Modern technology has given rise to addictive systems that have engulfed many people globally, and their widespread use and misuse are causing humans to forget the traditional ways of life. Social media is one significant technological product that impacts human health. These are addictive platforms that continue to wreak havoc on the lives of many individuals worldwide, particularly young people. This is true because many young people worldwide spend most of their time on well-known social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They spend time posting, skimming feeds, commenting, and liking other users’ posts which they consider to be their online friends. With social media, humans lose physical relationships as addicting internet sites consume much of their time. They only think of online circles while forgetting the most important physical friendship and connection they should aim to develop at all costs. Social media platforms are making humans lonelier than ever because people often spend much time on those platforms at the expense of physical interactions.
Many studies and conclusions have been drawn about using social media platforms and their effects on human health. Not all studies agree on the impact of social media on human health since a significant percentage believe that social media platforms diminish interpersonal ties, leading to loneliness. However, several studies have found that social media platforms improve global interconnectedness and keep individuals informed about what is happening outside their borders. According to Dibb and Foster (109), social media platforms are more prevalent in people’s lives today than ever before. This is because the survey discovered that many individuals worldwide spend their time largely posting, observing, and commenting on various activities on these platforms. Furthermore, von Nordheim et al. (820) highlighted that the number of Facebook and Twitter subscribers has increased over the recent decade. This indicates that teenagers and middle-aged people are enormously engrossed in these sites and are actively engaged in making these sites a reality every second.
Loneliness is growing more prevalent in our culture, and the underlying cause is social media websites. Loneliness is defined by Dibb and Foster (109) as the absence of a desired social interaction. Loneliness is a public health concern since studies have shown mental and psychological effects on people’s lives (Terrasse et al. 27). Several researches have shown that anxiety, despair, low self-esteem, and a lack of well-being are long-term repercussions of loneliness. These effects stem from broken face-to-face discussion and a lack of physical engagement and linkage within one’s environment. This is because many individuals nowadays place high importance on cultivating online circles, which they refer to as “following” on Twitter and “friends” on Facebook. These virtual pals can only be spoken to through a computer screen and do not provide a physical connection when needed. Although humans are aware that the friendships, they form through the internet are virtual, they continue to focus on increasing their online friend circles every minute at the price of expanding their region of actual friends (Terrasse et al. 28). As a result, this demonstrates the extent to which social media usage is eroding face-to-face relationships in favour of online engagement, which results in loneliness. Robust data from many studies support the concept of loneliness and social media platforms. Other arguments that relate Facebook and Twitter use to loneliness were provided by Van der Velden et al. (201). According to Van der Velden et al.’s (202) survey, individuals spend their leisure time watching and skimming messages on these online platforms, which happens in various settings such as the office, schools, and government organizations. Van der Velden et al. (205) said that if we could channel all our time in online circles into chatting, engaging, and connecting with our coworkers, the world would have solid physical relationships with one another. This way, the world will alleviate the loneliness that has become an issue today. Therefore, researchers are backing the claim that face-to-face communication maintains a strong relationship between friends and families compared to online chalking and messaging.
Facebook and other social media websites waste people’s time, and they often spend time alone on their computers or phones. Recent studies back up Dibb and Foster’s claim that using social media platforms due to technology does more harm than good since users abuse the sites and spend more time than they should. Youssef et al. (220) polled 20000 Americans to examine the scope and impact of social media use in the United States. Residents who spent hours reading, conversing, and skimming feeds had a higher risk of social isolation from true friends and regularly felt not included. Youssef et al. (232) are teaching people about the influence of social media platforms such as Facebook and others on their life. According to this definition, the core of the technology is to link the world through beneficial exploitation. However, the world is misusing the online world and focusing too much on it, damaging the physical connectedness that humans had before the advancement of technology that the world is experiencing. While online connections appear to unite the world, the fact is that the world is forming companions with machines rather than the real physical ties that individuals should have. The arguments hold that however big someone may have many peoples surrounding their online social network, the truth is that these are virtual friends and cannot be touched but only seen on a screen.
Social media chatting and communication present paradoxes as users do not know each other in person. Because this paper strives to comprehend the nature and position of social media platforms in human connections, investigating the paradox of knowing people behind a screen is a problem worth discussing. According to Ke et al. (1327), people frequently form blind relationships with individuals they know nothing about and, more often than not, the names and profile photographs are fictitious, and it is difficult to tell or even explain their identities. This confirms the earlier notion that humans only build friendships with computers and phones through these platforms rather than with individuals we consider our friends. As a result, various studies have determined that people who spend more time on social media platforms are becoming more alienated from society because they do not make time to connect and chat with actual people in their surroundings. According to Ke et al. (1331), individuals can build phoney and bogus identities on social media websites, attracting millions of users to like and follow them. This reinforces the impression that we connect with people whose identities we cannot precisely characterize.
