Humans are social creatures. We need social interaction, but since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, social interactions have become complicated. COVID-19 has reduced many people’s opportunities to socialize in person, so many have turned to alternative methods of staying in touch such as digital technology. If rates of infection rise again, COVID cases are not likely to be the only thing surging – peoples’ social media use is likely to increase too and may remain high as people’s media habits solidify.
Through the pandemic, people have been finding ways to remain social. We may be able to interact face to face now more than previously, but the way we interact has been deeply altered. With new dangers and difficulties involved with normal communication, people are socializing in-person less. Many have turned to technology instead. Kantar, a website dedicated to tracking media habits, reports that “social media engagement increasing by 61% over normal usage rates” over the course of the pandemic (“Covid-19”). People have greatly increased social media use in place of in-person interaction.
Social media has provided an excellent way to stay connected safely in the time of the pandemic. It has allowed us to continue to communicate with others without risking infection. From sharing photos to direct messages, technology provides us with a multitude of ways to stay connected from a safe distance. However, there are also many detriments to an increased use of social media.
Technology has given us a lifeline for our mental health – a way to remain in the loop when we can’t always see the people we care about – but this lifeline has drawbacks for our wellbeing too. There are many reported negative physical and mental and emotional effects linked to an overuse of social media. It is becoming increasingly well known that internet use can be addicting, that it can negatively affect your sleep, and that it can put you at risk for mental illness. It is important that we stay mindful of our technology use. While we can enjoy the benefits of this safe way to stay connected, we should also stay mindful of how much we use social media to avoid the harmful effects it can have.
Works Cited: “Covid-19 Barometer: Consumer Attitudes, Media Habits and Expectations.” Kantar. Understand People. Inspire Growth., https://www.kantar.com/Inspiration/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Barometer-Consumer-attitudes-media-habits-and-expectations.