Last update: 22 September, 2016
WhatsApp has become a very influential application all over the world. It has not only surpassed other messaging services, which were already very much in vogue, but it has ushered in a new era in which social relationships are mediated by technology. Although initially WhatsApp was a significant support to facilitate communication, it has proven to be a tool that is attributed with all kinds of risks..
According to a study conducted by the Globax Web Index, which analyzed the use of WhatsApp in 34 different countries, it is estimated that 40% of cybernauts use this application. People between 16 and 64 years of age also use this app. The ten countries where this application is most used are South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, India, Singapore, Spain, Argentina, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Brazil.
One of the decisive factors for the success of WhatsApp is the simplicity and functionality with which groups are created and managed. Although other applications have this feature, WhatsApp has turned group communication into a current trend. Contact is no longer face to face, but everything is kept on a semi-private and collective level.
Does WhatsApp cause problems?
WhatsApp causes problems, but as with so many other things in the world of technology, the difficulty lies not in the application itself, but in the use that some people make of it. There is a worrying trend on the part of users to make communication multimedia.
This means replacing direct contact with others to communicate with some electronic device. It all started with the telegraph, it seemed like a great solution. Then the telephone was born and finally the internet went beyond any imaginable limit.
If you live in Lima and need to communicate with someone who lives in Beirut, applications like this are a blessing. Without them, it would be impossible to communicate in real time and at low cost, as is the case today.
The problem arises when we also use these applications to communicate with the people we live, work or study with. People we could just seek out and physically find each other to talk face-to-face. The situation gets worse when we stop seeing anyone because our eyes are sticking to the phone screen.
Especially with WhatsApp and its groups, users experience a new need: to stay connected all the time. Continuously check the chats to find out what one has written or the other has replied. The curious thing is that these conversations are usually frighteningly trivial, yet something inside people forces them to take part and not miss a single message.
What is certain is that the excessive use of these technologies can have serious consequences, such as problems in study, work or interpersonal relationships. In particular, some people end up using WhatsApp to alleviate or mask an emotional malaise, such as loneliness, boredom, anger, anxiety or shyness.
For a rational use of WhatsApp
Technologies are not made to abuse them, but to take advantage of them. These are irreversible changes that the human being must put at his service instead of transforming them into a new source of slavery. For this reason, we must try to make a rational use of them and not turn them into a fetish or a taboo.
The first thing to know is if using WhatsApp causes you problems. The information below will help you understand if this is getting out of hand:
- Radically change some lifestyle habits to stay connected as long as possible.
- You rarely do any physical activity or sport.
- You have health problems related to the use of mobile phones or other devices (eye fatigue, tendonitis due to prolonged hand position, neck pain, etc.).
- Pay more attention to your WhatsApp contacts than to the people around you.
- You are negligent of your duties in study or work because of the time you spend using WhatsApp.
- You go out less and less, you lose friends and you feel isolated.
If you suspect that you are making use of WhatsApp that goes beyond simple interest or need or if this application causes you problems, these are the recommended preventive measures to avoid falling into a dictatorship that can have far worse consequences:
- Don't start the day by logging into WhatsApp.
- Change your connection habits, not always at the same time or in the same place.
- Schedule an alarm to let you know when it's time to put your phone away.
- Search and find a hobby that you really enjoy and pursue it.
- Look for your friends and meet them in person. Turn off the phone on these occasions.