10 julio, 2024

Inappropriate use of social networks: causes, consequences

He inappropriate use of social networks It occurs when there is a lack of control and the negative effects of its use exceed the positive effects. Some of these negative consequences are cyberbullying, sexting, loss of productivity and addiction to online shopping.

Although nowadays the use of social networks is almost inevitable, it is necessary to take certain precautions so that they do not become a problem. Ideally, you learn to use them properly and in moderation.

There are studies that express that 50% of the world population uses social networks, being the majority of adolescents and young users, who use these platforms for 3 hours a day. In addition, these values ​​are increasing year after year.

Social networks themselves are not bad, they can keep people who are distanced in touch, or even help to meet new friends. However, they can also generate unwanted effects. It all depends on the use that is given to them.


Causes of misuse of social networks

Some of the reasons why you can make inappropriate use of social networks are the following:


The fact that social networks give the possibility of establishing friendships can cause a dependency in people who are going through a period of loneliness, using them to cover an emotional void that is being experienced.

Difficulty relating personally

For some people, relating to other human beings usually brings with it a great emotional burden, sometimes frustrating the individual. This is why they prefer social networks to communicate, causing an addiction and generating more and more stress when having to face face-to-face situations.

addictive capacity

Social networks like Facebook, Instagram or TikTok are designed to generate addiction, with their designs and functions. This means that when a person starts using them, they can easily become addicted, without realizing how they are being controlled by the applications.

Want to show a positive image

The human being tries to show a positive image towards other people and this is also true in social networks.

The photos and stories that are seen on social networks are, for the most part, trying to show an image of perfection, seeking at all times the acceptance of followers. This seriously affects the self-esteem of people, who will feel better depending on the number of «likes» they get for their posts.

opinion without consequences

The coldness that virtuality gives when giving an opinion about something or someone, makes it possible to generate comments without taking into account or respecting the feelings of the person who receives them, causing stress and anguish to the recipient.

little parental control

The innocence or little judgment that adolescents have about the possible risks that are generated in the use of social networks, makes it necessary for parents to control them, guiding them towards a correct use of them, taking care of their privacy and exposure.

Examples of inappropriate uses of social networks

Some examples of inappropriate uses of social networks are described below:

Cyber ​​bullying

Cyberbullying, also known as cyberbullying, is a problem that has a greater incidence in adolescents and children. It occurs when a person is attacked or threatened through text messages, comments on posts, or showing embarrassing videos without their consent, among others.

Unfortunately, between 15% and 20% of young people who are subjected to cyberbullying, by not tolerating the situation, end up committing suicide.


Sexting consists of sending photos or videos with sexual content, of oneself, privately to another sender. The drawback that arises is that, sometimes, these photos are published without the consent of the author, causing an exposure that the author did not authorize.

Negative comments or insults

The ease provided by social networks to comment on any subject or person can lead to the fact that the feelings of the other person are not taken into account.

Negative news or fake news

One of the most negative uses of social networks is the viralization of false news. Certain people or organizations take advantage of the networks to publish news with false information but that are striking.


Grooming is when an adult poses as a child to interact with them, with the aim of committing sexual harassment or abuse. The possibility that social networks give to create false profiles makes this type of practice possible.

Exposure of personal data

The disclosure or exposure of personal data on social networks, or location information at all times, can cause situations of insecurity for users, since the intentions of the people who have access to this data are not always known.

Consequences of misuse of social media

Some of the consequences of inappropriate use of social networks are the following:

Variation of rest hours

The excessive and 24/7 use of social networks causes alterations in rest habits, causing fewer hours of sleep than recommended.

Being victims of crime

Criminals can use social media to target potential victims, from thieves trying to gain the trust of people they will ask for money, to dealers selling illegal goods, to cyber bullies.

Loss of productivity at work

It’s common for people of working age to spend too much time on social media and lose productivity. Having the smartphone nearby or having easy access to the networks means that they are aware of them and cannot focus on work.

Consuming inappropriate content

If children or young people who use social networks do not have appropriate control, they may be exposed to inappropriate content for their age.

Being a victim of personal data theft

Due to the need to constantly post, you lose track of the personal data being revealed. Giving information to people who, in some cases, do not know each other.

reduced social life

The constant use of social networks can cause a distance in personal relationships, leading to the interaction between people being carried out only in a «virtual» way.


The continuous comparison and competition to achieve more “likes” that exists on social networks focus attention on appearance and the need for approval from other people.


When you are aware of what is happening on social networks, you stop paying attention to your environment, which creates distractions and a lack of connection with the people around you.


A series of measures can be taken to try to prevent the inappropriate use of social networks, these are:

Set usage limits

Having a schedule for the use of social networks can cut the dependency they generate. In this way you can do other types of activities, or rest for the necessary hours, without distractions.

To moderate the use of networks, there are applications that allow you to limit the time spent with each application. Although it may not seem like much, an appropriate usage limit may be 30 minutes a day.

Set connection hours

If the hours of the day at which social networks are to be reviewed are not established, the notion of their use can be lost. Some people can check their smartphones hundreds of times.

To avoid this, it is important to establish the hours at which the networks will be accessed. For example, at 8 in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and 8 in the evening. It is advisable to check the networks at least 2 hours before bedtime, in order to have a healthy sleep free of the possible stress that misuse can cause.

Establish rules of use

In general, rules are essential to avoid problems when living as a family or as a couple. As far as social networks are concerned, one of the most important rules is not to use the networks when eating or when going out to practice family activities.

Do other activities

Face-to-face contact between people is very important, which is why group activities with friends or colleagues should be encouraged to maintain healthy social relationships.

In addition, it is advisable to carry out healthy activities, especially sports, without accessing the networks while practicing.


Minimizing the amount of data that is given on social networks is essential to prevent it from reaching the wrong hands.


Cooper, P. (2020). 140 Social Media Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2020. Retrieved from blog.hootsuite.com
The universe. (2014). Misuse of social networks affects children and adolescents. Retrieved from eluniverso.com
Hilliard, J. (2020). What Is Social Media Addiction? Retrieved from addictioncenter.com
Sánchez Pardo, L., Benito Corchete, R., Serrano Badía, A., Benavent, RA, & Bueno Cañigral, F.-J. (2020). Program for the prevention of problematic use of the Internet and social networks. “Clicking”. Retrieved from codajic.org
University of Barcelona, ​​I. (2018). Addiction to social networks: causes, consequences and solutions. Retrieved from psychology-online.com

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