This Is How Social Media Could Turn You Into Socially Anxious People

Fingers flying, incessant texting, phones held to ear as secondary appendages gives the illusion we are well connected. We are chattering and snapping and “selfieing” (I think I just made that word up — you can do that these days) all the live long day. Meanwhile scientists quietly dispense reports underlining an incredible finding: We are socially anxious people. Extremely socially anxious. So what gives?

Slowly raise your head away from your phone. It’s okay. You can do it. I am trying the same thing as you read this. Now look around. What do you see? We look like we are fluttering like social butterflies with our devices in hand. But if you dig deeper you will find another tale that tells a story quite sinister in its origins. We are hiding. Plain as day. Humans have found a way to hide right there in the open. We’re a tricky bunch, aren’t we?

We are indeed clever. But what we failed to realize is you can’t outrun human emotions. They will find a way to creep out and run amok. Human behavior is rooted in thoughts and feelings. We will never move beyond that unless we become robots. And while there is a good portion of our population trying, I will make this bold statement: We can’t advance our way out of being human.

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is an intense fear of possibly humiliating or embarrassing oneself in social situations. Social anxiety disorder is not shyness. Social anxiety causes intense fear in the individual, which leaves them prone to avoid social situations for fear of saying or doing something they deem “wrong.” People with social anxiety disorder may isolate themselves in an attempt to avoid the anxious feelings. They may not contribute to class discussions, offer up ideas or take part in conversations.

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