Facebook and online chatting is deteriorating traditional face-to-face communication. This is another factor supporting the originally made claim that technology is making man lonelier than ever. According to Damen et al. (1122), the typical individual spends nine hours or more on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, scrolling and interacting with their online gang. However, it has been observed that the same group is stubborn regarding physical relationship development and may be difficult coping with real people. In other cases, disagreements arise, and online counterparts frequently make hasty judgments such as banning and bullying. These are perhaps concluded because they do not know each other and what they do online has no substantial impact on their life. However, barring a fellow online friend can cause anxiety and sadness, leading to lifelong mental and psychological issues, leaving someone lonely and unhappy. According to Damen et al. (1127), technology limits people’s time for real interaction with friends and family members. A common scenario is that when family members are all in the house, everyone gets busy on their forms, skimming and chatting with their online friends. With this direction, parents and children are losing familial connections. This proves that technology is not a good thing because it creates a barrier between people instead of reinforcing the relationship that occurred at the dawn of technology.
Social media usage problems are directly related to users’ feelings of loneliness and well-being. A study conducted on Lebanese residents in 2018 by Youssef et al. revealed that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter were highly addicting and caused substantial disorder in the inhabitants (Youssef et al. 113). Youssef et al. (129) enlisted 456 Lebanese in their study to determine the influence of social media on the population. According to the survey, around 23.7 percent had social media problems (Youssef et al. 113). Their study found a clear relationship between social media usage problems and human psychological characteristics such as sadness, social isolation, loneliness, and alexithymia. Individuals with a self-perceived degree of social ineptitude had a high level of negative emotions characterized by loneliness (Youssef et al. 121). These people find it more convenient to converse and interact with internet users to alleviate their bad emotions (Youssef et al. 130). Damen et al. (1131) backed up this assertion by stating that people who spend a lot of time on the internet have no or little time for face-to-face contact, which is the major source of loneliness and sadness. Thus, it is true that social media consumption has a substantial psychological impact on its extensive users and abusers.
Facebook and other online platforms provide the image of a tremendous social domain, but in reality, individuals live lonely lives unobserved. Marche (para 1) describes the death of Yvette Vickers, a prominent former playboy and B-movie actress who died in her home without her neighbours knowing. According to Los Angeles coroner’s report, the famous woman died for a year before her next-door neighbour, Susan Savage, noticed (Marche). Repots by Marche (para 2) revealed that Ms. Yvette’s heater and computers were still on at the time people discovered that she was dead. The material gathered at the scene plainly shows that the celebrity was distracted and devoured by online social websites and did not spend time connecting with her neighbours. It is incredible that, despite having millions of followers worldwide, her body was mummified because her neighbours could not determine if she was there or not. The scene teaches that a vast internet domain is not worth it if it is prioritized above face-to-face connections. This is correct because if Ms. Yvette had a strong relationship with her neighbours, she might have received assistance and possibly avoided death.
Other researchers, on the other hand, believe that social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook help individuals connect. According to Jacobsen (361), technology is transforming the community regarding communication and influencing people’s habits. New technologies are producing tools that are helping to bridge the worldwide communication gap. These platforms have evolved into a communication tool that allows family and friends worldwide to stay in touch despite the physical distance that separates them. According to Jacobsen (365), physical interaction is often impossible when one travels a broad or lives far away from friends and family. As such, Facebook and other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and WhatsApp serve as crucial tools for communicating with friends and family. This kind of communication via online platforms has mostly replaced conventional methods of long-distance communication such as letters with quick conversations and video calls. As a result, many individuals worldwide feel that Facebook and other online platforms assist in better linking family and friends who live far apart, thereby keeping people together.
Facebook and other social media platforms help interconnect the world. Schoolmates and old acquaintances may keep in touch via social media groups, regardless of where they live. According to Sengar (31), social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter web page groups are strengthening people’s relationships that would have been strained if they depended solely on face-to-face communication. People who attended school or a function together, for example, might continue to converse even after the event has concluded. Online chatting has been handier than waiting for an opportunity to meet face to face with a long-forgotten old buddy with a Facebook or a Twitter account. In this regard, several academics refute that Facebook and other online communication websites foster loneliness, arguing that online talking allows old friends, families living apart, and individuals to interact.
Although some experts claim that social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and other widely used websites link the world, the connection is not genuine because the dialogue takes place on a screen. I maintain my earlier position and confirm that Facebook and Twitter are the greatest adversaries of face-to-face contact, which has been shown to enhance human cohabitation. Even while Facebook allows old friends who cannot physically meet to communicate, the experience of face-to-face communication is crucial since it helps one understand each other by detecting their moods, nonverbal clues, and body language. When using online platforms, one might feign happiness and provide a false image, which can be read directly when having a physical or face-to-face chat. With the evidence presented in this paper, it is clear that Facebook and other social media platforms such as Twitter and Snapchat break humans’ ties within their environment. This has been proven because many people worldwide spend more time skimming and posting messages in these websites than the actual time they preserve for face-to-face conversation. Without good regulation over the use of social media, the world risks cultivating a culture that prefers online communication, which has more consequences than successful face-to-face conversing.
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