Want to learn about potential social media dangers? Then you've come to the right place! Social networks have so many advantages! They help us to stay in touch and up to date with other people, to connect quickly, to found groups and organize projects, to live out our own creativity, to educate and inspire people. But Facebook, TikTok, Instagram & Co also have their disadvantages, which can be extremely dangerous for our psyche and not least our lives.
Maybe you're a parent and want to protect your child - or maybe you just feel that spending time on the networks isn't doing you any good. Either way, I'd like to list and explain all the risks and dangers of social media to you now in this article. Let's go!
Here you can find a short overview in advance:
- Suffering concentration ability and attention span
- Social isolation
- Bullying with a wide reach
- Constant comparison with others
- Misuse of personal data
- Users with criminal intentions
- Once on the Net, Forever on the Net
- Dissemination of disinformation
- Freedoms forfeited
Social media contribute to the fact that you are actually always available and the next stimulus could reach you in just a few seconds via push message. Using Facebook, Instagram and other networks releases the nerve messenger dopamine, which triggers a kind of reward effect. As a result, we develop the need to get these positive emotional experiences more often.₁
This creates an addiction to it within a very short time - similar to gambling, drugs and alcohol. We just don't get addicted to the next chance, heroin or a gin, but to new, entertaining content and affirming likes.
2. suffering concentration ability and attention span
Such a social media addiction or simply the regular use of the networks leads to the fact that you basically can no longer switch off properly and come to rest. We quickly get bored, because the need for the next Insta-reel or TikTok video "kicks".
We therefore reach for our smartphones in every free minute. The addiction eventually even goes so far that some people are no longer even able to watch a 10-minute video or movie without playing on their cell phones to absorb the latest social news.
Our ability to concentrate suffers extremely from social media consumption, as our brains become accustomed to having our attention constantly wander from one thing to the next. As a result, we can no longer resist distractions as well or even crave them. Ultimately, this form of multitasking does not make us better at multitasking, but worse.₂
Tip: Be honest with yourself if you recognize yourself here. What you can basically do against smartphone addiction you can learn in the linked article!
3. social isolation
Social networks naturally help us stay in touch with other people - whether through video chat, photos or text messages. But away from this direct, virtual interaction, Social media actually increase the feeling of loneliness and exclusion.
People who spend two hours or more each day on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter & Co. are twice as likely to feel isolated as those who spend only half an hour of their daily time on the networks. This was found by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh at an extensive study out.
Why is that? First of all, because it feels like having lots of friends and constant social interaction. But actually, you only follow the lives of others, while completely forgetting your own. The pre-programmed loneliness then has further consequences for one's own life - and can, for example, extremely influence the school performance of children and young people.
4. bullying with a wide range
Not all people are rewarded with feelings of happiness as soon as they log into their social media accounts. In fact, cyberbullying is one of the biggest social media dangers. This includes, for example, the Threats of physical violence, harassment, defamation, sending a hate message, defamation of character, posting personal pictures or also Stalking, the continued persecution and harassment of victims.
Under the guise of anonymity, many people feel particularly safe on the Internet. However, bullying activities and their spread are difficult to stop. The pressure on the victim of bullying becomes correspondingly more intense, so that the social isolation is ultimately reinforced even further will.
To make bullying more difficult, it is advisable to use the privacy settings in the respective social media account. Set them up so that As little information as possible publicly visible are. In addition, you should refrain from sharing dates or locations so that potential perpetrators do not have a chance to intervene in your real life - as a potential victim - in addition to the virtual one.
Notice: Anyone who has been on the World Wide Web for a while knows that many people send hateful messages that can leave deep scars on the recipients. But no one has to accept this idly! What each of us can do against hate on the netYou can find out more about this in a separate article on the blog.
5. constant comparison with others
A chic selfie in front of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona or a picture of your trained six pack -. most posts on social networks like Instagram represent a perfect world. This perfect world does not exist, but most children and adults quickly forget that. Especially when they constantly (automatically) compare their lives and appearance with the staged self-portrayals of other people.
