A freshman at the University of Hyderabad and a star athlete, she was intelligent, talented and successful. Everyone she knew said that she was happy. But in her very first semester away from home she started to feel anxious and depressed. With her best friend she would scroll through Instagram and Facebook, and think, “This is what college is supposed to be like; this is what we want our life to be like.”
In January of 2014 , Rona killed herself. This is not just the case of Rona. There are a lot more Ronas in our country who are undergoing the same condition. IAS is something that is much investigated by many leading psychiatric centers in the country.
Dr.Swathi, Head of the Department of the Psychology department in Osmania University states that Internet Addiction Syndrome (IAS) in India is something that the teenagers suffer when cut off from the internet. Taking the extreme cases when there is no power or the internet is cut off they show impulsive aggression towards their partners or parents often dismantling the computers or their smartphones. A new study had found that teenagers who are engaged in the social media are more likely to be awake during the night seriously affecting their sleeping patterns. The distortion of the sleeping patterns results in the increase rate of risks of anxiety and depression. Almost 96% of teenagers today are emotionally invested in the social media that they most often keep on logging on to the profiles in order to make sure that they are constantly updated. This 24/7 anxiety to be online has resulted in the emotional instability in teenagers.
Teenagers were ideally asked to have an average sleep of around 8-9 hours, but the average usually shrinks to around 7.6 hours. Even these 7.6 hours are getting affected intensely by the incessant use of the social media. This could be detrimental to their health as well. Lack of sleep can make them tired, irritable and depressed. It is most often the “fear of missing out” that makes the youngsters to follow the trend of “night time social media use.”
A study by University of Chicago Booth School of Business states the desire to frequently check your social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, among other social networking sites, can lead to a stronger addiction than those who are addicted to alcohol or cigarettes. The review of the available literature and studies given by this university reveal the various aspects of Social Networking Addiction (majorly Facebook) including-symptoms of Facebook Addiction Disorder; also its negatives; implications and impact of Social Networking addiction.
Talking with a group of youngsters from the Osmania University, Hyderabad the respondents were asked to share if they access social networking websites first thing in the morning and last thing before going to sleep. This was done, since the two are considered as a symptom of addiction to social networking. 75% of the respondents didn’t access any of the social networking websites first thing in the morning but 67% of them did check it before going to sleep. Only 31% didn’t bother to check either Facebook, Twitter or Social Networking websites. During open discussion, most of them confessed that once they log on to any social networking websites before going to sleep, they lose track of time and get absorbed in this different world thereby causing deprivation of sleep and feeling drained out all through the day.
The most interesting fact is that most of the teenagers know that they are addicted to these social networking sites and most of them agree that these are harmful to the physical as well as mental health due to the lack of physical activity and sleep deprivation. The realization by the young people of it being addictive, harmful to physical and mental health may be construed as a positive sign.
A separate study by the National Citizen Service found that rather than talking to the parents, most of the girls seek solace on social media when they are worried, and they tend to experience more stress than boys- an average of twice a week. The impact of narcissism also creeps into the minds of the youngsters as a result of “pressure to be perfect.” If they don’t meet the ridiculous standards set by these social platforms the self-loathing begins for most of them. The problems of comparing the social status, and the invisible standards might even results in loneliness and jealousy. Dr. Samyuktha, Associate Professor of Psychology Department, Osmania University also shared her opinion that Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) gives a proper account of the psychological disorder that has come out of new age media and technology.
To be conclusive, it sways towards the some symptoms of addiction to the social media and the auto correction the youngsters can bring around all by themselves. So, those that have been traced like checking social networking websites before going to sleep and then staying glued to the same for hours causing mental and physical health deterioration, should be discussed in detail. The students should be informed of the perils associated with using social networking websites and should be advised to use them cautiously.