“Digital Fasting” .. psychological relief from the pressures of the virtual world

Racha Kanakriya

Amman- As soon as a person opens his eyes early in the morning, he holds his smartphone in his hand to check the notifications he has received and, through the pages of social networking sites, monitors the smallest details that he thinks missed during his sleep. !
With social media platforms brimming with every day activity in great detail, and the camera documenting every move with continuous tracking of everything posted, some sometimes stand up and wonder: How long will these sites will they continue to drain our energies?
Some have found “digital fasting” to be the best option, so Shefaa (26) did. She is a social person and has many acquaintances and friends, and by virtue of her work in the media field, she talks to many people inside and outside Jordan and at various sites in social media.
One day she decided to stay away from social platforms, the resulting pressure and the feeling of having to communicate with everyone caused her many problems, and Shefaa says the decision did not was easy because of his work as a journalist. on the other hand, if she does not, her mental health will be affected, because she feels “captive” of these platforms.
No restrictions
“I need to get away to rest a little and be with my family and the people I love. Social media has isolated me from everyone and the phone does not leave my hands, and I want to be a bit free,” Shefaa said. decision to “digital fast” for an unlimited period. The first time I left Shifaa social media was for 3 whole months, and it was a very comfortable time. The only thing I’ve lost a bit is getting to know other people’s news, but that wasn’t too bad because she was able to catch up on it all with people in her real circles that she loves and adore.
What led to the resumption of ‘digital fasting’ is the lack of her ability to deal with people ‘virtually’ and because her mental health is important to her in the first place, indicating that there is ‘commitment’ imposed by the communication platforms, the need to respond to everyone’s messages, and the compliments here and there, everything seemed to become heavy for her.
A break that relieves depression
A new study has found that taking a break from social media apps for just one week can reduce depression and anxiety. A study by a group of researchers from Britain’s University of Bath has confirmed that social media are a part of many people’s lives. are essential because of their personality and their interaction with others. The study states: “If the user spends hours each week browsing these sites and feels that they are affecting them negatively, it may be worth reducing their use of these to see if this is beneficial.
The study found that people who took a seven-day break from social platforms and apps such as Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook reported an increased sense of well-being, and the study adds that Excessive “social media” following fuels symptoms of depression.
A recent global report by “Hootsuite” shows the extent of the expansion and growth of the user base of social networks around the world, as the state of the Internet is on the rise and users of these networks in all countries of the world have reached more than 4.62 billion users until the beginning of this year, and the prevalence of their use relative to the population The estimated world population of 7.91 billion is approximately 58.4%.
In Jordan, the global report revealed that the number of users of all social media platforms in Jordan reached almost 7 million active users at the beginning of this year, constituting up to 67% of the total population of the country. Kingdom, which exceeds ten million people. , and people have become more connected to social networks during the “Corona” crisis. “This imposed severe measures on us.
Many believe that digital fasting is necessary for a person in each period in order to be in real contact with their reality, away from virtual relationships and follow-ups that cause pressure and turmoil, and alienate them from their close surroundings and its environment.
The purpose of the platforms is to keep the user captive to them
Consultant and author in the field of digital growth, Khaled Al-Ahmad shows that social networking sites differ in their audience and interests. Facebook has its audience, friends and family, Instagram is for people interested in life issues such as health, food, sports and art, and Twitter’s audience is made up of journalists, politicians and opinion leaders, in addition to people who specialize in certain fields, while the LinkedIn audience allows you to connect with managers, owners of large and small businesses and opinion leaders.
Al-Ahmad explains that the goal of each platform is to retain users for as long as possible because they are consumers of corporate-funded ads. Using the phone and every existing button for navigation, so it navigates with the thumb without using the other hand, and the goal is to facilitate the consumer’s task so that he does not get bored or leave the platform.
Betting on time is therefore the winning currency to attract the user as long as possible, and allow him to perform a specific action in less than 3 seconds with a single click.
The user must ask themselves: what is the return?
