Social networking sites have significantly alleviated interpersonal communication and made information more accessible. Today, everyone has accounts on social networking sites and spends much time checking other people’s profiles, forming an overview of the personalities based on the posted information. Generally, the modern process of socialization includes active participation in the trends of popular social networking sites. The problem of adverse effects of the internet on the daily lives of people is constantly discussed. E-commerce, hobbies, communication, and even education today have the internet focus. Thus, accessing the possible negative consequences of daily internet usage, people can not afford to put limitations on their internet activities. As a result, today, social networking sites are an influential instrument in shaping the mindsets and personalities of people. The current work will discuss the three most dangerous consequences of the networking sites active usage contributing to the unhealthy psychological state of the users: the fear of missing out syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and paranoia.
The first harmful psychological condition resulting from constant social networking site usage is the fear of missing out syndrome (FOMO). This syndrome forces people into believing that they skip all the exciting and essential events in life. As a result, their psychological state is aggravated by the fact that their lives are less fulfilling than people’s lives in social media accounts. Such a worldview causes a decrease in self-esteem and an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Social media has recently become a profitable business tool that helps to earn attracting the user’s attention. These “bragging platforms” are full of spectacular shots of someone’s life, often staged, active self-promotion claiming thriving and prosperous lifestyles as the only right way of living. Comparing their ordinary life to the highlights and accomplishments of others, people start to feel self-depreciation and depression. However, the use of social media itself does not necessarily harm a person’s self-esteem and emotional health. The presence of FOMO leads to adverse effects: the higher its level, the higher the rates of depression, and the worse the conscious attention and other negative physical and psychological symptoms.
Most users try to publish content that their other subscribers would potentially like. Such behavior gives rise to such a phenomenon as the “spiral of silence”: users of social networks are not inclined to make judgments that will be rejected by society. This is also facilitated by how social networks issue updates: users receive information according to their interests and views. The absence of alternative beliefs in the feed makes the information picture unipolar, which increases social pressure on people. As a result, people may start to feel neurosis, during which a person is haunted by obsessive thoughts about checking the news. Such a condition is similar to a widely-spread psychiatric issue called obsessive-compulsive disorder. The heightened desire for perfectionism in their account feedback may also be a symptom of the social networking site-related obsessive-compulsive disorder. The addiction to compelling news and social media is an inevitable component of any psychology of modern people. However, many mentally-weak personalities are at a high risk of developing this dangerous psychiatric disorder harming the various spheres of life.
The digital world changes society in such a way that people feel themselves increasingly under tremendous psychological pressure. All people’s actions are tracked, and each internet activity is recorded in one way or another. Such conditions provoke a high level of anxiety about whether the followers on social media have malicious intentions or not. As a result, people today start to experience the symptoms of paranoia. This psychological disorder can negatively affect life satisfaction and prevent people from feeling mentally safe. The fact is that an unrealistic image of a happy life is skillfully created on the pages of many people only aggravates the paranoia. Ordinary users who follow successful people develop psychological complexes since they cannot have the same life. This is the vicious circle: people start believing that they failed without trying to achieve something. Moreover, many life variants harm the world’s perception and become obstacles to finding the true calling. As a result, people start to feel anxiety and paranoia, trying to be more successful than they are.
Therefore, the development of social media networking sites has negative psychological consequences for users. Considering the fact that today people cannot stop using these services, the only possible way to prevent these dangerous problems from developing is self-control. Only through efficient time management and self-work can people realize that their life should not resemble someone else’s. The role of psychological support from specialists is also increased today. Psychologists should develop treatment approaches that can adjust human minds to the new social networking sites’ model of life. People also should be educated on how their personal data can be protected on the internet. Thus, social networking sites shape the world’s perception of people and force them into the revaluation process. The collective society’s psychology is likely to be changed further under social media pressure.