The misuse of these new tools gives rise to different psychological effects.
The great change of our time comes from the hand of the internet. New technologies have enabled us all to be connected and informed through smartphones and computers.
Although at first glance this greater access to information and communications only represents a clear advantage for our species, the truth is that there are also people who lose control and maintain a problematic relationship with these technologies, to the point of developing clinical pictures derived from their misuse.
How do social networks affect us?
As we saw in an article a few months ago, social networks (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are a great way to keep in touch with people who are far away, but at the same time it has led to disorders, such as the FOMO Syndrome. It seems that we are so connected to the networks that we have lost the ability to focus on ourselves, our well-being and the present moment.
But this is not the only problem derived from social networks. People addicted to the reward produced by having more followers or more ‘likes’ in their photographs also come to the consultation . Spiritual retreats are even fashionable in which dozens of people take advantage of the weekend to free themselves of the toxic burden that dependence on new technologies generates.
Interview with Marta Marín Martínez, from Clínica Mariva
To delve into all the problems that new technologies are generating in general, and social networks in particular, we wanted to talk with Marta Marín Martínez, from Clínica Mariva in Valencia.
Bertrand Regader: Has the fact of regularly using social networks on the Internet affected our self-image and our way of evaluating ourselves?
Mariva: I think there is no doubt that it is. We started using social networks in which, although the image was important, it was not the main thing or it did not have to be. We shared texts and others, but this has reached the point where the dominant social network is based on the image as a strong point, so we have reached a point where it is affecting excessively.
How have interpersonal relationships changed since we have used platforms like Facebook or Instagram?
These social networks have as one of their positive points that they allow to maintain relationships, know the latest news from friends, etc., so they help to maintain the feeling of belonging, something basic for the human being.
However, it is also important to reflect on the fact that sometimes we have contacts in social networks with whom we have not met for years, is it necessary then to know aspects about their life or vice versa?
Specifically in the field of couple relationships … what kind of problems arise from the use of these online platforms?
Problems arise, especially when it comes to jealousy. There is an obvious upturn in consultations in our center due to problems of this type “she has liked a photo of another girl … she follows her ex-partner on social networks … she does not answer the whatsapps at the moment. I think that the problem is not the social network, there is a problem of jealousy and mistrust and the social network or the use of instant messaging is serving as a catalyst.
Another type of common problem is that the couple is together but one or both are more aware of the mobile, looking at other things or even waiting to upload photos of what they do. In these cases, I would tell you the same as in the previous case, there is already a basic problem that is not the social network itself.
On the other hand, the use of these digital resources comes at the cost of a certain loss of privacy. Do we tend to underestimate this disadvantage?
Of course, it is what we mentioned, that we have contacts that we have not seen for years and that are up to date with our lives. We are detracting from privacy, something that is a value of the first order and that, I think, we should take care of much more.
There is also talk of the way in which social networks keep us glued to the screen. How do you explain this ability they have to be aware of what the rest of our contacts upload and share?
People are curious about what people around them do, it is something natural, but it can become “gossip” and, that is why, why social networks, as well as television reality shows are so successful . We tend to like a lot to look out the window and see what the neighbor is doing, and the social network allows this instantly, although, continuing with the metaphor, it is a window with many filters in which we do not see the total reality of the neighbor, but that, generally, its most positive part, which can reduce our self-esteem due to the happy social comparison.
Possibly people with anxiety problems do not cope well with the torrent of information that platforms such as Facebook or Twitter throw at us. Is this reflected in the cases seen in therapy?
The worst thing people with anxiety, or even without it, is the feeling of having to be available and reachable at any time, that is something that prevents disconnecting.
On the other hand, as you say, overstimulation is very harmful to anxiety and it is essential that we relearn how to watch a movie, listen to music, go out with friends … enjoying this task alone and not looking at the mobile.
Are we being educated to compete in number of likes, retweets and comments on photos?
Yes, although little by little, we are realizing how useless it is and many people are choosing to eliminate social networks from their lives, but, this is especially worrying in the world of young people and adolescents, because, at a fundamental age For the development of adequate self-esteem, we are promoting that this is based on the perception of others and their reaction to our image or the image we want to give, this is harmful for the development of a healthy self-esteem.
And what about people who decide not to use social media? Are they handicapped by a lack of ability to meet new people?
As we have talked about, I perceive that it is an upward trend, although it is still strange to meet people who have decided to do without social networks and those who do tend to feel more excluded and, when it comes to meeting new people, it begins to be indispensable, even, to establish relationships as a couple.