Six dangers of overuse of social media


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According to the United Nations, nearly 47% of the world’s population has a registered social network account. The social network seems to have really become a network now. Countless people communicate with each other and live conveniently in this network separated by thousands of miles. But at the same time, this network is also creating “new patients” for this society. A recent study by the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, found that excessive use of social media can cause harm in six areas, bringing many risks to health and society.

Countless people are attracted and “controlled” by social media

On WeChat, there are family members, colleagues, and customers who “we” you from time to time, and there are always people in the group calling you to help “cut a knife”, and the circle of friends is endless. On Weibo, people are keen on chasing stars and hot spots. On the short video platform, live shopping, taking selfies with the same style, watching anchors show their talents, sharing health videos… With the blessing of the Internet, people’s social behaviors are more diverse and richer than in the past. In fact, many instant messaging apps are not a simple chat tool, but an information platform that integrates communication, information, entertainment, search, e-commerce, online office and other services. On these platforms, self-expression is elevated to unprecedented heights, everyone is a “media”, and every voice is spread and amplified on social networks.

The 48th “Statistical Report on Internet Development in China” by the China Internet Network Information Center shows that as of June 2021, the number of netizens in my country has reached 1.011 billion, the per capita online time per week is 26.9 hours, and the Internet penetration rate has reached 71.6%. At this very moment, 983 million people are using instant messaging, 888 million people are watching short videos, 638 million people are focusing on live broadcasts, 469 million people are ordering takeaways, and 325 million people are using online education. Convenient and affordable.

Social media is also subtly reshaping people’s lives and even the spiritual world. Many netizens said that when they were studying or working, they always picked up their mobile phones and clicked them to see if there was any new news in the circle of friends; on WeChat and Weibo, when someone liked their comments, they could not wait to reply; If you show off your wealth and sell badly, you may follow suit; in social media, you have encountered cyber violence and even privacy leaks. Statistics show that as of June 2020, the usage rate of WeChat Moments has reached 85%, and the usage rate of Qzone and Weibo is around 40%. In other words, the vast majority of people are trapped in social networks without us even realizing it. Tang Yonglong, a professor at the Department of Psychology at Southwest University, said that social media has a certain psychological addiction mechanism, and everyone behaves differently, whether it is light or heavy. Addiction is influenced by individual factors and environmental factors. For example, some people are overly anxious, avoid reality, have strong curiosity, lack social support, like virtual stimulation, etc. Such people can easily become heavy social media addicts. There are also businesses and platforms that will choose what they like based on big data algorithms, so you can’t stop.

Tang Yonglong said that in life, more of us are invisibly attracted and “controlled” by social media. People use social media mainly to meet friends, find a sense of belonging, interact with friends, enhance emotions, and keep abreast of news hotspots. But why can’t I put my phone down? This is because, when we use social media, there are always many unpredictable returns. We don’t know whether the next message or notification will cause likes in the circle of friends, and we look forward to the so-called “affirmation” and “mutual likes”. , this random reward makes the individual’s response last longer, becoming an involuntary sticky use and online social addiction.

Virtual social is dangerous

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney in Australia found that excessive use of social media also brings about 46 harms in six major areas, these six areas are the cost of social interaction, cyberbullying, inefficiency, spam, privacy issues and security threats. The respondents gave 100% approval to 28 of the 46 negative items.

Increase the cost of social interaction. One is cognitive costs, such as negative emotions and psychological problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and jealousy. The second is the cost of execution, such as wasting time and money. Yuan Yonggui, director of the Department of Psychology and Psychiatry at Zhongda Hospital Affiliated to Southeast University, said that social media has replaced real relationships. Although it has improved communication efficiency, it has extended the time of use and encouraged unnecessary comparisons.

For example, showing off their wealth in the circle of friends and showing off luxury cars and mansions have caused many people to have hatred for the rich and inferiority complex. The false and beautiful illusion created by Internet celebrities is also contributing to body anxiety and appearance anxiety. A study in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health confirmed that social media dependence is more psychologically harmful to girls. Couples who frequently use social media are more likely to experience betrayal, breakup and divorce, according to a study in the United States.

Cyberbullying or incidents of violence. Cyberbullying is aggression (such as abuse, harassment and crime) committed by an individual or group of attackers. Anonymity fuels violence. Yuan Yonggui said: “In the outpatient clinic, I encounter patients with psychological problems caused by social networks every day. Once an online writer came to my outpatient clinic, because she was abused and questioned by the readers, she was depressed and wanted to commit suicide; some middle school students In the class group, being criticized by the teacher, he became mentally negative.

