Millions of social media users invest a major part of their time in keeping in touch with others, going through news feeds, playing games and surfing videos that are served to them through various platforms.
Unfortunately, several of these platforms have proved to be dangerous and have been responsible for taking the lives of several children and adults with their dissemination of lethal apps and virtual games.
A significant majority of social media users rarely log out from their popular applications and they run parallel to their daily activity.
Quite recently, the hugely popular networking site Facebook came under the radar of top health officials in England who opined that Facebook is addictive and consequently asked social media companies “to do more to protect children from addictive habits and dangerous content.”
The Chief Executive of National Health Service (NHS) Simon Stevens was quoted as saying, “There is emerging evidence of a link between semi-addictive and manipulative online activities and mental health pressures on our teenagers and young people. Parents are only too aware of the insidious grip that some of these activities can have on young people’s lives.”
To deal with the fallout for an explosion of social media, NHS England which leads the national health services in the country is planning to ramp up its mental health services.
Senior Facebook insiders admitted that some features in Facebook were designed to keep users hooked on the platform which may harm children and adolescents.
Facebook’s founding president, Sean Parker is reported to have said that the company was “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology” and that the company set out to consume as much user time as possible, said reports.
Akshay, 28, a software and game developer opines that we are continuously fed with the kind of content we desire to watch which is gathered by analysing our feed, search and data.
“We have already given a lot of permissions to such social media sites at the time of logging in to them or via other applications.
“Hence, our entire feed is monitored and our searches are used to serve us advertisement and other content which keeps us engaged in the platform and lets us jump from one application to other.
Moreover, since we might have liked a lot of pages, we keep on receiving updates from them which keeps us glued to the application,” Akshay adds.
“Yes, Facebook is indeed addictive,” says Rohit Rathod, an MBA student. “In fact the addictiveness of it has made it one of the largest and most influential social media platforms in the world.
Initially for over 2 years after the launch of FB I didn’t even have an account. However, from the day I signed in, there hasn’t been a single day when I haven’t checked my timeline.
It is indeed a wonderful platform to keep oneself updated with the current happenings of the country and the world,” adds Rohit.
Shreyasi, 24, a lawyer says that such platforms are like deadly parasites for the society. “Facebook has been admonished more than once for their data privacy and security policies.
Moreover, the internet has also promoted many games like Bluewhale and Pokemon Go that has seen the death of many innocent children. Although the minimum age was set high, several underage users who have faked their age, began using them.
It is critical that these companies formulate stringent security policies and not play with the psychology and lives of our children.”
“I believe that 99% of the users who have their accounts especially on Facebook also have the application downloaded on their phones and are addicted to it,” says Ravish Mehta, 25, a PhD aspirant.
“And I am one of them. I wasn’t one till I had the application installed on my phone and started getting notifications.
“Internet and WiFi are no big deal in today’s world and a person who has a smartphone has access to it.
“Hence, when the notifications keep popping up, our urge to open them and see the update drives us to the app and logging out of it is all the more difficult.”
#All views expressed in this article are those of the individual respondents and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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