In the recent study, The Impact of Social Media on Children, Adolescents, and Families, published on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) portal, psychologists examined the effects of excessive use of social networks on teenage life. For the researchers, the parents of these young people should monitor potential problems such as cyberbullying, inappropriate exposure on the network, and frequent sexting, contraction of sex and texting that refers to the dissemination of erotic content through smartphones.
According to psychologist Luciana Nunes, director of the PsicoInfo Institute – which treats users dependent on the Internet and its psychological consequences, such as depression and anxiety – adolescents should receive special attention because they are still in the process of psychological and social formation. “When a teenager gets used to the stimuli provided in these digital environments, by depriving him, one perceives a great lack. Physiologically, there is a commitment. ”
According to the study, the false reality exposed in social networks, where users often publish only the best of themselves, often entails low self-esteem on the part of young people. This picture led scholars to coined the term ‘Facebook Depression’. Thanks to this scenario, many teenagers feel even more distraught, a situation that was ironized in the episode ‘You have zero friends’ of the animated series South Park, in which one of the characters feels the anguish of not having friends on Facebook. “These young people choose to flee from reality,” warns the psychologist. “Instead of solving their social issues, many choose to protect themselves in the virtual world.”
Although the AAP report seems alarmist, Luciana points out that misuse of social networks and the internet still affects a small percentage of users. According to her, the American Psychological Association recently disclosed that only 4% of Internet users had pathological behavior with dependence on the web.
“Some are addicted to gaming, others are into shopping, others are into social networks. The most classic is cybersex, fri binge on the net. And the adolescent is just at the stage of sexual formation. As a consequence, we perceive the excessive practices of sexting among young people, “Luciana. However, the expert was adamant about not blaming Facebook. “Alone, the social network does not generate depression in people. The bad use of these sites is that it will depend on each one.”
The Internet connection facilities through smartphones is another factor that drives social practices on the web and, according to the psychologist, generates a tension with the interactivity much greater than in the past. “If young people used to walk in groups, now they are ‘stuck’.”
Another point is the social imbalance generated by this behavior: the more they connect, the less they live in the offline world in a presential and healthy way. “We see a migration in forms of communication.” The one behind the computer does not get a chance to expose himself to taking a girl out, for example. On the web, they spread obscene content because they think they are protected, “criticizes the psychologist who also serves young people in the institute.
Moderation in the use of these networks by adults
It’s not just teenagers who become subordinate to social networks and the various pleasures of the online world. Luciana explains that this dependence is also present in adults who have a compulsive profile, but points out that addiction can occur in anyone. “In these people, I perceive an inner need that needs to be satisfied. Other points are the question of anonymity and avoidance, the emotional discharge generated when one is connected.”
According to the psychologist, it is easier to point out a person addicted to games or drink, for example, than to identify the addictions generated by the internet. However, dependence on the internet can be just as damaging. “It is relatively simple to stop smoking or drinking, but it is very difficult to live without the internet, something that is already part of our daily lives. It takes some work of moderation.”
It is this balance that journalist and advertising company Vanessa Amaral, 28, has been seeking in recent weeks. Sebrae analyst, because of a stress situation, his orthomolecular doctor recommended sleeping earlier and not using the computer at home after work. “I switched it off at night, but using the cell phone I’m still trying to slow down,” he says.
Before working with social network and communication monitoring, her current professional role, Vanessa was very often accessing instant messaging programs like MSN. “I would wake up in the morning and have to connect, even if I did not use it effectively.”
It was after working in an agency that carried out actions in networks such as Facebook and Twitter that the advertiser got the habit of updating their profile pages several times a day. “I have addiction by interaction and search for information. When I am in transit or in the taxi, I go in to see if anyone has answered anything I have published, “he says.
The advisor explains that these addictions did not come to affect his life. In his opinion, the most that happened was to lose sleep and to sleep late because of the networks. For Vanessa, we live in an age when people are always searching for more information and news. “It seems that the more information about events we have, the more we look for news. When I see an accident or event, I want to share this with my friends. I see people who can not wait for the printed newspaper the next day, “he says.