The dark side of social evolution

In my last blog post I explored how technology can affect social media in the future, but how can social media affect us as humans? The human brain has evolved steadily for the last fifty thousand years. Is our evolution having a hard time keeping up with the development of modern technology? According to scientists, the technology now grows exponentially.

Throughout history, humans developed different languages for interpersonal communication. Now, we can communicate through thin air. We know it can have side effects, with people being stuck on their phones – but we tend to make fun of it. What about serious side effects from social media, which could negatively alter the psychology behind how humans interact in the future?

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Phones stealing attention (Source: Odyssey)

Sir Terry Pratchett, backed by educational psychologist Dr. Kairen Cullen, claims that social media and texting could harm a child’s interpersonal skills. Pratchett states that kids’ interaction on social media, as a surrogate for human interaction, affects their ability to write proper sentences and worsens their behavior.

“If you have a wide vocabulary you can think different thoughts. It stops you getting frustrated. If you have the words to identify exactly what you mean, you can get your message across and I’m sure this is linked to rough behaviour.” (Sir Terry Pratchett, 2012)

What will happen when this generation grows up to take a real place in society, working and communicating with people from other generations? Will this trend continue, affecting the generations after, in increasingly negative ways? It’s hard to imagine what human interaction will be like in the future, with the (supposed) negative psychological development that is occurring within future generations. Perhaps the world will be a less social place, with more social media interaction.

Being Human

An article from Forbes presents another scary subject: Is social media, in this case Facebook, tampering with our natural way to express ourselves? The writer mentions the “like” button on Facebook – and the lack of a dislike button. Human beings need to express ourselves in different ways, not only positive. Will social media platforms developed to only be friendly, alter our social patterns? Research even claims that social networks are becoming increasingly hostile. What problems can arise from this in the long term, and in the future in general?

It is not just our brains

According to scientists, many people may develop “text neck”. Billions of people are using cell phone devices on the planet, essentially in poor posture” (Hansraj, 2014). This may lead to early spinal degeneration, and even headaches, neurological problems and heart disease (Hansraj, 2014; Mercola, 2014). It is safe to assume that social media is to blame for a lot of cell phone usage, leading to this. Will this degenerate us, or will we be “saved” by microchips in our brains replacing phones?

connected-brains

Connected Brains (Source: Mehmet Doğramacı)

Social media in general is of great benefit to us, and the future might make it even better. It is important for the human race to be enlightened, and see every aspect of social media – even the dark side. With that perspective on it, we might save ourselves from getting lost.

What dark sides of social media have you encountered? What dark sides do you think will arise in the future of social media? Please give me your opinion.