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Showing posts from tagged with: social media

Social Media Addiction

Article by Erica Lay

13.01.20

Social Media Addiction

AGGRESSION, ABUSE AND ADDICTION: DON’T BECOME ANTI-SOCIAL

To some, social-media addiction is a mystery, but to others it is an important part of daily life. The rush of dopamine you get from the ‘likes’ or the need to follow some Z list celebrity acts like a comfort blanket. But, we ask is it also damaging our society?

Social media (SM) addiction is real. We live in a social age where everyone is connected to the internet via their smartphones, and usage of SM sites are on the increase. Don’t believe me? Facebook addiction is searched 350 times more than cigarette addiction.

According to statista.com there are 2.65 billion users of SM (data gathered 2018) worldwide. This number is forecast to increase to over 3 billion in the next two years. Famemass.com’s research indicates that the global average of time spent on social networks each day is steadily increasing too, up from 1 hour 30 in 2012 to 2 hours 23 minutes in 2019. Roughly 45% of the world’s population use SM, and of those, 60% say they’re constantly connected, whilst a huge 98% say they’ve used it in the past month.

The most popular site is Facebook, followed by Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and finally Twitter. Every second an average of 6000 tweets appear on twitter (internetlivestats. com) which amounts to 500 million per day. Crazy, isn’t it?

One evening I walked into dinner to find nobody talking to each other, everyone glued to their screens. Honestly it was the most depressing sight, so I banned phones from meal times.

Facebook says their chat reaches 1 billion messages sent per day. With 1.62 billion daily active users of the main site, users access Facebook an average of 8 times per day, and each day, 35 million people update their statuses.

Facebook’s website states: “Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” Sounds lovely doesn’t it? But what about the people who use it to spread hate, fake news, and to cyber bully? What about Facebook?

All crew these days seem to think it’s their god given right to have high speed unlimited internet on any yacht they join, wherever they are. I’ve had crew having meltdowns mid Atlantic because they were unable to update their status or post one of their videos to their youtube channel.

The most common age demographic for Facebook is age 25-34 which falls neatly into the yachting demographic. And SM addiction in our industry is on the rise. Captain Bob* said, “All crew these days seem to think it’s their god given right to have high speed unlimited internet on any yacht they join, wherever they are. I’ve had crew having meltdowns mid Atlantic because they were unable to update their status or post one of their videos to their youtube channel. Seriously. It’s a problem. I had no idea I’d hired an influencer – and I still don’t even really know what that means.”

Getting crew off their phones during work hours is an issue. Safety wise phones are a distraction, and how many hours a week of productivity are lost by crew “just checking” their SM feeds? Captain Ezra* told us, “I have had no choice but to ask the chief engineer to switch the wifi off during working hours, and only put it back on during breaks. Plus in the evenings I have him limit the download so crew can’t download movies, especially when the guests are on as they get priority! Crew just don’t seem to understand that.” Captain Bob went on to add, “One evening I walked into dinner to find nobody talking to each other, everyone glued to their screens. Honestly it was the most depressing sight, so I banned phones from meal times. There was uproar at first but now I actually have a happier more cohesive crew because they’ve actually mastered the art of communicating in real life! A lost art these days.”

Why is SM so addictive? Well, the rush of dopamine you get from likes and comments is basically programming your brain to desire more. Senior Dual Diagnosis Clinician / Social Worker and ex yacht crew member Tarryn Burrows told me, “It can be a source of comfort or a security blanket on a boat when you’re lonely, or not having the best time with those you’re working with. People become so reliant on the connection with family and friends (or random strangers) that it affects the social interaction with those around you, or reinforces the notion that you’re not part of the crew...double edge sword of isolating yourself even more and feeds into that addiction and fuzzy warm feeling of dopamine.”

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

A study from Harvard University has showed that SM interaction triggers the same reaction in the brain that occurs when we take an addictive substance such as cocaine. This, surely, cannot be a good thing… A study carried out by the University of Maryland asked students not to use SM for 24 hours. Their findings were not really surprising, students felt disconnected from the world without their primary source for news (the fact Facebook is used for news is a worry in itself but I digress!), but more worryingly, reported feelings included “frantically craving, very anxious, extremely antsy, jittery and crazy”.

Stewardess Jen told us, “I have actually experienced anxiety when I’ve opened my Instagram to see I haven’t got as many likes as I was hoping for. Even though I tell myself it’s ridiculous, my self esteem genuinely suffers and it affects my moods.”

And then there’s the whole selfie taking. How many crew are guilty of uploading selfies on a daily basis? And how long does it take to get that perfect photo… Tarryn said, “I’ve seen a stew do this while we had guests on board, even asking a guest to take the photo for her.” I’m sure that ended well… If you take at least 3 selfies a day for your SM accounts, you probably have what’s been recognised as ‘selifitis’.

Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to ‘fit in’ with those around them.

Researcher Dr. Janarthanan Balakrishnan said, “Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to ‘fit in’ with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviours…Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behaviour, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”

And there I was just thinking people were vain. Instagram is definitely more popular for selfies – I actually carried out a recent experiment to see how my SM audiences differed. I uploaded a bikini selfie to both Facebook and Instagram. My Facebook friends mostly ignored my narcissim whereas my insta blew up with likes. And I hate to say it but… that felt… good. Ugh I feel so grubby.

How do you know if you’re addicted to SM? Well ask yourself this – do you think that SM is preventing you from doing your best work or reaching your potential? If you it might be… well it’s time to break the habit.

I have actually experienced anxiety when I’ve opened my Instagram to see I haven’t got as many likes as I was hoping for. Even though I tell myself it’s ridiculous, my self esteem genuinely suffers and it affects my moods.

Firstly, figure out why you’re addicted. Are you bored? Stressed? Feeling disconnected? Once you know the trigger you can start to make changes to whatever is causing you to head to SM for validation.

Secondly make it harder for you to check your feeds. Schedule your SM time – leave your phone in your cabin, put it on do not disturb, or switch the internet off until a designated time slot and stick to it.

Next you need to replace your SM time with something more worthwhile. Ok, it might be a case of actually doing your job… but if we’re talking about your downtime, you need to get more hobbies! If you can, get outside. If you’re cabin bound try a meditation, a breathing exercise, yoga – or how about we go old school and play a boardgame with a crew mate? Cards? You need to retrain your brain into heading for an activity rather than reaching for your phone when you’re feeling bored/stressed.

Do it with a friend if you can, who’s happy to pull you up if you feel weak. If you can’t confide in anyone then use an app like Google’s ‘accountability’! There really is an app for everything. I know that because I saw it on Facebook… (joking).

And finally – reward yourself! If you want to, reward your day of avoiding SM by allowing yourself an hour of it, or maybe not – maybe completely ignore it and buy yourself a treat instead.

Overall, stay positive, don’t get sucked into the negativity that SM can nurture – there’s a big wide world out there and remember why you joined yachting. It was to see the world, not sit in a dark cabin comparing your life on SM to everyone else’s.

And believe me, the lives we all portray on SM are simply not all that real are they?

Are you being too social?

Article by ONBOARD Magazine

02.07.18

Are you being too social?

The rapid fire quick communication style that captivates the millennials and other generations damages the development of basic social skills, but more importantly, it can cause an issue if you post an inappropriate image

We can’t deny it, we can’t fight it – social media has infiltrated our everyday lives to the point of obsessive addiction for many. Some people can’t go five minutes without checking their feeds and accounts; this narcissistic need for likes from total strangers justifying their existence, and more worryingly, dictating their moods. Whereas land-based employers can simply block social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter from being accessed on work devices, or banning use of personal phones during work hours, out on yachts with everyone carrying a phone in their pocket it’s not always so easy. Especially when crew use them to keep in touch with friends and family back home.

One captain told us how he went to the extreme of effectively banning the use of all social media sites onboard. As he put it, “it’s not private, the whole idea of social media is being social! It’s sharing pictures and information. This seems to be a fact many crew just don’t get.” The veto was a result of one of his crew members befriending a guest, then before anyone knew it the owner was also connected and could see everything that crewmember was posting. Unbeknownst to any of the senior crew, that crewmember had posted pictures of crew in the jacuzzi, made comments about guests, including tipping practices and even ethnicity… The owner banned crew from various areas of the yacht and put a ‘no friends/family to visit’ rule in place and even after the crew member was dismissed, continued to follow them on facebook for some months. That’s just scary.

Another captain related a tale of how a (male) guest sent a friend request to one of the female crew on board. She accepted, he proceeded to stalk and harass her. How do you block someone without repercussions when it’s a repeat guest and friend of the owner? And when the guest’s girlfriend turns up on board? Awkwardly, that’s how. In the old days (for want of a better expression) the worst that could happen would be the request of a phone number. And let’s face it, moving around the world, nobody used to really have a fixed one! Let alone a portal to allow someone to watch your every (publicly posted) move and read your thoughts. Oversharing on social media is prevalent, how many times can we say we’ve seen the attention seeking posts or the embarrassing rants, on someone’s page who we aren’t exactly close to, and wondered if perhaps it would be more appropriate to talk to whoever has upset them privately? Or a fairly explicit instagram selfie, and wondered if their parents see that as well as the rest of the world?

