Today, social networks function almost as the main means of contact through the Internet, changing the way we communicate and relate to other people. Thanks to this, new doors have been opened to us when it comes to forging relationships, and what’s more, nowadays, if you don’t use them, you are different< /em>. We use the networks more than two hours on average per person, that is, we dedicate part of our time to interacting through them.

However, although it is undeniable that they offer us endless opportunities and, in many cases, positive things, they also have a rather negative part. : For example, social networks feed our narcissism, and can even make us pretend to be who we are not.

Currently, there are networks that are used by some psychologists for the detection of mental disorders. People’s interests in networks have shown that a lot of data can be extracted from them to obtain a better understanding of people’s mental health.

Dangers of networks

The main question we must ask ourselves is if on social networks we show the person we are, or if we create an identity that only shows the “good”. For example, carefully choosing the profile photo is a common behavior, with which many of us will feel identified.

Speaking from our specialty, there are some psychological risks in using networks:

  • Addiction. A large number of people, and especially adolescents, feel anxiety and/or stress when you do not have access to networks.
  • Isolation. Although networks offer a communication service, there is also a risk of isolation, with those who suffer from it relating only through the networks.
  • Antisocial behavior. By interacting only through a virtual environment, this effect can occur.
  • Instagram Envy. This new term is used to define other people’s desire to have the lifestyle of characters created for this social network. However, this lifestyle is fictitious, fueled by the increase in narcissism produced by the Internet. Thus, it is a double-edged sword, being able to both increase and decrease the self-esteem of its users.
  • Need to attract attention. Whether directly or indirectly, people feel this need due to the continued use of more interactive networks, such as Facebook. li>

How to avoid these risks?

Mainly, making responsible and sensible use of networks, taking advantage of their positive qualities, and controlling the negative aspects.

Benefits of networks

After talking about the harmful effects of networks on society, we also want to highlight the positive points they have:

  • Tendency of unity. Thanks to the ease of creating groups on networks, many people feel integrated, being able to share opinions and socialize.
  • Job opportunities. Although it may seem strange, there are many networks that are used as a job search engine, generating direct contact with companies and potential clients.
  • Marketing tools. If necessary, networks can also be used as “showcases” for the display and/or search of products, being very useful, for example. example, in the case of emerging companies.
  • Leisure and entertainment. Without a doubt, this is the vital point of this type of tools. Entertainment is always guaranteed in any of them.
  • Distance communication. Currently, they are the most used and most effective way to maintain communication with friends, family… or possible relationships.

Studies about psychology and social networks

The new reality of social networks has led to their research being increasingly present in universities around the world, and also obtaining results that are increasingly clear and relevant strong>.

Today, we want to talk to you about two recent studies:

Social networks and narcissism

Buffardi and Campbell, from the University of Georgia, have collected self-reports on the narcissistic tendencies of network users.

The result was the following: the level of activity of the users is correlated with the level of narcissism. People with high self-esteem tend to show and share more about their lives.

According to the research, the Internet may simply provide a way to bring out those tendencies in people who otherwise might not be able to do so.

Social networks and shyness

Being shy is a defensive measure of an individual, and social networks have allowed people to maintain a certain level of intimacy by maintaining a physical separation almost infinite.

At the University of Windsor, they have studied the possible correlation of shyness with various aspects of social networks. Based on users’ Facebook usage, they were able to clarify that shyer individuals spent much more time on Facebook. However, they also found, unexpectedly, that those same individuals had a much smaller number of friends on their profiles.


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