“We get to live in a time that we get to use social media as a tool”. -Gigi Hadid
As presented in the quote mentioned above by a very famous designer, social media is a prime key in our lives. Lives revolve around various social media platforms, and everyone uses these platforms in current times irrespective of their age, gender, profession or background. Theoretically, social media can be referred to as any internet communication tool that allows users to share content and engage with the public, where, practically, it is considered as the prime source of an individual’s survival and happiness nowadays. According to different statistics, on average, people spend 3-6 hours on various social media platforms. These statistics show how much social media matters in people’s lives, and the absence of it can make survival difficult.
As we all are aware, social media holds the utmost importance in our lives. And, it should be, as it has enormous benefits in the people’s lives. It allows people to connect at greater distances, and there is no disturbance in connecting with people due to geographical distance. Social media also enables people to get aware of things going around. People can even start their businesses on these social media platforms (see many Instagram pages selling different items). But, social media is no unique, as it has its pros and cons.
Along with positive effects, it too has enormous adverse effects. Foremost include cybercrime, and according to the statistics, in the year 2012-2019, reported 44.5 thousand cybercrime incidents. But, still, it is crucial, especially in the current times of COVID-19, where people are using it in the right way to help others by providing information related to oxygen beds, plasma and other medicines. People also use social media to keep themselves entertained in the negative energy surrounding us.
Social Media provides us with many activities to do. It allows connecting with our near and dear ones without any disturbance due to geographical distance, especially in current times of quarantine and lockdown. It also allows online shopping (even now grocery, fruits and medicines are available online). Another exciting thing that social media provides us with is MEMES (commonly known as jokes). Memes are a very favourite thing among the youth, especially as in a report that states that more than 70% of youth view memes from all over the social media platforms and share them with others, especially when people require entertainment amidst the dangerous situation going around us.
MEMES on the internet refers to the multimodal artefacts reversion/remixed by different participants to make others laugh and keep people entertained. Memes can be present in any form of images, words, texts, GIF, videos, reels. Memes now had become a part of life, like every day, when one woke up; they can found another meme trending on varied social media platforms. Memes have another importance that makes people laugh around and fills others with a lot of information about what’s going around globally, just mixed up with some humour. Below are some of the very interesting and trended memes over the year; read and enjoy yourself!!
1. US vs India memes
2. Baburao Meme
3. Weekend Memes
4. Work from home memes
Memes have an enormous impact on the physical health of the Individual in positive and negative terms. Even a slight sense of laughter, jokes, and humour can make things at ease for people suffering from COVID-19 in current times, as we know that it makes us laugh, which elevates us and keeps our mood happy and body calm relax.
Lets’ look more into some POSITIVE impacts of memes on physical health:
Laughter and Memes Can Bring Comfort and Eases Physical Pain
Whenever one sees a meme and laugh at it, the feeling which came across the individual comforts him/her and even eases the pain in our body, making the individual relaxed and happy.
Memes Can Improve Sleep
Before sleeping, try to read some jokes and see some funny videos, surely it will make you happy and even improve the Individual’s sleep patterns. It improves sleep quality and quantity as well.
Memes Can Also Boost One’s Immunity
COVID Alert!! Keeping oneself entertained and happy throughout can enhance one’s immunity and body’s power to fight against viruses and harmful bacteria. It boosts the immune system, which makes the individual more resistant to the diseases. So, along with precautions and other medicines, one can fight against the viruses and improve the functioning of cells through a sense of humour, laughter and memes.
Other physical benefits of memes can include:-
- Memes and Laughter Reduce Blood Pressure
- It Improves Cardiac Health
- It Triggers the Release of Endorphins (Body’s Natural Painkiller)
- Boosts T-Cells
Memes sure have a lot of positive impacts on the Individual’s physical health, but, along with some biological benefits, it indeed has excellent benefits on mental health (positive and negative).
Positive Impact of Memes on Mental Health:
- Watching memes can elevate one’s mood and relaxes one’s mind, as you have seen above when watching the memes mentioned above in this article.
- Memes can reduce stress; various researches state that humour and laughter produced by memes can reduce cortisol activity (stress-producing hormone) and relaxes and calm one’s body and mind. When focusing on humorous memes, one cannot simultaneously focus on negative thoughts that enable happiness, mood, and endorphin hormone.
- Memes ease anxiety and tension. While concentrating on the memes and jokes, one attracts more positive news and gets happier decreasing anxiety and tension in one’s life. According to many pieces of research, memes can also help in reducing anxiety disorders and other tensions.
- Happiness is the by-product of watching memes, which can strengthen the resilience of the Individual. Resilience is the power to cope with the adverse situations one is going through in life, which gets strengthened when one remains happy and laughs often!
- Different researches also show that memes and laughter can improve human memory and memory retention. When humour is associated with a fact, there are better chances to have a better recollection of the truth. When one can remember the news about the critical events with the help of memes or jokes around that news.
- Memes also bring people together and build different communication and relationship patterns. As we see on social media platforms, people who haven’t met each other but discuss and talk about memes, thus building new friendships and networks.
- Memes enhance creativity and promote divergent thinking in the Individual.
There are other benefits too, but memes can prove to be dangerous and harmful for the mental health of individuals.
Thus, memes also harm the mental health of individuals as:-
- In present times, people have lost the sensitive side to things. Due to this meme culture, people have now lost empathy among themselves, which somehow affect their mental health and others too. These disappearances of empathy online lead to less empathy off-screen too, and people are now just running around making other laughs even at the expense of the emotions of others.
- Nowadays, varied social problems are glorified in the memes, which affects the Individual’s psychological makeup. People often believe in the misplaced information presented in the meme and share it with others, thus making a chain and glorifying the social problems affecting the victim’s mental health. Viewing missing information in the memes also affects their psychological makeup, making their thinking the same. (This all revolves around in a cycle).
- Sometimes, memes get more personal and often attacks the most sensitive topic (mental health disorders). People are now portraying severe mental illnesses (as depression, anxiety disorder or suicide) just as a joke or a thing. Sometimes, many memes have also compared with suicide and laugh around it as a joke.
- Memes also enhance the scapegoat effect. This effect refers to where a circle of people in the majority bullies or attacks the minority groups, which sometimes memes reflect. Many a-times, on social media platforms, memes are based on minority regions, religion, genders and background, thus affecting the mental health of the minority groups (even leading to various mental illnesses and suicide).
- Memes, especially in recent years, has become more of trolling. People now troll celebrities and other influencers through their memes which affects the mental health of these people. This issue has also been focused upon by a show on MTV (troll police), which shows how these rude, arrogant comments and jokes can affect the mental and physical health of the people. These trolling and memes can also sometimes surrounds body shaming.
- Memes on trolling people, celebrities, and influencers can turn into bullying and even promote bullying among other youth and adolescents, turning the whole social media into a trap that can affect people’s mental health.
MEMES can affect positively as well as negatively to the person. So, be aware of the basic information, laugh around but do not laugh at the expense of others, and report bullying, trolling, and body shaming.
As said by ABRAHAM LINCOLN, “Don’t believe in everything you read on the internet just because there’s a picture and quote with it.”