11 May 2014| Last updated on 19 April 2017
Is Social Media Hurting You?
Social media has become so ingrained in everyday life that it is hard to imagine the world without smartphones, 4G internet, and Wi-Fi, messaging and image apps, Facebook, Twitter and the countless other ways in which we communicate today. According to its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook was created to provide a quicker and easier way for people to communicate and share information. So, mission accomplished. Yet, despite all the positivity surrounding social media, have these technological advances had a negative impact on our health?
There is little doubt that the development of social media has enriched the lives of many people, families, companies, and organisations. Expats living in Dubai and around the world can now easily keep in touch with friends and family members, while the most tech-savvy among us can use a whole plethora of apps and websites to keep in constant contact with people. Social media helps to make the whole living-away-from-home scenario much easier to manage.
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For some, however, social media usage has become an obsession bordering on addiction. This is not to say that the numerous apps and programs we use are inherently addictive. They are not. They simply provide a service which affects people in different ways. People with personalities that seek out feelings of happiness, peer acceptance, euphoria, and joy can encounter those feelings through social media and ultimately use it for this purpose. It is when these superficial feelings are substituted for real life feelings and experiences that overuse of social media can begin to cause problems. People can become emotionally connected to how many likes and positive comments their latest picture, status update or tweet receives. However, cyberspace can be a cruel and unforgiving environment where things change at a rapid pace. You can be feeling loved and accepted in one moment, and alienated and derided the next. Thus, cyberspace should be treated with caution and taken a little less seriously.
How important is social media to you?
One way of checking how important social media is to us is by evaluating how often we use one or more forms of social media? Do we religiously check our apps on the hour, every hour? Or maybe when we get a few minutes to ourselves our first thought is to post an update or read what others are doing? If the answer to these questions is yes, then we may need to rethink the amount of time we devote to social media. One of the main complaints used by those against social media is that people spend too much time using it, thus neglecting other aspects of their life. They have a point. Checking your friend’s Facebook or Instagram page for photos, or scanning through the latest Twitter updates can be very time-consuming. Those of us trying to juggle a career with a family and a household know how precious time is each day, so try not to spend valuable free time browsing through apps and instead think how we can use that time more constructively.
There are laws in the UAE governing the use of social media. It should be noted and understood that: publishing pictures of others without their consent is a breach of the UAE Penal Code; defamatory statements against an individual are also forbidden; as is posting content that could be construed as being anti-Islamic, blasphemous, lewd or which encourages sinful activity.
So, think before you post your next status or update, and use caution when adding pictures, videos or other content that you wish to share with friends and the wider public. As with most things, using social media in moderation, and using your head when posting, will lead you to a happier life in the UAE.
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