WhatsApp is an application that has a growing impact around the world. Not only has it taken leaps and bounds compared to other messaging services, but it has also welcomed a new era of social relations through technology. While in principle this is a significant contribution to facilitating communication, it has also given indications that it may be a tool that creates various risks.
According to a study by the Global Web Index, which examined the use of WhatsApp in 34 different countries, an estimated 40% of Internet users use the app. The study also found that its use is on the rise among 16-64 year olds. The top ten Whatsapp countries are South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, India, Singapore, Spain, Argentina, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil.
One of the major factors in Whatsapp’s success is its simplicity and practicality in how groups are created and managed. While other applications have similar functionality, WhatsApp turned group communication into a growing trend. Face-to-face contact is no longer the most popular method; everything is governed on a semi-private, collective level.
Is Whatsapp causing problems?
Whatsapp causes problems, but as with other areas of technology, the difficulty is not in the application itself, but in the people who use it. Of concern is the tendency of people to make their communication more and more electronic.
In other words, people are substituting direct contact with each other for contact that takes place through some means. It started with the use of a telegraph. Then came the telephone and finally the internet, which broke all imagined boundaries.
If you live in Lima and want to communicate with someone who is in Beirut, such media is a blessing. Without them, it would be impossible to communicate in real time as cheaply as we can now.
Problems arise when we use these applications to communicate even with the people we live with, work with, and study with. People could just as easily talk to each other face to face. The situation gets worse as you increasingly stop meeting almost everyone and you have your eyes glued to your cell phone screen.
Especially in WhatsApp and its group functions, users experience a new need: to be constantly connected. Constant review so they know what everyone said and what someone else answered. The interesting thing is that these conversations are amazingly mundane, but nonetheless, something within us forces us to participate so we don’t lose any detail.
What is certain about the unreasonable use of this technology is that it can increase the problems associated with studying, working, and personal relationships. In particular, some people use WhatsApp to alleviate or mask emotional discomfort such as feelings of loneliness, boredom, anger, anxiety, and shyness.
How to use Whatsapp wisely
Technology should not be demonized but exploited. These are irreversible changes that our people need to make good use of instead of becoming a new form of slavery again. Therefore, they must be used wisely and not made fetishes or taboos.
The first thing you need to know is whether using WhatsApp is problematic. The following signs may indicate that the problem is getting out of hand:
- You are radically changing some of your lifestyles so you can be in touch as much as possible.
- You rarely do any physical exertion.
- Health problems related to cell phone use are starting to appear (eye fatigue, tendonitis because you are always in the same position, neck pain, etc.).
- You pay more attention to your WhatsApp contacts than to the people around you.
- You ignore your job or study obligation because you spend so much time on WhatsApp.
- You go out less and less, you lose friends and you feel isolated.
If you suspect that your relationship with WhatsApp is more than a simple pleasure, or if this app is causing you problems, we recommend the following:
- Don’t start your day with WhatsApp.
- Change your communication methods. Do not always log in at the same time or in the same place.
- Set yourself an alarm that reminds you to put your cell phone away.
- Find yourself a hobby you really like. Practice it.
- Meet your friends in person. Turn off your phone in these situations.