The perks & perils of social media
A lot has already been covered about this burning topic. With newer challenges emerging, a lot more needs to be covered, understood and put to practice. Social medias, especially for the younger generation, and more so for bright students with academic pursuits in top international study destinations, could be both – bane and a boon.
No; this will not be session of grandfatherly sermons, but rather matter-of-fact observations about the good and bad the Instagrams, Facebooks and YouTubes of the world.
Undoubtedly, the internet is a wonderful place. It’s an inexhaustible resource of information and knowledge. On almost anything and everything. A couple of smart searches and voila; what you seek appears in front of you.
Social media is no different – there are posts, reels, videos, blogs, stories on almost every topic. It can be put to good use as a research tool for those who are perhaps pursuing let’s say; MBA from a renowned college in U.K., STEM programs in the U.S. or students pursuing ICT in Ireland.
We are sure you know that now even WhatsApp has banking features; so do many other social media platforms. Paying utility bills, making reservation at a restaurant, booking a movie show or tickets for a music festival – convenience offered by social medias is second to none.
A word of caution – Use banking and / or payment functions only through trusted platforms.
Staying away from family for long periods could be an emotional downer. Thanks to the social media though, friends and family get to check your reels and posts, go on a live video call, share experiences. This is one of the biggest perks of digital age – no distance is now long enough.
Another positive aspect of digital apps and tools is engaging oneself in causes – from fundraising to social awareness and everything else in between. A student who may have completed Masters Program in France for example, can donate his / her books as he / she pursues Doctorate. He / she can also seek advise on pooling funds for PhD.
Voices can be raised for saving polar bears and red pandas. Online petitions can be signed to compel authorities to look into child abuse. Just get on your fav social media platform!
The digital age has given a humongous rise to remote education and employment opportunities. Who would have thought that Study-Work-From-Home during COVID and post-COVID era would transform education and professional equations and experiences?
Social media was the saviour during those lockdown days!
Every time you see notifications of your post – likes, shares, comments – your brain releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical associated with reward. You are trapped into believing that getting even more notifications would be even more rewarding.
A harmless post soon becomes habit, a habit turns into compulsive behaviour. You are trapped!
The flip side can also be true. Not getting enough likes and ‘good’ comments on a picture or a video, could be discouraging and lead to negative self-image. Selfie-holics are more vulnerable to this, as many of them link self-worth to their physical appearance.
Social media then becomes a tool for promoting and perpetuating this sort of negative behaviour among others. Sad.
Fear-on-missing-out! No, it is not something that this writer has conjured up from thin air – FOMO is very real, and it affects young and the not-so-young alike.
Checking Instagram and Facebook every few minutes in a desperation to confirm if you’ve missed out on some posts, or likes and comments is a worrying condition that has spread fast like COVID. And there seems to be no cure for this either, except self-restraint.
It is probably the worst outcome of irresponsible social media use. In many instances, cyberbullying has led to suicides.
Online bullies believe they can get away with anything heinous – and they usually do. While it is deplorable, nothing can be done about such idiots; although ignoring them would be the wisest thing to do.
It is true that digital age has transformed the way we live and interact with others. There would be more similar transformations in times to come. How we put these digital tools to use would be totally upon us.