In 1971 the first email was sent between two computers situated side by side, but it took decades and the development of the internet before its widespread use. In 1994 Geocities, the first social networking site, allowed users to create their own websites. The following year TheGlobe.com gave users the ability to interact with people with the same interests and to publish their own content. And so social media was born.
Social media has rapidly become an important part of everyday life. One in four people worldwide now interact on any of 600 social networking sites on the internet. This activity may seem harmless, but some researchers suggest social media affects our health and mental well-being.
Statistics show 63 percent of American Facebook users log on to the site daily, while 40 percent log on multiple times a day. A survey conducted by Salford Business School at the University of Salford found 53 percent of survey participants believed social media changed their behavior, with 51 percent of those saying the change was negative. They reported feeling less confident when comparing their achievements to those of their friends. Many people on social media sites present idealized versions of their lives, leading others to make comparisons that can lead to negative emotions.
Two-thirds of survey participants reported difficulty relaxing and sleeping after using the sites, while 55 percent said they felt “worried or uncomfortable” when unable to log on to social media. According to sleep disorder specialists, digital screens emit light that can keep people awake by stimulating the retina. A disrupted sleep pattern can affect memory and even result in difficulty focusing. Because young adults usually multitask on several social networks, attention spans are also shortened.
Some people report being anxious or depressed or restless from using social media. Social media has been linked to narcissistic personality disorder and insomnia in young adults. Some become addicted to using social media, spending long hours daily on various sites. Likes and comments provide positive reinforcement for posting information, making it difficult to stop. A study from the University of Michigan reported avid users of social media were overall more unhappy than those who use it less. Over time, avid users report lower satisfaction in their lives overall.
Social media gives rise to cyber bullying, especially among adolescents. An organization that prides itself on internet safety, Enough Is Enough, conducted a survey with teenagers in which 95 percent of respondents said they witnessed cyber bullying on social media, with 33 percent having been victims themselves. Bullying can lead to physical injury, social and emotional problems and even death. Children and adolescents who are bullied are at increased risk for mental health issues including depression, anxiety, headaches and problems adjusting to school. Bullying can cause long-term damage to self-esteem.
A National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse study explored the relationship between teenagers, social media and drug use and found 70 percent of teenagers aged 12 to 17 use social media, and those who interact with social media daily are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol and twice as likely to use marijuana. Some 40 percent of these teenagers admit they were exposed to pictures of people under the influence via social media, suggesting social media may glamorize drug and alcohol use, increasing peer pressure.
Fear of missing out occurs when people feel pressure to be doing what everyone else is doing while on social media, such as sharing every event or life experience. It can cause social media users to question why everyone “is having fun without them.” Surveys of users indicate Facebook and Twitter, for example, can make people feel they are not successful or smart, and Pinterest can make users feel insecure because they are not creative or crafty enough.
Certainly, social media offers powerful, positive psychological effects. It enhances our association with others and helps renew old friendships, connecting like-minded groups of people with just one click. Social media brings people together for a common cause such as disaster relief.
Researchers found social media can help introverted adolescents gain social skills. Shy individuals may feel safer communicating via a digital screen. Teenagers have become good at expressing empathy toward others virtually.
Social media links us to tools and technology that make life easier, providing an endless stream of information, some accurate, some not. Health institutions such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Red Cross use social media to get correct information to the public about health issues, disease prevention and substance abuse treatment.
Because social media gives a voice to anyone, beware of misinformation. Networking sites encourage people to be more public with their personal lives. Users can forget to apply filters they normally use when talking about their private lives. Any image you post may remain out there and appear less attractive in the context of an employer doing a background check. While many businesses use social media to find and communicate with clients, the sites also prove a great distraction to employees.
No matter why you use social media, take a moment to put down the smartphone or tablet and do something else such as read a book, write in a journal or go outside for fresh air. Backing away even for a few hours offers crucial benefits. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can wait.
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Since Cheval Blanc, an extraordinary, newly designed and refurbished 72-room hotel owned by Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey, launched in September 2021, it has been the talk of the town. Le Tout-Paris remarks about its WOW factor … and the hard-to-get reservations for the 30 seats at Plenitude, the intimate, first-floor gastronomic outlet headed by chef Arnaud Donckele, who earned three Michelin stars at Cheval Blanc Saint Tropez. Reservations are also recommended for Limbar, the ground-floor bakery/café/tea shop/bar where we watched Pastry Chef Maxime Frédéric preparing desserts and an absolute must-have for dinner at Le Tout-Paris, the 7th-floor, all-day brasserie. This brightly colored space, with its raised seating and Fauve-like floor tiles and the adjacent Milanese restaurant, Langosteria, both have access to terraces facing the Seine River, with amazing views encompassing Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower.
IHG® Business Edge: Working Together with SMEs for a smarter way to manage travel
Nevada-based The Spa at Green Valley by Well & Being and The Spa at Red Rock by Well & Being celebrate the start of 2022 with new health, wellness and spa treatments available through March 31. Both spas offer an array of treatments for guests wanting to relax and unwind before 2022 kicks into full gear.
To allow visitors to safely and responsibly enjoy their trip to Barbados, the island announced streamlined port entry protocols. Barbados’ Ministry of Health and Wellness released the following protocols for all travelers planning on coming to the island.
Located in the South Pacific, The Islands of Tahiti are just eight hours by air from California. Surrounded by pristine, crystal-clear blue waters, the 118 islands and atolls offer natural beauty, authentic island culture and unique French Polynesian style. The Islands of Tahiti are world-renowned for white-sand beaches, stunning turquoise lagoons and varied landscapes ranging from coral atolls to volcanic mountain peaks. Privacy comes naturally in The Islands of Tahiti and offers visitors the space to relax and reconnect and to be Embraced By Mana. Mana is the life force and spirit that connects all things in The Islands of Tahiti.
Mar Del Cabo launched a new luxury beach fishing experience with an interactive paella workshop for guests. The Los Cabos-based hotel offers guests an immersive experience that takes them through the journey of creating paella, starting with a fishing session.
COJE Management Group raised the bar when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. The Boston-based group, founded by Chris Jamison and Mark Malatesta, offers guests the ultimate dining experience with old-world hospitality and an array of cuisines for every guest to enjoy. With culinary director Tom Berry incorporating the cuisines he encountered during his travels to South America, Cuba, Japan, Southeast Asia and France, each restaurant has distinguished itself as a must for anyone visiting Boston and each is designed exclusively in-house using inspiration from different regions and countries around the world.
Go ahead, take a nice, deep breath. Because a Seabourn voyage is all about this moment you’ve come so far in life to embrace. It’s not an escape, it’s an arrival.