Prof (Dr) Karuna Hazarika
(Principal, Tezpur Medical College, Tezpur. firstname.lastname@example.org)
(PG student, Clinical Psychology, CMR University, Bangalore)
Today in the fast world of communication, social media brings people closer and closer and closer thus turning the entire world into a global village. Thanks to the different platforms of social media. As per statistics and reports, Facebook is the most popular networking site as of today and is still growing with more than one billion registered accounts and 2.89 billion monthly active users. Total Global active and social media users are 4.48 billion people an increase of 13.13% year over year. Globally average time spent per person in a day is approximately 2 hours 27 minutes. The Facebook companies currently own the four biggest social media platforms, -Facebook the core media platform, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram are the most popular worldwide today. The Undoubtedly United States and China are the most high-profile social media platform. More than 100 billion social media users are from the US and the services from Chinese social networking sites like WeChat, QQ or Video sharing app Douyin also has grown as the mainstream media in their regions due to its local context and content. The popular video media app called TikTok is the international version of Chinese Douyin. Other social media including Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Quora, Telegram, Pinterest, LinkedIn have grown in the market for bringing communication speed to a great extent Bharatam is India's first own social networking platform. This platform is for the Indians, made by the Indians for the Indians. Some of the popular Indian social media apps are like share chat, Koo, Roposo, Elements, Squad Cam, Chingari, Josh are the few examples on which one can chat, share views, news, photograph, and video messages are very popular in the youth. It is reported that Indian new networking sites apps are to be launched in 100 different countries and will not only connect people but help the business gain in different sectors.
Now Social media is not limited to the younger generation only, it has gone beyond the age barrier and become very popular among older people too. Now people use social media in different ways starting from sharing messages, news and views, wishes, photos and videos, comments, rating, publishing own work and knowhow, sharing data, e-commerce, advertising, purchasing and what not. Gradually e-commerce has taken a special status in social media today. People are smart enough to know details of any product and other information with the help of social networking sites. Now social media play a major role in the brand discovery and research. There is the rapid rise of TikTok and grows 8 new users in every second. Likewise, Instagram is also rapidly growing amongst users. It is expected that 60% of the global population will use social media by 2022. The power of networking sites is increasing day by day in such a way that there will be 3.43 billion monthly active users by 2023 and in world approximately one-third of the world's population. It is estimated 800 million of these users will be from China alone and approximately 450 million from India (statista.com).
Social media has got a massive impact on social life today. Person-to-person communication helps the individual to reconnect old companions, partners and mates along with influencing people for new friendships. These web-based social networking sites change the lifestyle of the society in ways like improvement of connectivity, help in building groups for the needy, education-related benefits, information updates, advertising and many more. Conventional marketing is being taken over by social media as it is customer-directly free of cost. Of course, there are many hazards, in marketing like negative feedback, uncorrectable mistakes, the spread of messages etc.
The young generation is almost totally dependent on social media and is online most of the time. They are using the media for the benefits of their education by visiting various sites for the development of knowledge and sharing their views with their friends and mates, but how long? They usually spend most of their free time on social media that not only creates health issues, like reduction of physical activities, obesity, insomnia, radiation, eye problems, headache, posture-related problem etc. but also reduces human contact, less interest in studies, downwards grading in academics, time wastage as well. The young generation gets bullied on social media which may affect them emotionally and may lead to a psychological upset of mind, thus resulting in depression that may even lead to suicidal tendencies. What is seen are the effects of online gaming. Other effects like addiction, digital distraction, digital miscommunication, work disturbance, visiting inappropriate sites, behavioural change, sleep disturbance etc. These all may have short-term and long-term effects and may lead to various issues which may ruin the career of a child. Social media has a strong impact on lifestyle. This alters the sleep habit of most of the users who are busy mostly at late night and thereby reduces normal social activity in the daytime and has long-term effects like poor sleep quality, altered dietary habits, and negative mental health that affects the lifestyle, and quality of life of people. However, studies show no significant change in physical and social health among the daily users of social media in comparison to non-daily users. Another dangerous effect of social media is sexting, which means texting and sex-related photos on social media for transmission and receiving purposes. With the easy availability of the smartphone, sexting is more accessible to the younger generation as reported in various studies and also shows different behaviour among the boys and girls who are a little passive in this context.
No doubt, there prevails some positive and negative aspects of social media in today's world. To get a quality effect of social media, one has to use social media judiciously so that the time spent becomes worthy. To prevent the younger generation from the ill effects of social media has to set a reasonable time frame, avoid odd sites, monitor teens' accounts, and most vital is to discuss social media and to explain what is ok. The authority concerned need to be more vigilant to prevent the society from ill effects of social media and also must guide the younger generation to get the best out of it.