Al-Ahmad stresses that it is important for every user to know what the return or value of staying on this platform is, as most “unintentionally” surf for entertainment purposes without looking at the quality of the content they consume, but we have to pay attention to it “so as not to be under the control of the content of the timewall”. . Al-Ahmad explains how the algorithm of social platforms works, because they feed on any interest of the consumer, whether big or small, and try to show him content similar to his interest, and that’s a big deal because over time he is attracted to interests that do not necessarily concern him, he then becomes under the control of the digital algorithm of the platform.
Al-Ahmad states that in 2012, Facebook conducted an experiment on 700,000 users without their knowledge, because the algorithm was stopped and negative content was placed for a week, then positive content for another week to see if it was possible to control the production of content for users, and I discovered that the content of users’ pages was affected by it.
Al-Ahmad notes that Facebook is the most dangerous social platform because it takes the rights of other apps on the phone and “listens” through it, and through the settings it can be disabled, but most do not. do not.
Suddenly the user sees many advertisements showing up and talking about the same topic he was thinking about, and sometimes the most dangerous thing is having a certain idea in a particular product or service and then he sees advertisements at this subject presented to him simply because he thinks about it. And here is the question: how did this happen when I didn’t tell anyone?
After researching this aspect, it was found that this idea is not a product of the moment and does not come from the construction of the ideas of the individual, but rather has been implanted in his mind through the content on the wall of time on Facebook which is indirectly and noticed by the subconscious side of the brain, and it is a serious matter which affects us negatively, according to Al-Ahmad.
Personal experience: liberation and improvement of the psychological state
Al-Ahmad spoke about his personal experience, during a period when he felt his psychological state was negatively affected by the constant presence on the Facebook platform due to the nature of his work and noticed that he was affected by it, and after thinking about it, he asked himself: What is the ROI of each social platform? He found that the return of Facebook is to communicate with people and there are business opportunities, but the social aspect is dominant and he realized that the return on his personal investment is zero without any interest , so he decided to cancel his personal account on Facebook after he spent more than 12 years.
Al-Ahmad discovered that he spends a lot of time on the Facebook platform and now his time is better spent, his productivity is high and his attention starts to focus on other things in the real world and in other places. other social networks. platforms that have a higher investment than Facebook, as well as its psychological state has become much better.
Al-Ahmad shows that digital fasting or so-called “digital fasting” is a term that exists and differs from person to person, and resorting to it is due to the control of social platforms and strategies that they have put in place that affect us and make us “captive and addicted” to these platforms.
Move away from platforms, gain in maturity and notoriety
Some have resorted to suppressing the alerts, since they are scattered, and the most important thing is that the individual is not a prisoner of them, and the solution is to stop them and make the decision to inspect them in the time available , according to Al-Ahmad, and through the settings, the time we spend on each browsing platform appears.
While others have gone to the next level, which is removing all social platforms from the phone and checking them from the computer at certain times, which has allowed them to focus, increase productivity and not be distracted.
On the psychological side, Dr. Ali Al-Ghaz shows that deciding to stay away from social media platforms indicates a person’s maturity, as some people shy away from it for many reasons including dissatisfaction with life. regard to the content presented, so he decides to remain silent. and not browse the platform.
The invasion indicates that the general reason for this distance is the psychological pressure that results from these platforms, so that the person decides to abandon them, away from stress, anxiety and constant reflection.
The invasion notes that distancing and canceling accounts happens to people who have maturity and awareness, so they review themselves and pay attention to their psychological state from time to time away from the digital world, and the goal is to rearrange the priorities in a person’s life. Invasion indicates that digital fasting is a commitment to a period of silence and rest away from stress, to feel happy after these platforms have caused psychological pressure, and when the person comes back strong and with a specific purpose.
The state of addiction to social networking sites can lead a person to a stage of physical and psychological fatigue, a state of anxiety and lack of sleep. Spending long hours on social networking sites can cause physical illnesses and may suffer from mental wandering, and therefore suffering from depression.
The invasion concludes that the psychological and social damage caused by the platforms is significant and growing, encouraging digital fasting for its positive feedback, therefore temporary suspension when needed, no matter how long a person spends away from the sites social networks; It has a beneficial effect on health and psychologically.

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