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From ‘Reel’ Love to ‘Real’ Problems: Understanding the Social Media Obsession in ‘Young India

Reels Addiction: The Unseen Impact of Social Media Obsession

In the era of rapid technological advancement, our lives have been transformed in unprecedented ways. From a time when news and information were disseminated through newspapers, we have moved to an age where voices echo through various mediums. The evolution of communication has brought us to the pinnacle of mass connectivity, and at the forefront of this revolution is social media. It’s safe to say that social media is the true harbinger of the mass communication revolution.

With a mobile phone in every hand, equipped with the power of the internet and high-quality cameras, individuals can capture and share moments with the world effortlessly. People can showcase their talents and express themselves through mobile videos and Reels on social media platforms. Among these platforms, social media Reels have emerged as the most influential medium, captivating the attention of people throughout the day.

Not only do people spend hours scrolling through Reels, but they also invest significant time brainstorming and creating their own content. Some Reels serve a purpose, some entertain, and some simply uplift moods. However, the excessive consumption of Reels is having a detrimental impact on the mental health of ordinary individuals. Today, we delve into a special report about the addiction to social media Reels and its adverse effects on the youth of our country.

The Evolution of Entertainment

In the past, individuals indulged in entertainment by watching movies on the big screen for several hours. Then came the era of television, where people would tune into soap operas for half-hour or hour-long episodes. The internet brought forth platforms like YouTube and video streaming websites with a plethora of 10 to 15-minute videos, and people started to take a liking to these short-form videos. But now, the era of Reels has dawned upon us.

When you have a mobile phone in your hand, time seems to slip away unnoticed as you watch Reels. Hours pass by without a trace, leaving you unaware of how much time you’ve spent. Recently, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad conducted a study titled ‘New Age Digital Media Consumption,’ shedding light on this phenomenon.

According to the study, people in our country spend approximately 194 minutes, or 3 hours and 14 minutes, on social media each day. Subtract the recommended 8 hours of sleep, and you’ll find that around 20% of their day is devoted to social media. Moreover, people dedicate 44 minutes to OTT platforms and 46 minutes to online gaming daily.

The Magnitude of Social Media Reels

It may astonish you to learn that Instagram alone witnesses 176 million hours of Reels watched every day in India. This staggering figure is just for one social media platform. TikTok, a platform dedicated to short-form videos, records 10 times this viewership. TikTok boasts a daily viewership of 1.978 billion hours. Besides these, Facebook, YouTube, and countless other social media platforms feature short videos or Reels, each vying for users’ attention. Spending excessive time on social media, specifically watching or creating Reels, is slowly becoming a pernicious habit, ensnaring the youth of our nation.

The Science Behind Reel Addiction

According to research from Harvard Medical School, the addiction to watching or creating Reels on social media is considered a Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI). This condition is characterized by an unusual hyperactive response observed in individuals who spend an inordinate amount of time on video streaming platforms. Additionally, another symptom that surfaces is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), where individuals frequently switch between videos, struggling to maintain focus and restlessness permeates other aspects of their lives.

On social media platforms, be it posting photos, videos, or Reels, not receiving likes, comments, or shares can be disheartening. Content creators often hold high expectations for their Reels, hoping they’ll be as popular as those created by celebrities. When this doesn’t happen, frustration sets in, and it manifests in various ways. Individuals may develop symptoms like depression, accompanied by issues such as sleep disturbances, headaches, and migraines.

Seeking Escape through Reels

A research study conducted by the Indira Gandhi National Open University in Ahmedabad aimed to understand why people invest so much time in creating and watching Reels. The study surveyed individuals aged 18 to 36. Surprisingly, 85% of respondents stated that watching or creating Reels provided them with entertainment.

92% mentioned that making Reels gave them a sense of self-reward and self-promotion. They felt a sense of achievement through likes, comments, and video shares. Another 88% felt that creating Reels made them feel trendy and in tune with the times, as if they were following the latest trends. Hence, they believed that spending time on social media was a necessity.

87% of participants stated that they saved their videos, images, or Reels as a way of preserving their memories. Moreover, 87% of respondents revealed that watching or creating Reels served as a temporary escape from their responsibilities or troubles. They saw it as an escape plan. It’s noteworthy that a higher percentage of women fell into this category compared to men. Lastly, 83% of participants used social media and Reels as a means to seek new experiences and pleasures.

In conclusion, while social media Reels offer entertainment, self-promotion, a sense of trendiness, and an escape from daily life for many, their excessive consumption has raised concerns about the mental well-being of individuals. It’s imperative that we strike a balance between the virtual and real worlds to ensure a healthy and fulfilling life.

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