In twenty five years of the world wide web, the ways of interaction have completely changed. From ‘social friends’ to ‘social media friends’, the old way of friendship has angled off. The degree of honor to a relationship is being measured by one’s status update. ‘What are you feeling now?’, ‘What are you currently doing?’ or ‘Where are you now?’, every move is ritually shared.

With the onset of social media, individuals and society are getting affected as a whole. The digital platforms for communication and learning are greatly cherished and preferred by people of the 21st century. Additionally, a hand without a smartphone is pretty rare. People have embraced the virtual world, and why not!, with just a fingertip they have access to anywhere and anyone they wish. Online networks have become the young generation’s favorite platforms to  communicate; they have unique personas in virtual hubs infatuated with online relationships mediated through electronic screens.

Is virtual reality for real life mistaken? What influence does social media have on the quality of an individual’s life and society? Does it affect the brain and social behavior of an individual? Is human communication without emotions acceptable?

Facts and Figures

According to a recent survey, more than 47% of the world’s population uses the internet today. Almost 50% of the adult population between the age group of 18-34 years check facebook and whatsapp as soon as they wake up in the morning. It is impressive to see how facebook statistics can provide an inside view about the behavior of youth by evaluating their rigorous activities on the internet.

Virtual Global Communication

In the globalized world today, everyone has the opportunity to have a voice and be heard through democratic  internet platforms. People are finding it fun to promote themselves and share their experiences globally through such revolutionary platforms. Virtual participation systems can also be used against oppressors and corruption which occurs locally but spreads quickly on global level through social media. On the contrary, a huge amount of data is being collected every single second from various sources that includes corporate web pages, e-commerce etc. Where the flow of data is controlled by external servers, it becomes vital to determine safety measures before encountering data theft and data hack. Internet safety is still a major concern!

Virtual Individual Communication

Regardless of geographical distances, communication is quick and easy via internet and social networks. But can someone trust the identity of people in social media? The underlying truth is anonymity and freedom are facilitating cheaters to misbehave without consequences. Cyber-mobbing, plagiarism, loss of self-control etc. are some of the detrimental and adverse effects on a person’s well-being including mental health of the current generation of adolescents who form the majority of social media users.

Does Social Media Influence the Human Brain?

Owing to its malleability, the complex set of neurons in the human brain is significantly driven by outside world experience. Brain is sensitive to influences and has the ability to learn and adapt. From boosting the senses to stimulating personalized cognitive context called identity, this is how brain formulates outside influences. The extensive use of internet and social networks through strong visual and fast-paced multimedia environments may infuse shorter attention spans in a child’s brain resulting in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) hampering the ability of imagination and abstraction. Social media has undeniably removed barriers in communication, played a vital role in eCommerce and democratization, connected the deserted areas and so on but its associated dangers can’t be overlooked. Can people survive without internet and social media? Can’t gatekeepers be installed to filter out the irrelevant and malicious content? Can’t an algorithm predict what is important and what is not? Well, the impact of social media develops over time and the most subtle way to counterbalance its effects is to raise self-awareness.