Balance and moderation are needed in pretty much all components of our lives. As an organization promoting Instagram sustainability and growth, why would we support ‘time off,’ or time off-line? Bad business, right? We tell you to post, like, share, add images, share images, take images…..
Instagram growth can be healthy when you incorporate this balance. Too much of anything is unhealthy. Today, we are looking at unhealthy patterns online and scientific evidence. Many use the online environment to escape their social struggles, especially youth. As a social responsibility, we want to engage the reader who may be on the verge of addiction, or may know someone using the online environment to escape real-world struggles. BALANCE becomes vital in this capacity. What we want you to learn from these findings is a new level of awareness, one where you are better-able to balance your social media use with healthy patterns. Let’s have a look at what we found…
Networking is aligned with exposure, which is connected with success. The idea of networking is viewed as innovative and equally positive in society. As one’s network expands, opportunities are going to expand, as well. When transitioning to the Internet and the idea of networking as connected with social media (“social networking”) this idea becomes enhanced. While there are major opportunities for networking using social media and the Internet, one must explore the dangers for those who are socially-inadequate. This is the purpose of a study by Campbell, Cummings & Hughes, where the authors explore the potential dangers and problems that emerge from social networking as a replacement for communication and interpersonal relationships in a real world (offline) setting.
ARE YOU MORE CONFIDENT ONLINE?
The problem emerges when one who has difficulties in the social environment seeks interpersonal relationships online. Now, this is a problem when one is trying to cope with poor social skills, where the online environment is viewed as low-risk. While one expands his or her social circle online, the goal is to become more socially-adequate. The problem, however, is that the online environment and social networking are not a cure for social issues, which will still exist.
The purpose of the study is to demonstrate the adverse implications of having too strong of an online presence. The participants who were depressed prior to putting in this effort online, or faced social anxiety, saw that this would actually increase moving forward. The implications have a major societal purpose. That is, those who are looking for an escape from reality will find that the online environment does not curb social anxiety, depression, or other social disorders. Rather, the online environment will enhance the burden.
LET’S GET SCIENTIFIC….
The researchers recruited a sample size of 188 participants over the Internet. Pencil and paper tests were administered to an offline sample group of 27 undergraduate university students, who were regular Internet users. Tests were aligned with the methods, where these are proven tests for anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses found common for those who show increased Internet use, and decreased interpersonal relationships in the real world social environment. The purpose of the research, and these methods, is to assess whether levels of depression would increase as a result of enhanced Internet use, and decreased communication in the social environment.
The findings are not concrete. There are those who believe that their relationships have increased due to Internet use, and the “chat” features on various social networking sites, such as Facebook or Instagram. Still, there are those who are looking from an escape from reality and the social circles where they have failed. The findings argue that these individuals are likely to have even more anxiety and depression online, as they have not established the social skills necessary in the real world. This problem is also assessed by other studies, where the initial satisfaction with online relationships, even casual, is only temporary.
AM I BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR?
The initial satisfaction of the Internet can be overwhelming for one who struggles in real-world social environments. One using social networking to engage others begins to discover that it is easier to hold a conversation online as there is limited risk online, compared with the risks of a face-to-face interaction. Confidence grows as one is encouraged to “chat” with people online, either as friends or in an attempt to develop an intimate relationship. Here, the signs and symptoms of depression become less overwhelming as the online environment creates social situations not available in the real world.
In the study by Stieger & Burger, the avid Internet (social networking) user has abandoned the traditional social environment because the online environment brings optimism in a low-risk environment. Yet, the avid Internet user is going to find difficulty in sustaining this optimism, because the real world struggles have not been dealt with. The user begins developing a false sense of confidence and self-esteem; here, the symptoms are at risk of becoming even more overwhelming moving forward as the core issue has not been deal with, but moved aside due to the temporary satisfaction.
DON’T LOSE TOUCH WITH THE REAL WORLD
The online social environment is dynamic. There are those who will find that it is a replacement for society. Yet, this is only temporary, where the study finds that these results are not typical for one who is suffering from anxiety and depression. The Internet presents critical opportunities for growth and learning. For those who have not learned at a sustainable capacity in the real world, however, the Internet can further burden development. The study is an example of how social networking is a mirage for social development for those who are looking for a low-risk way to develop their social skills.
Campbell, A. J., Cummings, S. R., & Hughes, I. (2006). Internet Use by the Socially Fearful: Addiction or Therapy?Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 9(1), 69-81.
Stieger, S., & Burger, C. (2010). Implicit and Explicit Self-Esteem in the Context of Internet Addiction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 13(6), 681-688.