University of São Paulo: Excessive time in virtual networks can affect sociability

Brazil ranked third in the ranking of countries that most consumed social networks in 2021. The data are from a survey released by the companies WeAreSocial and Hootsuite and show that Brazilians spent, on average, about 3 hours and 42 minutes per day browsing through social media last year.

The time spent on social networks, when exaggerated, can cause social intoxication, with discouragement, feelings of exclusion and discouragement with life itself, evidenced by the excess of comparisons and lack of real experiences. The analysis is by Professor Valéria Barbieri, from the Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP) at USP.

Several studies have linked the use of social networks to problems such as anxiety and depression, but, according to Valéria, “there are other repercussions that may or may not come with these problems, such as concerns about self-esteem, dissatisfaction with physical appearance, feelings of worthlessness, decrease in offline interactions and a certain disregard for the moral codes that anonymity provides”.

Networks expose problems prior to use
Some of these problems, due to the excessive use of social media, can be caused by existing adversities prior to consumption. The professor explains that “research has not yet come to understand exactly how this relationship occurs”. Some theories argue that “the individual’s previous weaknesses would lead to the exaggerated use of social networks, not the other way around”.

In this scenario, it is possible to affirm that there is a relationship between the use of social networks and the negative psychological impacts on the user, “but it is not possible to say that a specific person will develop these repercussions”, therefore, it is important to have a singular look at each one. individual, defends Valeria.

Excessive comparisons impoverish self-perception
People who have a greater tendency to compare themselves with others end up having a more impoverished self-perception, enhanced by the constant use of social networks. Valéria explains that “this tendency towards comparison, associated with the intense use of networks, awakens in the individual feelings of envy, inferiority, exclusion and failure”.

In this context, the teacher says that an acronym was created in the English language to determine the feeling of being missing something, a constant restlessness that others are having rewarding experiences and the person is not, called Fomo ( Fear of Missing Out , or Fear of Staying Out), which became the subject of studies and research.

Offline life and real experiences as social media protection
Valéria says that there are already studies that have shown protective factors against negative symptoms resulting from the consumption of social networks. Offline activities, opportunities with friends and relatives outside the internet, maintaining close relationships and having real goals and purposes are some of the postures that protect the user.

It is necessary to take care that people do not distance themselves from fundamental values ​​and lose themselves, says the teacher. “Dissatisfaction with real life leads the individual to take refuge in social networks, provoking more dissatisfaction and creating a vicious circle.” Valéria explains that “happiness is found in simple things, which give purpose to our lives and establish positive and reciprocal relationships, favoring optimism and hope”.

Comments are closed.