Will The Metaverse Create Challenges For An Already Scarred Social Media Generation?

Social media has come under scrutiny for damaging our mental health. One study even found that using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can lead to depression in some users. With the invention of the metaverse, the implications are clear. The ability to chat with friends or other people through avatars should have a huge psychological impact on how we interact with others, thereby prompting addiction and social media burnout.

Statista

(Image Source: Statista)

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This blog post will examine what this could mean for our future generations’ mental health while investigating what the creators of this new technology have to say about it.

The metaverse is a concept that describes a world where information is available in 3D space and also can be augmented with social interaction. Concepts like this are new and are being developed as we speak. While the theoretical benefits of this are profound, it may also raise mental health concerns for users in the future.

Many people first heard about the metaverse when it became a central focus in the movie The Matrix Reloaded. They took this to mean that a virtual world can be as powerful and mind-altering as the real world while being just as much fun. Though this concept is not used by most movies and video games today, many developers of these concepts still use it as their central focus.

Concepts like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Metaverse are part of a larger movement called “The Convergence.” This states that these three technologies will evolve and change their form to become one. While this may be far from happening, certain technologies are moving towards the metaverse idea.

One of the most popular VR apps is called “The Void.” This company has created VR worlds where users can walk around and interact with others through avatars. This type of technology is still new, but if it catches on with the wider public, it would fit perfectly into the metaverse definition.

Such examples could have a huge impact on how we interact with others in society in general. It could really affect the way we treat each other. Many people today are more likely to lash out at others when they are experiencing depression.

Some would argue that this would be an advantage to society, as those who should be treated with maturity and respect may connect with others in a more human way as many other devices like smartphones have let us, rather than the cold demeanor many people have complained of today. It could help us find peace with ourselves and others through communication.

However, there is a great deal of concern about how this could affect individuals in the future, as well as policymakers who need to decide if this is a good idea. First up is its effects on mental health. While this topic is fraught with difficulty, it is important as it affects everyone.

Social Media and Depression
Image Source: Clearvue Health

One study that analyzed data from 47,000 people found a significant connection between social media and depression. The study found that for every 1% increase in time spent on social media, there was a 0.09% increase in the chance of depression. This means that for every 1 hour of use, there was a 3% chance of depression.

This is obviously not good news for anyone using social media regularly or occasionally. The authors concluded that we should be aware of issues like this as it may well be affecting our mental health and our ability to connect with each other and society at large.

While this was just one study, there is a good body of research and data to back up this theory. Another study found a similar result, with depression levels significantly higher in social media users.

As far as the metaverse goes, we are still in the early stages of developing how it can be used by people around the world. However, anecdotal evidence shows that many people were addicted to Second Life and other Virtual Worlds sites. It affected their ability to interact with others and themselves in real life and caused them to become disengaged from society.

However, many people would argue that this isn’t because we were interacting in virtual worlds instead of real life. We could not control how much time we spent in these worlds caused the problems.

This brings us to the second potential side effect of this technology. It may become too addictive for users who are able to live out their wildest fantasies in a virtual space literally. We may find ourselves unable to leave these worlds, forgetting everything else in our lives except what is happening at that moment.

As a result, our societal interactions will be affected, as people will no longer be able to separate themselves from the real world and what is going on around them. This could lead to increased aggression and violence as people feel like they have no way out of their situation.

While the metaverse is a fascinating idea, there are certainly many ways it can and will change our lives. Hopefully, it can help us have better relationships with others as well as with ourselves. 

On the other hand, if it becomes too addictive or we lose control over how much time we spend in virtual worlds, our mental health and relationships may suffer in the future.

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Dmytro Spilka
Dmytro Spilka
Dmytro is a CEO at Solvid, a creative, long-form content creation agency based in London. Founder of Pridicto. His work has been published in Shopify, IBM, Entrepreneur, BuzzSumo, Campaign Monitor and Tech Radar.

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