Ultimately, the social media danger described here can result in the fact that one envious, insecure or dissatisfied becomes and with Inferiority complexes or even a Depression even though you are perfectly fine the way you are.
6. misuse of personal data
Whether it's Facebook groups, Instagram posts, WhatsApp messages, or a simple Like, every activity grows your digital footprint and the data collection of the operators of the respective social network about you. They know where you live, how old you are, who you like, who your role model is, what music you love to listen to, and where you are right now.
On the one hand, the data is often resold to third parties for advertising purposes. On the other hand, sensitive information can also be Non-compliance with data protection regulations or also by one or the other Data leak into the hands of other people. Again, my urgent advice: use the privacy settings to limit such social media dangers as much as possible.
7. users with criminal intentions
Your social network accounts are excellent targets for hackers. The latter will find your email address there, as well as countless data and information that you might use as a password. Once they crack your account, they can freely spread viruses and malware under your name and also attack your friends on the networks.
Increasingly, it even comes to a much more serious Identity Theft. For example, if the perpetrators sign up for paid subscriptions or order goods in your name.
Not to be forgotten, moreover, is the risk that potential burglars just waiting to find out your current location to strike when you are not at home.
Tip: How you Prevent identity theft you can learn in the linked blog post.
8. once on the net, on the net forever
You can delete most uploads, but most of the time by that time they have already ended up with hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. You eventually lose control about what happens to the pictures, for example from the last drunken stupor.
But this social media danger doesn't just affect recently posted and immediately removed content. Because you leave a lot of your data uploaded on the net forever, your "virtual past" even years or decades later. For example, when your new employer finds out about any embarrassments you may have posted in your youth.
9. dissemination of disinformation
Social media are the ideal breeding ground for the spread of Conspiracy Theoriesbecause "fake news" can reach millions of people in a very short time. And before they have been clearly refuted, the lies are already firmly anchored in numerous minds.
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."Mark Twain
Those who want to spread disinformation can with the help of personal data from the networks (e.g., place of residence, interests or political views) can even use targeted campaigns to address precisely those people who are potentially particularly susceptible to the lies.
The American writer Mark Twain quoted above lived from 1835 to 1910. If he knew how many times a lie can run around the world these days (thanks to social media) until the truth puts on its shoes, he would probably turn over in his grave.
10. forfeited freedoms
Many people take more of an observational role in social media. They consume content and share their private information only in small circles. But with every piece of information, you make yourself more transparent. In addition, social media addiction, as described above, threatens to take control of one's own behavior. Constant accessibility creates additional stress.
Other people, on the other hand, create the corresponding, entertaining content. As a so-called content creator, you have to deliver on a regular basis - otherwise you lose relevance and thus reach in the respective network. Accordingly, there is also constant pressure on publishers, which causes stress. These are definitely social media dangers for one's own health.
Countless social media dangers lurk in the networks!
Social networks are both a curse and a blessing. We can network, organize, and stay connected - but we can also go to pieces from excessive social media consumption and put our mental health at massive risk. That's why it's so important to consume content with the knowledge that it can be addictive and lonely, misguide and hurt you, and cost you your job or even your life.
I hope that with this article I could make you aware of the risks and disadvantages of social networks. Do you have any questions, tips or your own experiences with social media dangers that you would like to share? Then I look forward to your comment.
PS: The content on Facebook, Instagram and the like can make people feel insecure. How you, on the other hand, can Strengthen self-confidence you can find out now in the next article.
₁ B. Clanner-Engelshofen: Dopamine (as of 06/30/2021), available at https://www.netdoktor.de/medikamente/dopamin. [21.10.2022].
₂ German Association of Universities and Colleges: Concentration Suffers (as of Jun. 14, 2019), available at https://www.forschung-und-lehre.de/forschung/die-konzentration-leidet-1858 [21 Oct. 2022].