We are in the midst of the third Industrial Revolution known as the Digital Revolution. This has changed the way we communicate with each other through a plethora of digital mediums such as:
1. Instant messaging
3. Interactive gaming
4. Chat rooms
6. Social media
What is Friendship?
Integrative medicine is much more than the incorporation of complementary and alternative medicine. Integrative medicine embraces is the focus on the physical, psychological, spiritual, social domains. Friendship is an integral component when we consider these factors. In the hierarchy of friendship partners, children come first followed by friends.Our real world friends tend to know the same people that we do, but with our online friends our friendship networks are extended. But the question we ask ourselves is are ouronline friends our real friends?
Facebook is as popular as ever with over 1.7 billion users worldwide. It is easy to increase your ‘network of friends’ through having a brief, genuine online interactions and acknowledging acquaintances as part of your friendship network.
One of the growing concerns of Facebook is privacy. It is one of the best ways to know what people are up to. Many folks make the mistake of publishing private images and status update publicly. Furthermore, Facebook is full of fake profiles and images and many are created by stalkers and marketers selling products.
Research studies on Social Media
A recent complementary and alternative medicine research study carried out by Pitt’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and HealthUniversity of Pittsburg, has shown that quarter of the participants aged 19 – 32 who used social media were classified as having “high” indicators of depression.
Another recent study on 264 young adults published in Journal of Adolescent Health showed that negative Facebook experiences were significantly associated with depressive symptoms.
Integrative medicine is used to treat many mental health disorders. Many of these disorders can arise from being bullied at school. Nowadays, many school teenage bullies have taken to social media; rather than hurl insults face-to-face they humiliate the victim by falsehoods and spread this humiliation through their social network. This damage can often be irreversible. Many practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine promote the importance of ‘real world’ friendships as it helps prevent isolation, improve self-esteem, reduce addictive tendencies and improve support systems when ‘life gets tough’.
While social media is important for many, we need to recognise that excessive use of social media is associated with anxiety, depression, and poor sleep habits. A 2009 survey revealed that social networking sites cost UK companies over 2.25 billion dollars every year through losing work productivity. If you are spending more than one hour per day on social media or addictive to playing games such as’ Pokemon Go’, then there are concerns and you should try and reduce this.
Detox therapy is often used in Integrative Medicine and now some practitioners of complementary and alternative medicine often encourage the use of a digital detox to create a more balanced life as it can improve your physical and emotional health. So if you do spend over an hour a day on social media then perhaps it is time for a digital detox. Maybe as we read this blog, we should all reflect if we require a ‘digital detox’ perhaps try it for one day – maybe spend a day going for a walk in the nature;you will feel rejuvenated.