What surprised me about the book was that some of the things Hari said about this broken society and how to fix it were also related to our privacy. In fact, it is quite surprising, since, apparently, taking care of your online privacy can have a positive impact on your mental state. In this very personal article, I would like to describe two aspects of privacy and mental health. It should be noted that I am speaking in a personal capacity and that, therefore, the official position of the company may differ.
Social networks: The disconnection
Social networks allow us to talk with friends and family from all over the world and at any time, however, never in human history has the human being felt so alone and disconnected from others, it is one of the great paradoxes of the actual situation.
But Hari is not the only one to point out this disconnection, so do different independent sources, including our own study . Social networks cannot replace real and normal communication with the people you appreciate. Even when it comes to chemistry , communication through social networks is very different from talking face to face with a human flesh and blood; because in the latter case, a hormone called oxytocin is released and this (along with serotonin and dopamine) is responsible for our happiness.
In our blog we have talked a lot about privacy and security in social networks, suggesting that you change the settings of Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter and Instagram , among others. Most of these changes are intended to prevent strangers from accessing information that they should not. We have also talked about the habit of over-sharing and its negative consequences. The more I inquire into the privacy settings of social networks and read about the leaking of information from social networks (either the Cambridge Analytica scandal or, for example, the escape from Ashley Madison), more comes to mind the idea of deleting my accounts on social networks or, at least, minimizing the time I invest in them.
I am a cautious person, so I have been considering this idea a lot and have come to the conclusion that I will not delete my accounts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, among other social networks. They all have something good. Facebook reminds me of birthday dates and helps me get in touch with former fellow journalists or acquaintances when I need information for my articles on this blog. Surely, LinkedIn suits me for my career (at least that’s what people say, it’s not my case, although it has helped me find professional opportunities for my wife). Twitter is a social network used by many information security researchers, making it a good source of news from our industry.
In my opinion, the solution is to configure the privacy settings of social networks so that they are as strict as possible, minimize the time spent on them and consider them a form of communication with friends and family. So I deleted Instagram and Swarm, which depressed me and made me envious of other users. After applying these changes and spending less time on the networks, I feel less depressed and have more time to see my friends, which has made me feel much better.
This is a personal solution, it worked for me, maybe not for you, but I would like to at least ask you: do you really need all those accounts on social networks? And do you really have to spend so much time on them? Minimizing communication and content shared on social networks is a way to increase your online privacy and feel better. Although deleting your accounts could be even better, if you are prepared to take this important step.