” In recent years, a word “social death”, or “social death” for short, has become popular, and this “keyboard injury” is sometimes called “digital murder”. For example, “the incident of molesting a little girl at the train station” caused a netizen who resembled the man on the video to suffer online violence, and it took a lot of effort to clear it up. “Deyang Female Doctor Suicide Case”, netizens surrounded the female doctor without knowing the whole picture, and even went to the female doctor’s unit and home to make trouble, causing her to swallow 300 Valium tablets under pressure.

Work-study efficiency is low. Social media can help us broaden our horizons and increase our knowledge, and it also has a certain negative impact on work and academic performance. New research shows that American college students spend about one-fifth of their time in the classroom, with social media taking up the rest of the time, but students’ academic performance is inversely proportional to the time they spend.

Spam is rampant. “Spam” refers to content that is irritating and upsetting, such as sexual, illegal content, false, negative, false information, etc. The Institute of Gerontology of Renmin University of China has investigated the online community usage habits of 1,113 middle-aged and elderly people in 27 provinces and cities and found that more than half of the middle-aged and elderly people do not know how to distinguish false information. Yuan Yonggui said that false information can easily mislead the elderly and young children, such as lottery draws, pop-up windows, game links, etc., and it is easy to be deceived.

Privacy is publicly violated. In the era of network information, some enterprises, institutions and even individuals collect, illegally obtain, overuse, and illegally trade personal information at will, intruding on people’s peace of life and endangering people’s lives, health and property safety. Tang Yonglong pointed out that many social media apps require users to “authorize” access to personal data, address books, GPS positioning, etc., and privacy is almost gone. Some also require face recognition, registration ID number, and home address. Once such information is leaked, it is easy to threaten the personal and property safety of individuals.

Security is threatened. Security threats refer to breaches of confidentiality, integrity and availability of information and information systems. Any damage, such as interception of information, fraudulent information and copyright infringement, is considered a security threat. In the first half of this year, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s cybersecurity threat and vulnerability information sharing platform received a total of 49,000 cybersecurity incidents. The proportion of netizens who had personal information leaked was the highest at 22.8%, 17.2% suffered from online fraud, 9.4% suffered from viruses on their devices, and 8.6% suffered from account or password theft.

Improve the media literacy of the whole people

At present, the number of social apps is conservatively estimated to have exceeded 270,000. As of June 2021, there were 158 million netizens aged 6-19 in my country, accounting for 15.7% of the total netizens; 20-29 years old accounted for 17.4%; the largest number were 30-39 years old, accounting for 20.3%. Netizens aged 20-29 have the highest usage rates of online music, online video, and online live broadcasts among all age groups.

Yuan Yonggui emphasized that social media has many benefits, but not everyone is suitable for using social media, and social networks cannot completely replace real social relationships. Among them, special attention should be paid to caring for minors. Teenagers are the future of the country. In order to better guide them to go online and create a positive and healthy online environment, government departments, social groups, enterprises, schools and other sectors of society should take active actions. Students should adjust their social media exposure behavior, families should weaken the atmosphere of social media exposure, and schools should strengthen media literacy education for teenagers.

Countries around the world are aware of the dangers of social media to teenagers. In September of this year, the US Facebook (social platform) company suspended its “Instagram” (picture social platform) experience program for young people under the age of 13. The UK has introduced the strictest new online regulations, stipulating that minors cannot like on social media. Australia plans to draft the “Online Privacy Protection Act”, which stipulates that social media must give priority to the protection of minors, and companies that violate regulations will face penalties of tens of millions of yuan.

my country promulgated the “Data Security Law of the People’s Republic of China” in June this year, and in August, the “Personal Information Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China” was reviewed and approved. Among them, the personal information of minors under the age of 14 is classified as “sensitive” personal information. Recently, the Central Cyber ​​Security and Informatization Commission issued the “Outline of Action for Improving the Digital Literacy and Skills of the People”, and also made arrangements for improving the digital literacy and skills of the whole people.

At the law enforcement level, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and other departments continued to carry out special rectification. Enterprises should raise the awareness of application developers, and application developers and consultants should understand that technical characteristics will affect users’ digital behavior changes, avoid potential negative effects, pay attention to protecting users’ personal information, and beware of information leakage.

Tang Yonglong said that in the rational use of social media, we should try not to delay study and work time; improve media literacy, do not spread rumors, do not violence others online, and do not invade others’ privacy; be alert to online fraud traps, and download all kinds of social media carefully. Close applications that authorize personal privacy to prevent phishing software; actively study legal regulations such as the Personal Information Protection Law, understand rights protection methods, pay attention to destroying documents and materials with personal information, and do not arbitrarily discard them.


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