In addition to the general Non Disclosure Agreements many yachts have in place, a chief mate from one busy charter motoryacht told us their captain’s standing orders clearly lays out guidance and rules in a designated section on social media. “Any interaction, friendships or communication between any crew member and guests is forbidden. Should a situation arise where a guest requests online friendship, the crew member shall directly approach the captain who will speak to the guest and explain the policy on board. Crew members also need to be reminded that within the terms and conditions of their SEA, disclosing the vessel and/or company they work for shall not be published on any medium of social media including but not limited to Facebook. Photos and information that points to revealing such information is also a dismissible offence and shall be treated in the severest manner.”

Yet people still post pics on their public Instagram… which can be seen by anyone with an account. Not to mention you can screen shot it, and share with anyone who doesn’t. And when that happens, it’s instant dismissal and in some extreme cases the boss could sue you for breach of contract. Serious stuff for something the crew member assumed was ‘harmless’.

One captain in Palma repeatedly posts updates on which celebrities have been onboard for charter, and his personal thoughts on them, and as if that wasn’t enough, pictures of the yacht he’s employed on, with his own guests drinking champagne and behaving as if it’s theirs. When questioned on whether or not he felt that was a breach of trust his reply was “it’s my private page and only people who I trust can see it.” Which of course begs the question – well how does everyone know about it then? One of his ex junior crew told us they found it inappropriate and it made them feel uncomfortable, “I left the yacht as I did not want to get involved in using my boss’s pride and joy for the captain’s ego inflating parties. He was rapidly developing a reputation and I didn’t want to be tarred with that brush as it might stop me getting a job in the future.” Smart kid. That captain could find it tricky to find a new job with an attitude like this, and it’s been widely agreed he’s setting a terrible example to the younger generation who are constantly being told to put their phones away and interact in real life.

Passive aggression online has really peaked with social media. Instead of telling your boyfriend/girlfriend/catsitter/mum’s friend you’re annoyed with their behaviour why not post elusive needy memes or attention seeking statuses about them? Because it’s really immature and pathetic, that’s why. Why this need for the barrage of ‘you ok hun?’ and ‘PM me babes’ posts? If you were genuinely worried about a friend would you not contact them privately and ask? Why does everything have to be so very public? Is everyone trying to prove themselves? What happened to having a crap day and telling your immediate circle about it, and then moving on?

Although admittedly it’s rather amusing when a crew member posts a total rant and has forgotten they accepted a friend request from the subject of said rant’s bestie or even better, the subject themselves, and then we get to watch the might not be taken seriously.

Not to mention the angry keyboard cowboys and cowgirls who, behind the safety net of a screen, insult, attack, belittle and bully to their heart’s content. What they fail to acknowledge is that doing so on a public forum could be career suicide. The amount of senior crew, captains, managers and agents who log on to these pages to silently scroll and read comments is quite frightening. Which leads on to those crew looking for work, either via social media or otherwise. A chief stew told us, “First thing I do is go and find their Facebook and Instagram accounts to see what sort of people they are. Even if their facey is private I can still see all their profile and cover pics, and quite often that’s all I need to know. I’ve not hired a ton of people due to seeing inappropriate photos – and before I get told not to be so uptight, if I can see it, so can my boss, his PA, the management company, any guest, the broker… should I go on? Anyway just make sure you keep it fun and clean and you’ll be fine.”

A Chief Mate added, “(social media has) been instrumental in potential crew not getting jobs on board here from the ‘marital status: single’ with wives/husbands/fiancés on their profiles to ‘non-smokers’ with photos of them puffing away completely eliminating them from the selection process even if up until that point they were (on paper) the stand our candidate. It’s also invaluable for ‘friends in common’ feature as the 6 degrees of separation is probably more like the 1 degree rule in Yachting with that common denominator usually more than happy to either verify a reference/period of employment or completely dispel it. With the exception of green crew, I wouldn’t touch a candidate who we didn’t share at least one friend in common as there’s usually a sinister reason as to why the average crew member has a lack of activity/connectivity on social media.”

Another Chief Mate drew attention to the mental health issues the overuse of social media brings. “The biggest draw back we’ve found is with green crew assuming other crew are having a much better time/more down time/easier season due to the illusion they’re creating online. Social media is a great-in-theory platform for interaction, however the human nature factor usually turns it into a negative experience that encourages a flattering exaggeration of people’s existence.” It’s completely true, not many of us would post pictures of us scrubbing toilets, cleaning up sick, fixing black tanks or sat doing accounts or other menial tasks – we only post the fun stuff, the achievements, the good things. And some people may exaggerate… or inflate the truth, just to get those precious likes.

At the end of the day lives portrayed on social media are vastly different to real lives. It’s important to remember to take everything you see online with a pinch of salt. The grass is not necessarily properly greener over there, let’s face it, it was probably an ugly brown patch before it had 15 filters slapped on it and has been edited to within an inch of its life.