Offline: Why are social media users leaving social media in Qatar? – Doha News

Many respondents chose to opt out for health reasons.

Experts in Qatar found four factors linked to local people’s decision to stop using social media, despite the Gulf state being among the countries with the highest social media penetration relative to its population.

The theoretical results were published in a QScience Connect publication by Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) last month. The study analyzed 26 participants, aged 25 to 55, who chose to go offline on one or more social media accounts.

Participants attributed four factors to their decision, including an impact on time, the reduced value of the platforms, an impact on their mental or physical well-being, or an incident that led to their deactivation.

Age choice was a key factor in the survey as it includes those categorized as Generation X, born between 1965-1980, and Millennials, born between 1981-199619, known as a pre-internet age.

As the majority of respondents are expatriates, many of them cited the need to join social media platforms to connect with their families abroad. The survey traced the pattern to the notion of belonging and maintaining human connections.

Facebook was the platform most likely to be turned off by respondents, who found it better suited to older generations.

Regarding the impact of time, the survey said that respondents described their social media activity as just “mindless scrolling” and “a complete waste of time.”

Others have said that social media has affected their social lives and personal relationships, and that it has distracted them from being present.

As a result, they either deleted the apps from their phones, set daily time limits, or disabled their accounts entirely.

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“I felt like I was looking up and couldn’t believe how much time I had wasted… just clicking from one thing to the next and consuming videos about nail polish. I don’t even wear nail polish, but I clicked on those links,” said Hope, 40.

Regarding the second aspect of “reduced value,” respondents no longer saw the initial value of social media in connecting with others.

“My family wanted to know if I was okay. So I’ve been posting almost daily… And then… for the past two years I haven’t felt compelled to post what’s going on in my life here because I figured if you call me you’ll know,” Jaime, 37 , named.

On the other hand, some cited security and privacy concerns that contributed to their decision to disable their accounts.

“When you grow up and start learning more about the implications of privacy in this AI-centric world and how that data is used and manipulated, that’s worrying,” said Zeidon, 27.

mental and physical health

As populations around the world become more aware of the importance of their mental and physical wellbeing, many respondents chose to opt out for health reasons.

A total of 58% of respondents attributed their mental and/or physical health to their decision to go offline.

“Respondents’ health-related complaints ranged from an increase in negative feelings/social comparisons, stress, anxiety, insomnia and panic attacks after excessive social media use to headaches, eyestrain, shoulder pain, finger pain, back pain and palpitations,” the study added .

Some of the key issues highlighted by respondents were the negative impact on body image.

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One respondent said that although she went to the gym and ate healthily, pictures of people who met social standards of beauty affected her mental health.

Another cited the long exposure to traumatic events happening around the world, including Israel’s ongoing killings and dispossessions of Palestinians.

“It was clear to me personally that I had to drop out [Instagram]. We are exposed to second-hand trauma. I know we’re lucky – it’s not our reality. We’re fine physically and safe… But at a certain point when we can’t handle it mentally,” said Kummam, 32.

One respondent even said she went to the emergency room after suffering a panic attack due to information surrounding the Covid-19 outbreak, which forced her to leave social media.

Meanwhile, 38% of respondents cited a single incident as the reason for their deactivation.

“These turning points ranged from the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic to the killing of George Floyd to the global [Black Lives Matter]the Lebanese Thawra [revolution] and the explosion at the port of Beirut,” the study explained.