April 1, 2020
Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform in the world. It boasts 2.45 billion monthly active users, or about one-third of the entire world’s population. That does not include monthly users of Instagram, Facebook’s top subsidiary. A closer look at the numbers, however, reveals that men must carefully evaluate social media usage.
Statista data show that 56% of Facebook users are men. Granted 90% of the platform’s active daily users are located outside of the United States and Canada. But it is still the most active platform for American men. Younger demographics gravitate to Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms to escape monitoring by their parents.
Social media are still relatively new phenomena. Myspace was the first platform of any significance in the mid-2000s. Today the first thing a vast majority of American men do when they wake up in the morning is check social media profiles. The average U.S. adult man spends about 40 minutes per day on Facebook, according to data compiled by eMarketer. That’s far less than the 170 minutes of daily television watching for adults in 1993. But television was more of a group activity among families and friends during that time period.
Researchers are studying the effects of social media on society. The results are becoming clear. Humans are not meant to communicate primarily through hand-held electronic devices.
Secrets and deception
Marriage rates peaked in the 1940s after World War II. More than 16 people per 1,000 were married in the late 1940s. It’s the only time in US history this feat was achieved, according to CDC data. Marriage rates dropped dramatically in the 1950s, before rebounding back over 10 marriages per 1,000 people through most of the 1970s and 1980s. Matrimony has steadily declined since the mid-1990s when internet became mainstream. These numbers are not in a vacuum of course. But many glaring observations show the effects social media have on marriage.
The Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that a woman could serve her husband divorce papers via Facebook messenger in 2015. Thus courts made it easier to end marriages. A 2014 survey of divorce attorneys found that 33% of petitions cited Facebook as a reason for dissolving the marriage. Another study named Facebook the leading cause of divorce. Attorneys say couples that share their social media passwords with one another reported little or no friction due to social media.
Seattle-based family law firm McKinley Irvin found that 15% of their clients believe Facebook is detrimental to their marriage. The firm also found that 25% of couples fight at least once per week due to Facebook.
Social media mental illness
The Addiction Center says addiction to social media is a behavioral disorder driven by uncontrollable urges. It’s very similar to drug addicts craving fixes. The organization estimates that upwards of 10% of Americans suffer from social media addiction. Likes, shares and comments produce similar brain activity, particularly dopamine release, as when someone take opioids and other narcotic drugs.
Facebook was particularly appealing to Generation X and Baby Boomers in the 2000s. Gen X had been out of high school for a decade or longer and enjoyed reconnecting with old friends (and ex-girlfriends). Boomers had a similar affinity for the site for the same reasons. Today these men have their real lives at home, in addition to their social media lives. The lines are continually blurring as technology creates augmented realities that are detrimental to your health and well-being.
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