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Feeling Depressed? Blame the Time You Spend on Social Media

Feeling Depressed? Blame the Time You Spend on Social Media

Let’s face it. Social media sure does stir up emotions- of joy, some cheer and quite often sadness too. There are good reasons to have social media accounts. You could share daily tidbits with family and friends, or network with people of similar interests. But, here is something else that social media comes with. Its usage could spell a slew of powerful negative emotions too– all at a subconscious level and they transcend the keyboard.

From way back in 2006…

Remember the days of Orkut? Well, it was the first of its kind and created a lot of excitement. It sure did help me connect with long lost friends. It was simple and sweet. But we humans don’t like it that way, do we?

Slowly and steadily, a plethora of social media platforms to share practically everything in one’s life came up and they invaded my personal space. Life without them now seemed impossible. From why the neighborhood stray dogs barked all night, to the color of my friend’s sister’s friend’s wedding dress, social media fed me with my daily dose. My mobile flooded with feeds and would consume precious hours of my life when I would read random posts of people I seldom interacted with.

And soon began the problems – of excess social media usage. It first came in the form of reduced attention span and a decrease in productivity. I would refresh feeds and check for notifications often. Over time, the negative emotions began taking shape. I would be upset with my diminishing social reach due to networks bursting at the seams with users.

Was I also becoming cynical and jealous of people? Maybe, but that’s when I decided it’s time I handled the situation before it went for the worse.

Social Media- it is a way to network and keep in touch

But when it goes overboard, that’s when the negative thoughts seep in and one may end up with “Social Media Depression!” This is a more informal way to describe the depressive thoughts associated with the use of social media. This would encompass:

  • Social Media OCD– A typical Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where you feel the urge to constantly check your social media updates and feeds.
  • The Grass is Greener Feeling– It’s that feeling you get when you see happy pictures of others and sulk! It’s the feeling that everyone apart from you is happy.
  • The neglected and dejected feeling: “Damn! Why have I got lesser likes today?” The feeling of neglect when your post or pic isn’t noticed enough to get those likes.
  • Interpretation or is it misinterpretation? : “Why did he unfriend me? He dislikes me, I am sure”. Before you have a chance to obtain a reasonable explanation, your day is already ruined.

Much as it may seem the entire planet has taken shape to remain plugged in 24/7, the truth is we need to learn to take a break consciously from the digital world. It’s a much needed thing to take that social media detox on a regular basis, trust me the feel would be refreshing.

  • Turn of notifications from your phone/gadgets. Better still; remove those apps that keep beeping every time your friend likes a post. Restrict your usage to the laptop/desktop. It would prevent you from peeking into your gadget every 5 minutes.
  • Keep gadgets away from your dining table and definitely do not carry it with you to bed. Dinner tables are for family time, and a gadget should not be eating into that quality time. The same goes to the bed room. Keep them away; set a specific place in your home to access emails and notifications. Trust me you would sleep well and wake up fresh, instead of looking at your notifications the first thing in the morning.
  • Schedule your posts. If you are the kinds who have a lot to say and need to post them out regularly on social media, do schedule them in advance. There are apps available that help you do so.
  • Emails and replies could be done in batches. Not all of them require immediate responses.
  • Cut down on wasteful apps that do nothing but send you lame jokes. It’ll free up some room on your feed and you may spend time just seeing what your friends are actually up to.
  • And finally, give yourself some rest. Pause and breathe. The world out there is still beautiful, far more than the one on social media. Indulge in meaningful conversations with family and friends; go for a stroll and maybe day-dream too.

That break from social media would do you good, trust me!

*Image Source: Deccan Chronicle 

"Facebook pages created to attract pedophiles shut down after outrage".

"Facebook pages created to attract pedophiles shut down after outrage".

I read this headline in the morning newspaper. It kind off shook me up. What may seem as a harmless facebook post of our children, in reality it may not be so.

Child rights activists in Chennai have forced authorities to shut down two Facebook pages in Tamil created to attract pedophiles. The pages had photographs of young girls with a number of sexually explicit comments. They were spotted by social activists who immediately contacted the authorities to take it down. One of the blocked pages reportedly had over 3300 likes with comments full of sexual connotation.

Social media giant Facebook has a policy that does not allow nude pictures, but these pages used pictures of children in full clothes, there was nothing sleazy or objectionable about the images – the photos were the kind you and I would post of our children. So technically it doesn’t fall under the obscenity category and hence the website’s algorithm was probably unable to decipher. Also, Facebook was unable to pick up on these pages because both the page and the comments were largely in Tamil and it is difficult to identify regional language words.  The online predators could have taken those photographs from innocent posts uploaded by young children or their parents. This has sparked immense outrage all over the state.

Last week, similar pages surfaced in Kerala. After several complaints, the pages were pulled down. There were pictures of children from the age of 5 to 15 with sexually explicit comments. The cyber police had forwarded the complaint to Facebook and the page had been taken down.

social-interaction-graphic-cropped

But the big question here is, “In today’s world of Social Media interactions, how much should parents share and how much should they refrain?”

Most parents embrace social networks as a way of keeping family and friends scattered across the world constantly updated about the growing years of their young children. While we shouldn’t let paranoia take over our lives, we have to be very careful when doing so. Bear in mind:

  • Know how much to share. Never give away exact locations, school names and other such details.
  • Understand the importance of not tagging locations
  • Refrain from posting updates and pictures on a daily basis. It could entice someone within your circle.
  • Use stricter privacy settings

With the perversion and pedophilic individuals all across the web, great caution should be exercised.

Back From a Break… Back With a Bang

Back From a Break… Back With a Bang

So it was a week-long break for me and the kids… A week cut off from the world of the internet, social media and blogging. How hooked we are to this virtual world. I have spent the entire morning clearing emails, replying to comments on my blogs, tweeting and scrolling through Facebook. Phew!!! A good two hours gone by!!

And it was just a week of absence. The first few days of this holiday, made me feel jittery. I havent blogged, I hadn’t replied to mails. As the week slowly progressed, I kind off got used to it. I actually didnt really seem to miss anything… until this morning. S back i am at my desk. A lovely spring morning in Delhi. My gardens full a bloom with the most beautiful Dalias. My minds fresh with ideas. I so look forward to the next few weeks of my life. …

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