Social media addiction: An alarming trend among youngsters

A Yral social media report, released in 2016 states that, active social media users in India increased by 15 per cent in to become 136 million. Psychiatrists opine that an easy and subtle communication is dead, people don’t understand that there is a line between the virtual world and real world. For them catching eyeballs is a thrill that they enjoy

Social media addiction: An alarming trend among youngsters
Image courtesy: BBC

Addiction! When we hear this word two things that instantly come to our mind are drugs and alcohol. With increased use of smartphones along with rapid technological development another addiction has emerged and i.e. ‘social media addiction’. Unlike, drugs and alcohol which harm you physically; social addiction takes a toll on your mind. This is equally dangerous and at times proves to be fatal too.

In a recent incident, a woman from Minnesota, USA has been charged over shooting her boyfriend. The shocking part is that, it was a social media stunt which went terribly wrong.

Social media addiction: An alarming trend among youngsters
Monalisa Perez

According to the authorities, Monalisa Perez, aged 19, and her boyfriend Pedro, were attempting a dangerous stunt where Pedro had to hold a book near his chest and Monalisa would fire a bullet. Both had planned to put the stunt on YouTube, so that they can catch maximum eyeballs and attention. Monalisa had even tweeted about the stunt before it was going to take place.

Speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Harish Shetty, Psychiatrist at H L Hiranandani Hospital said, “Easy and subtle communication is almost dead now. The ‘You are watched’ phenomenon has taken a toll on the mind of youngsters. They want to be watched, liked and followed by others. How to catch eyeballs is what they keep thinking, and that is very dangerous.”

A Yral social media report published in 2016 states that, active social media users in India increased by 15 per cent in 2016, which amounts to 136 million users. In India, 28.4 per cent of the population uses internet, out of which 10.3 per cent are active social media users.

Commenting on the social media trend in India, Dr Rohan Jahagirdar, Director, Intro Spectrum Psychological Services Pune said, “I had a case recently where a lady was obsessed with posting her pictures with wild animals on social media. There is also this new phenomenon of cyber bullying where people bully you with their comments on social media platforms. People feel low if they don’t get enough likes, but then they have to understand that there needs to be a line between the virtual world and real world.”

Dr Pankaj Borade, Psychiatrist, Ruby Hospital (Pune) said, “The presentation of depression and personality disorder cases are coming in a new form now with the advent of social media. Psychiatrists are now getting cases where they have to treat patients who are suffering from depression and the cause is somehow linked to social media.”

He added, “Recently there was a case where a person went live on Facebook before committing suicide. There are also false posts by people. A person who is posting pics with people all the time on social media, in reality, might not have a single person to share his or her worries. Validation on social media to some extent is fine, but people should understand that there are some basic emotional needs which can’t be fulfilled through virtual world.”

With inputs from BBC