Social Media And Loneliness| The Growing Global Threat

Wao, She is dining in a 5 star.

He is out on a vacay.

But why am I getting this unseen scar?

Is it FOMO that they say?

SIMRA SAJID

 

Social Media Causes Loneliness

Social media is getting almost synonymous with loneliness these days. 

Ironically, Social Media has been made to interact, to connect, and to be a healthy pastime. But Social Media and loneliness move hand in hand now. Miserably, the data we are getting regarding Social Media playing a pivotal role in loneliness, depression, and FOMO is escalating.

Social media is becoming the source and cause of loneliness. This is alerting. Presently, we have got numerous data that hints towards rising loneliness with rising social media usage. 

 

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According to the second annual Cigna U.S. Loneliness Index, which is based on a survey of 10,000 adults, depicts three out of every five adults, or 61%, report that they sometimes or always feel lonely. 

Loneliness has been reported 71% in heavy social media users and 51% in light social media users. That’s a big chunk.   

Over 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide. Nonetheless, loneliness is rising like anything. 

 

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Reasons For Loneliness In Social Media Users

There are several reasons for feeling lonely while having numerous accounts on several social media platforms. Social media is spreading loneliness rather than solving this issue. Underneath are the top reasons for loneliness among social media users.

1 – Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

Merriam-Webster defined FOMO as “Fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.” 

FOMO is basically a kind of fear of regret that leads to anxiety that one might lose out on any new opportunities, experiences, events, or something that would work for that being.

Dr. Dan Herman, a marketing strategist, first observed the phenomenon in 1996, and the term FOMO was coined by author Patrick J. McGinnis.  

Fear Of Missing Out is making its root deeper in us because of the availability of different social media platforms that would allow us to have a look anywhere at any given time. 

It is a concerning state that would make us believe that others are having fun without you and, if you fail to continuously keep a check on them you might be left alone. 

Social media is made for every kind of social engagement be it putting out your content, liking others’ pictures, commenting on their post, checking their stories, sharing geographical locations, and a lot more.  Consequently, you forget to live in the moment. 

 

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FOMO affects you slowly and gradually, and it takes the joy out of your life and throws you into a life of fear of regret. Further, it led to negative social and emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety, inferiority complex, and loneliness. 

Let’s see how many of us are its prey. 

Imagine it is a late Saturday night, and you are done with whatever chores you are supposed to do but while doing it, all you have in mind is the fear of missing out on any particular opportunity like your friends are dining in a brand new restaurant in the town without you or your neighbours are enjoying the weekend and you are busy managing the odd things.

That is why you keep checking your social media sites for latest updates and informations. The story doesn’t end here that they are enjoying, but it sprawls into an uglier thought that you are not all that lucky.

Let’s look at the second example. Assume when you open your social media, you encounter a couple of your friends are talking about the latest OTT releases (for now say Squid Game) (Oops I haven’t watched it yet) and you haven’t watched it and it triggers your FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. It also triggers a negative emotion of lagging behind from others.

It further leads you to frustrating emotional experiences in you like loneliness, depression, disrupted sleep, fatigue, and emotional inconsistencies. 

These are the two amazing books related to this topic:

 

 

2 – Idealism Vs Realism

As soon as we open any social media, we come across spotless sparkling pictures of people having a hell lot of a fun. Suddenly we fell one step from where we were when we opened that application. 

Previously, we were feeling low, we went on social media to lift us up, but, paradoxically, we feel even worse. 

 

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You feel that “you are the unhappiest and most ill-fated person on the face of the surface of the earth.” This propelled us to answer the two most important questions that originated out of this feeling. And they are the following.

Where does that feeling come from?

This feeling crept in because you feel everyone is happy, having fun, and are blessed with the best but always remember whatever they post on their social media is about their ideal self, it is not their real self. 

Nobody will ever love to post about their low phase. How many times have you seen that your buddy posted a pic just after getting up in the morning rather they regularly post after dressing up! Isn’t it true?

People strain and put their best and most highlighted part of the day.  And you are committing the biggest mistake by comparing their highlighted lives with your regular life.

You are entangled in the trap of Idealism versus Realism. 

Where will that feeling lead to? 

This will lead you towards a life full of stress, anxiety, envy, insecurity, inferiority complex, depression, loneliness, emotional instabilities, and at worse suicidal tendencies. 

Because you feel you are not good enough. You are not smart enough. You are not enjoying your life. You are companionless. And all hell broke loose on you. 

I have written a poem on Idealism versus Realism and, I’ll put it here to give you a better insight. Here we go.

I Thought You Were A Mountain!

 

I thought you were a mountain,

I can lay upon you with blind faith,

However, your pinnacle broke and fell on me.

 

I thought you would become a shield,

From the dark, violent sun rays,

But you left me to sun’s mercy.

 

I thought you would wrap me, 

preserving me from the ferocious tempest,

But you left me bare amidst the chaos.

 

I thought you would hold me high,

And bless my eyes with soulful spectacle,

But you left nothing besides murk.

 

How I pity my thought,

I thought you were a mountain,

But you emerged as a broken pinnacle.

 

How I pity my thought,

They exposed me to an ideal world,

And spun me away from the real world.

 

SIMRA SAJID

 

This poem signifies that you cook up certain things in your own head by just having a look. You need to be conscious that there are two sides to a coin similarly, there are two sides to an individual’s story too. 

