Experts have suggested that the use of social media can blunt emotions or cause progressive trauma.
Trauma-like experiences, such as accidents or assaults, cause trauma. But even if you don’t have a bad experience in person, the terrible news you hear through the media can also be trauma. However, unlike news that is somewhat refined, social media that exposes raw material can have a bigger impact than news.
In social media, everyone functions as a media. Corona 19-related news, as well as various uncomfortable news such as racism and animal cruelty, are often shared in the form of stimulating photos or videos without filtering.
If you open a social media app with your smartphone and scroll without thinking about it, you will encounter cruel and sadistic scenes. At first, it is shocked, but after that, if you are constantly and repeatedly exposed to such information, it no longer comes as a great stimulus. So, is the mental health of people who have seen such bad scenes for a long time okay?
Shocking event, repeated consumption… Emotionally insensitive
According to experts, the constant consumption of negative information can lead to more traumatic trauma than we think.
Katie Day Good, a professor at the University of Miami’s Department of Communications, said social media acts as a double-edged sword from a humanitarian perspective. It is an opportunity to find a better solution by publicizing various social issues, but on the other hand, exposure to too many tragic events also causes emotions to become insensitive.
It is easy to reach a state of emotional numbness in that one news has not yet been fully digested and another news is immediately encountered in succession. Psychotherapist Grace Dowd said this is a phenomenon called a “frog in boiling water.” This means that if the frog suddenly enters hot water, it jumps out, but gradually raises the temperature of the water and boils it, meaning that it does not notice that the situation is worsening and remains in the water and is in danger.
In other words, the bad news that we constantly encounter through social media are increasingly affecting our emotions, but people do not recognize it and continue to consume negative images and videos.
Trauma remains like a trauma… Poor empathy
It also affects our nervous system. When you encounter bad news, a stress reaction occurs, and stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. If this cycle of hormone secretion occurs repeatedly, the moment you connect to social media, you will immediately reach a state in which a stress response occurs. This is a kind of’representative trauma’, which amplifies anxiety like a trauma survivor and leads to doomscrolling, where only negative news is consumed. Like people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), they perceive the world as a dangerous place and become sensitive.
Problems with poor empathy can also arise. Although online witch hunting is becoming a serious social issue, the crowd behavior of biting off a person who has committed one wrong is repeated until death. There are many reasons for this, but it is difficult to empathize, and one of the reasons is not to care about other people’s painful feelings.
Although the use of social media is an inevitable socio-cultural phenomenon, experts recommend that use strategies for mental health, such as limiting the time of use, are needed. In addition, it is also important to make the habit of deliberately contacting good news or warm stories. In addition, it is advised that it is necessary to have a more relaxed mind away from’FOMO’, which believes that the content posted through social media should not be missed. Instead of devoting your spare time to social media checks, you also need to practice switching to a healthier direction such as exercise or reading.
Reporter Moon Se-young [email protected]
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