Asad Ziar contributed this article to Khaama Press. He is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Afghanistan Rugby Federation and Founder of Rugby in Afghanistan
In fact we all realize that when there is overuse of even a medicine that can harm our heath.
According to Internet Live Stats : Afghanistan is the number 100th country amongst 198 countries with internet users of 1,856,781 and the user growth per year is 172,462 in fact Afghanistan’s Internet User Growth rate is 10% which is higher than USA, UK, China , France, Canada and many more countries, while we are at number 3rd country after Burkina Faso & South Sudan in the list of 10 Countries With the Worst Literacy Rates in the World in a report published on www.care2.com by Christina Chew. Now we can understand from our poor literacy rate that most of the internet users or using internet for social media not for study, research, business or trade purposes hence we have more users addicted to social media in Afghanistan. There are people who can’t even write their own name and they are only able to recognize himself and people by their pictures have full access to internet and constantly check their Smartphone’s for status updates.
As social media has influenced our population there is a need to know for the good and bad impacts of the social media on our next generation and make a proper plan in both cases if the usage of social media is good or bad. In my first sentence I tried to make it very clear that the overdose of even medicine can kill us.
The prime bad effect of social media is addiction … Constantly checking Facebook, Instagram, VK, Tumblr, Flikr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine or other social media updates. This addiction could negatively affect other valued activities like concentrating on studies, taking active part in sports, real life communication and ignoring ground realities.
There are very serious examples likewise Danny Bowman, a 19 year old selfie addict in the UK, spent 10 hours every day taking over 200 pictures of himself. For six months, he obsessively tried to take the perfect picture. But when he couldn’t, Danny tried to kill himself. “I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life,” Danny said. He first posted his photos on Facebook, where others’ reactions to his appearance affected him deeply. There are many other examples of posing for pictures for social media has gone wrong and even resulted in lives losses, some even have already killed themselves trying a gun selfie and cliff selfie. It makes us deeply think that why were we not taking selfie when there was no social media ? it may be an alarm that social media is directly affecting our thoughts and sometimes makes us do so many risky things and actions to make others attracted towards our profile.
A University of Michigan study seem to indicate that in young adults, Facebook use leads to decline in subjective well-being. The more young adults use Facebook, the worse they feel moment-to-moment and the less they feel satisfied with their lives overall.
Afghan Rugby Coach , Sabir Slaimankhel “ If our players concentrate more on their performances I am sure that they are unbeatable, but looking at the players they are concentrating more on their social media profiles and sometimes during the matches pointing to their friends with smart phones to take few of their pictures in action. The negative impact of social media seems not limited only on education and study but in all sectors of life, as stated that sport players are addicted to facebook and that is why they are keener to think and pose good for pictures not for the victory of the team.
DoSometing.org, “one of the largest organizations for young people and social change”, lists several bad effects of social media, which includes sleep disorder, depression, addiction, 24/7 stress, isolation, insecurity, and fear of missing out (FOMO). In fact if we go through some of our Afghan MPs, Senators, Ministers, Politicians and police chiefs they seem to be addicted too , some of them are posting only their pictures with location only while looking at some of their pictures they seems that they cannot shake hands till there is a camera standing by to take their pictures, hence it is not an addiction for kids and teens but for our very mature and influential personalities too and as they are leading our next generation so that they have to copy them and as a result they waste more and more time in taking pictures. It will not be out of order to state that some of our MPs & Senators have more pictures on their profiles as compare to Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities.
On the other hand, other experts like the MacArthur Foundation see it differently. They claim that kids and teens are developing important technical and social skills online in ways that adults do not understand or value:
Mizuko Ito of the University of California states that “spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age”. Kids are learning basic social and technical skills to fully participate in modern society. Kids learn to adapt to permanent and public socializing and managing elaborate network of friends and acquaintances.
Social networking makes kids more peer-based. Young people are motivated to learn from their peers online. They interact and receive feedback from one another. They are motivated to learn more from each other than from adults. Teachers and adults are no longer the only sources of knowledge. It makes kids more networked than ever. It is easier for kids to make friends with people all over the world, most of whom they will never ever meet without these technological advances.
Social networks actually make kids more relationship-oriented, considerate, and emphatic. Kids remember people’s birthday and greet them. They comment on pictures, videos and status of their friends. They create longer term friendships by being in touch online even when friends are no longer physically meeting.
Professor Larry Rosen notes that teens are developing the ability to show virtual empathy for distressed Facebook friends and that the empathy is actually well-received by friends, positively influencing their mood. This virtual empathy, he says, can even spill over into the real world, teaching teens how to empathize with others in everyday life.
Some of our teens join social media not to post their pictures but to find friends with whom they can share their thoughts, and sometimes it goes wrong and they interact bad people and such relation could lead to kidnapping. The Facebook-related abductions are increasing and we can find too many of such examples where facebook has helped the kidnappers eg. A man in Indonesia who posed as a photographer on Facebook was arrested and accused of kidnapping and raping three teenage girls. Authorities said he lured them into meeting him with him by promising to make them models, and then locked them in a house. Police found dozens of photos of naked girls on his camera and laptop.
A 13-year-old Mustafa Rizwan was abducted by his facebook friend in Pakistan and this story really warned the parents not to let their children unsupervised on internet.
It is now proven that Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.
The overuse of social media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems.
The experts have already made it cleared that social media negatively impact learning. Studies found that middle school, high school and college students who check social media networks at least once during a 15-minute study period achieved lower grades. There are even some teens who are addicted to maintain more than one account on social media networks in some cases when boys sent requests to girls and they do not accept their requests they try to make a fake accounts using feminine names and display pictures and try to add others. There are hundreds of thousands of fake accounts on social networks who are boys pretending to be girls to be friends with girls and in most cases this leads to embarrassments and disappointments which finally result in facebook depression.
There are even challenges and competitions amongst the teens on who uploads more pictures , who gets more likes and who gets more friends and requests which really make our new generation more busy and obsessed towards social media and they can’t manage to give proper time to real life issues and think about their future.
If there is awareness about the risk of social media in our community it will not lead to anything bad but there is always lack of public awareness and as mentioned above that the graph of internet users is getting higher and higher while we are still far behind in the field of education thus public awareness is very difficult in societies with lack of education.