Los Angeles Collegian Online

Social Media Codependency on the Rise

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By Angelia Coyne

Before the Coronavirus pandemic occurred, there were already issues surrounding people and social media codependency. Now that COVID-19 is here, social distancing is leading to painstaking levels of isolation, which may have increased the desensitization associated with social media usage.

Friendships, familial and romantic relationships are becoming at the mercy of social media. The rising trend of what I call replacement therapy is no longer isolated but has reached epic proportions.

With the stress and anxiety from job loss, homelessness, hunger, and a plethora of personal issues, turning to social media has become easier than talking with someone.

When digital reality is used to supplant emotions, we learn to touch without feeling, express without receiving responses.

“Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism, and decreased social skills,” Behavioral Scientist and Relationship Coach Clarissa Silva said.

Digital emotional dependency mimics real emotions but leaves a residue of abnormalcy. When dealing with digital emotional dependency, you convince yourself these encounters will fruition into emotional stimulation you normally get from a personal relationship.

Much of the world is on lockdown, and one of the concerns during this time of COVID-19 is, many are suffering from cabin fever, needing an outlet to prevent going stir crazy. Turning to social media has become an obvious choice.

Unwittingly, digital emotional dependency or digital reality, has become an anomaly blatantly disregarding emotions and the need for them. These anomalies replace distinctive emotions surreptitiously with digital stimuli, creating neural repletion making emotions nothing more than likes and emoji.

“Sixty percent of people using social media reported that it has impacted their self-esteem in a negative way. Fifty percent reported social media having negative effects on their relationship,” said Silva.

Because of COVID-19, almost everything except for essential workers like first responders, nurses, service workers (Wal-Mart, rubbish collection), etc., has gone digital. In a way, forcing people to become codependent to social media in order to keep functional.

While we integrate new technology for this crisis, we also proliferate loneliness, emotional detachment, and the need for human interaction. None of the attributes form human interdependency. No touching, eye contact, respiration or natural scents,

Social media has become a core dysfunction for some, trapping minds behind glass not sensing something sinister is happening.

The unfortunate losses from this pandemic should compel us to put down our cell phones, turn off the computer, and give someone a hug or ask them how are they doing. Kindness is free, and so many are in need of it, especially during this pandemic.

Setting boundaries and creating limits on digital emotional dependency can open the door to spending more time talking and supporting people.

Try using social media to communicate forming new ideas that encourage, not isolate. Instead of looking for the newest thing online, look for your friends and loved ones until you can get to them, not replace them with social media.

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