The news and social media are very popular. We love to hear about all the drama of life on the news. Unfortunately, the news isn’t designed to be helpful, it’s designed to get as many people watching it as possible.
We also like to know what our friends, family, coworkers, enemies, and exes are up to on social media. Social media is designed to be addictive. Social media companies want you to stay engaged as long as possible. It’s the best thing for their revenue.
See how the news and social media could be harming you:
1. Your brain focuses on negative news and situations. Your brain is largely preoccupied with keeping you alive. This means it pays extra close attention to negative situations and news. The positive stuff isn’t going to hurt you and is quickly ignored.
When your brain is focused on negative information, you’re not going to feel your best.
2. Social media leads to comparisons. Your best friend from high school just bought a brand-new car. Your coworker just bought a brand-new house with a swimming pool. Your neighbor is on vacation in Tahiti. Social media is there to make sure you know all about it.
It's hard not to compare your life to everyone else’s on social media. When it seems like your life pales by comparison, you're bound to feel negatively about your life.
3. Social media and the news are distracting. Social media and the News are designed to capture your attention. The longer that they're able to keep you and everyone else looking, the more money they make through advertising. Both have the intention of being addicting.
It's not easy to accomplish anything when you're distracted on a regular basis.
4. Social media and the news are misleading. Most of the people on social media are not being honest about their lives. They're attempting to present the best possible version of their lives to you.
The news isn't much better. For example, Fox News presents the news in a way that appeals to a conservative audience. MSNBC presents the news in a way that appeals to a liberal audience. Neither does a good job of telling the whole story.
5. They both have the potential to be great time wasters. It's easy to spend a lot of time scrolling through social media feeds and watching the news on TV. All these activities can be entertaining, but they're rarely productive.
6. Both can be depressing. Social media and the news can lead to depressive feelings. The news is negative because it's more interesting to watch. Social media leads you to compare your life to those that seem to be doing better than you are.
7. Social media can lead to bullying. Social media provides an easy way to bully others. Don't believe that this only happens to teenagers. Adults that would normally behave in a responsible manner find it easy to mistreat others while online.
8. Social media has been linked to depression, anxiety, and body image issues. Several studies have shown that social media use can be damaging to mental health.
Consider limiting your news consumption to print or online news where you can pick and choose the stories that are meaningful to you. You’ll save time and your sanity.
Limit social media to your family and closest friends. If you believe that even this level of social media is having negative effects, avoid these websites and apps altogether. You survived just fine without social media for years.
“The very existence of social media is predicated on humankind's primitive drive of attention seeking. And when they successfully monetize your attention, they end up with billions of dollars and you end up with a screwed up mental state. And if we don't do anything about it now, the next generation will be a generation of mentally unstable glass creatures.” - Abhijit Naskar