Why Even China Can’t Stop Social Media

It is now scientifically proven that social media is bad for our health. The content you can find there is bad for our mental and emotional soundness, especially that of adolescents. When social media just began, it purported to connect people and in this way make them happier. But people create social media, and people are inherently bad. As a result, social media does the opposite of its proclaimed intention: It makes us more depressed, insecure, and disconnected from the real world than before. Only when we change who we are, we will change how we connect on social media and elsewhere.

For now, social media helps us recognize that disconnection is bad. But revealing the bad is not the same as recognizing it. Revealing the bad means that we see that social media is bad for us. Recognizing the bad means that we recognize the root of the problem: our alienation from each other. We need to work on fixing our disconnection, not on its symptoms, whether they are addiction to social media, bullying, substance abuse, or anything else.

Nothing will change until we change our flawed nature. In the long run, all measures will fail until we realize that we have no choice but to dump the focus on regulations, restrictions, and penalties, and focus on educating ourselves, on teaching ourselves to be humane, which is the real meaning of being human.

Currently, China, for example, is imposing limits on the hours that teenagers can play online games. Instead of healing China’s teenagers, I think it will increase their craving for games. Moreover, the problem is not that they are playing games, online or offline. The problem is their disconnection from others. This is what sickens children, adolescents, and adults alike.

If, previously, people connected to each other naturally, since people needed each other’s help in many cases, today people feel much more self-sufficient. As a result, their tendency to see human connection as an asset rather than as a burden is waning. The more AI becomes ubiquitous, the more automation will take over our lives and make other people seem superfluous.

Instead of treating it as a problem, we should see it as an opportunity. This trajectory toward automation and disconnection, which will not change, is our chance to take our relationships to the next level. It is a chance for all people to connect in the heart rather than in the body.

We can reach beyond the screen of the phone only if we aim for the heart. There is no other solution to the excessive use of social media since this is exactly where we need to advance — into each other’s hearts.

For now, social media helps us recognize that disconnection is bad. But revealing the bad is not the same as recognizing it. Revealing the bad means that we see that social media is bad for us. Recognizing the bad means that we recognize the root of the problem: our alienation from each other. We need to work on fixing our disconnection, not on its symptoms, whether they are addiction to social media, bullying, substance abuse, or anything else.

If we use the symptom to recognize the problem and treat it at its core, it will no longer be a problem, but a part of the healing. May we be wise enough to recognize the bad rather than reveal it, and courageous enough to teach ourselves to love rather than to hate.