction. If we do not act now, technology will ultimately make us more antisocial. Are you willing to live your life, or let technology do it for you?



Deepak Raj Joshi.jpg

Deepak Raj Joshi

(The author is a lecturer and IT consultant. He also writes fiction under the name of Kapeed Joshi. He can be reached by email at info@dipakjoshi.com.np.)

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