Social media syndromes: Take a look at some modern-day disorders born out of social media | #socialmedia | #children

We take a look at some of the modern-day disorders born out of social media that are engulfing today’s generation.By Reya Mehrotra

The Netflix docufilm The Social Dilemma talked about the many ills of social media, one of them being Snapchat dysmorphia syndrome, which arises out of the need for social recognition and acceptance. We take a look at some of the modern-day disorders born out of social media that are engulfing today’s generation.

The most common practice associated with the excessive use of social media is ignoring one’s family members or friends by constantly being on the phone. It impacts relationships and makes face-to-face conversations distant and harder. While one may be termed rude and arrogant because of this habit, it is a threat to self-esteem and meaningful existence.

Facebook depression
According to research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Facebook depression is common in children and teens today. It is related to feeling unpopular while checking news feeds, photos, wall posts, etc, and may result in low self-esteem, especially in young children. Researchers say that social media usage might not directly cause depression, but youngsters who are already feeling depressed can fall into severe depression when negatively impacted and exposed by social media. What if they post a photo or write something and no one likes it? This thought troubles those suffering from Facebook depression.

Snapchat dysmorphia syndrome
This is a form of body dysmorphic disorder, which causes people to be extremely conscious of a perceived flaw that might seem minor or non-existent to others. Such people tend to obsess over their bodies and may even get surgeries to look picture-perfect or close to Snapchat filters. The accessibility of ample editing options to look flawless on social media is a reason behind this.

Social media anxiety disorder
SMAD is when social media starts affecting the mental and physical well-being of an individual. Some of the most common symptoms include adding strangers to social media accounts, spending eight or more hours on social media, a sense of anxiety when there are no comments or pictures are not posted correctly, checking the number of followers constantly, a sense of attachment to devices, checking social media accounts even when around family or friends, etc. Such people also tend to have low self-esteem, dysfunctional families, body image issues, clinginess and extreme loneliness.

Phantom ringing syndrome
Also called phantom vibration syndrome, it is a perception that one’s phone is vibrating or ringing when it is not. It is also called phonetom, ringxiety or fauxcellarm. It is a form of tactile hallucination in which the brain receives signals that do not exist. The ringing can be experienced anytime. Spending excessive time with phones usually causes the syndrome and it starts occurring usually after a month to a year of excessive usage. Some complain of hearing the vibrations daily, while others might experience them occasionally or once every two weeks. One can turn off the phone vibration or change the ringtone to avoid the same.

‘No mobile phone phobia’ is the fear of not having your phone around or being able to use it. It is so severe that it may even start impacting one’s daily life. Some believe nomophobia is phone addiction. Its symptoms can include irritation, stress, anxiety or panic on not being able to find one’s phone. Shaking, tightness in chest, increased sweating and breathing are also dominant. Those affected tend to take their phones everywhere—to the bathroom and even in the shower—check it constantly, feel helpless without it and spend a major part of the day with the phone.

Cyberchondria is when one searches everything related to one’s health online, including diagnosis and cure. There is a tendency to interpret even the slightest of things, which might be normal otherwise, as a disease or health concern based on information from the internet. One is said to be a hyper cyberchondriac when one spend hours searching for symptoms one might have and illnesses related to it. There is also the fear of having different diseases even when the health is perfectly fine.

Google effect
This is also called digital amnesia. It means forgetting information that can be easily accessed online. Such people are less likely to remember information that can be available through search engines. It was first identified in 2011. Instead of remembering details, even personal information like phone numbers, people tend to use phones or the internet to access it.

FOMO is social anxiety rooted in the fact that a person might miss out on fun or an important event when they are not present. This makes people socially active all the time. Social networking worsens FOMO, as it can lead to phone and social media addiction. It impacts psychological well-being, mood, long-term goals and life satisfaction. It starts if a person’s psychological needs have not been satisfied over a long term.

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