 

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One is their real world and the other is their ideal world. People love to flaunt their ideal selves because the real self is messy. The thicker the gap between their real and ideal selves, the greater the frustration.

The protagonist is swayed away by the ideal world and left the path of the real world. But that being has been hit by reality. 

That individual ‘thought’ it to be a mountain with all its features but it turned out to be its broken pinnacle. Likewise, you also ‘think’ people are having fun, they are beautiful, lucky, and have got a lush life. 

Darling, you are highly mistaken, it’s just their side of the story and they are narrating it. So just chill.

3 – Cyberbullying

It is a form of cyber harassment that has been done online using social media. It is also known as online bullying. A large mass of teenagers either are being bullied or are harassing someone online.

Generally, it includes threatening, sexual remarks, spreading rumors, private information, cyberstalking, trolling, and hate speech. And it is done with the intention of hurting someone. 

 

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A 2018 Pew Research study found that a majority of teens (59%) experienced some form of cyberbullying. A more comprehensive study from 2020 shows that this isn’t unique to teens, with around two-thirds of adults under 30 have experienced online harassment.

Social media works as a catalyst for cyberbullying. The greater time you spend on social media, the vulnerable you become to cyberbullying.

Sufferers of cyberbullying experience lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and various negative emotional responses, including being scared, frustrated, angry, depressed, or lonely.

 

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How To Overcome Loneliness Caused By Social Media

Loneliness caused by social media is increasing and concerning. It will become fatal over a period of time if it would be left unchecked. Here are some top ways to tackle loneliness caused by social media.

1 – Acknowledge That You Are Lonely

When you don’t understand the problem, then you don’t go to kill it in the real sense. When problems are hazy, solutions are always doubtful.

Acknowledging that you have an issue and you are a sufferer of ‘loneliness’ solves half of the problem. Now, once you know you are lonely, you’ll have a paradigm shift then you start hunting for triggers of your problem and their solutions.

Admitting is difficult but it is also essential to cure any form of disorder you have. It will give you more strength to handle your situation. So give yourself some time to ponder over your condition and accept the problem. 

 

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2 – Joy Of Missing Out (JOMO)

JOMO is an antidote to FOMO. To fight FOMO, Kristen Fuller, M.D. of Psychology Today suggested that social media users should embrace JOMO or the joy of missing out. JOMO will do wonders for you if you implement it into your life. It will replace fear with joy. 

When you undergo FOMO then you are fearing the possibility of the event happening. But when you embrace JOMO, you experience joy at the moment. You are enjoying what you are doing. You are loving your company. 

 

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Regardless, of fearing others might be having fun without you, you are making the most out of the time. Accept that you will always be missing something.

3 – Practice Mindfulness

Practice mindfulness as much and as better as you can. Live in the moment. Be conscious of your feelings, thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Focus on your present state. 

It will help you heal.

4 – Practice Gratitude

Trust me if you know the art of gratitude, you are at peace and no one can snatch it. Being grateful for the things, people, opportunities, events, senses, and for yourself will assist you to combat social media and loneliness.

5 – Do Not Overconnect

Maybe you don’t every damn time need to know where they are hanging out, with whom, what meals they are having, what cinema they are watching, trending reels they are making, and anything for that matter. 

 

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Do not stuff your brain with needless information. It’s not a dustbin, it’s your dear brain. Show some love. What you feel is your connection with others, in reality, is your interruption.

You don’t need to keep a record of whatever your friends and families are doing you have got other important stuff to concentrate on. 

Try to connect within a limit and save yourself from the digital bombardment.

Always remember that whatever you perceive, that must be a product of your own conclusion. That must not be spurred by the highlighted images from others life.

6 – Be Committed To Something Productive

Your purpose guides you. It also means that your lack of purpose misguides you.

Usually, when we have nothing important to do we pop ourselves on social media. We keep scrolling and wasting our valuable time and filling ourselves with feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem. 

If we have a goal to accomplish to reach our desirous aim in our lives then we become conscious and calculative of our time. 

We should keep in mind the end result and work intensely for that. Have role models to motivate yourself, surround yourself with visual reminders and affirmations of what you are working towards. It will work in your favor.

7 – Digital Detoxification

You need a break from social media. See how can you control yourself for a day when you are not using any social media and extend the time period as you get a hang of it. Initially, it will be challenging but if you practice it persistently, you will surely have a beneficial outcome.

The idea is not to take you away from the social media, but the idea is to take control of your life.

 

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Make your cell phone or your social media work for you, you don’t work for them. You will get some time for self-introspection and self-reflection if you pay attention to yourself for a few days.

You get to know what is good for you and what isn’t. You’ll sleep peacefully and you’ll be more focused.

This article is based on Social Media and Loneliness and the reasons why Social Media causes Loneliness. I have given some effective tips to tackle loneliness caused by social media.

Do give it a read and kindly drop your valuable remarks down in the comment box. I’ll surely go through it and update my work accordingly.

Thank You!

 

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Simra Sajid

Simra Sajid was a child prodigy. Her parents and teachers recognized her innate ability to convert thoughts and imaginations into rhythmic dancing words. She won many accolades in her school life and since then the journey never stopped. She is extremely in-tune with how others are feeling and her writing explores the depth of human nature. She has penned down approximately 85 written works, mainly poems. She is a professional writer and pursuing her higher studies in English literature. You can Google her name to find more of her works and you can find her poetry on Instagram at (simrasajid2011).

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