The Impact and Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
The introduction of social media into our daily lives has become a way for people to escape reality. Social media allows people to share and connect, get news and information, and even meet new people.
However, we must note that social media has its downside, too, especially for people who frequently use social media. Social media can be addictive, and the more people use it, the more likely they will experience adverse effects.
Recent studies show that social media can have a negative impact on one’s mental health, especially for young adults. Moreover, the use of it has been associated with increased feelings of social isolation, Anxiety, and Depression.
As I grew curious, I did my research to share with you what negative impact social media can have and affect your mental health.
Negative Impact of Social Media
Effects of Social Media on Users
Social media plays a significant role in how people mirror their lives in the physical world.
A big chunk of social media users come from the youth. They navigate the streams of their social networks, establish new relationships, strengthen existing ones, and sometimes minimize or end them.
And since social media is open to everyone, with just a few restrictions, individuals find it convenient and entertaining to use. But what negative impacts does it bring?
Social Media Addiction
Unfortunately, social media apps and websites have the same effect on the brain as playing a slot machine. Social media has been really easy to access, with just a few clicks on our phone, which made people more addicted to using it.
According to studies, individuals, especially the youth, get rewarded by releasing dopamine when opening their channels. This is the same chemical linked to other pleasurable activities.
Focusing on Interactions
Although social media has become helpful when connecting with people away from you, it has also become the channel to stop interactions in real life. Having to focus on interactions on the internet made people disappointed they do not get the same attention in real life,
In social media, we get used to posting photos and sharing memes and videos where people interact. They share their reactions and comment on your image, which is a great way to complement each other.
The downside is that this also causes people to compare themselves to others and develop low self-esteem, a distraction from other tasks, and even feelings of Anxiety or Depression in the long run.
Abusive Behavior and Bullying
Studies have recently found that there have been several online harassment cases on the internet among the youth. Some of them include:
- Spreading false rumors
- Having their activities and whereabouts tracked by someone
- Someone making physical threats
- Having explicit images of them shared without their consent
All these have adverse effects on one’s mental health, which could be stressful as it may lead to Anxiety and Depression.
Mental Health Conditions Tied to Use of Social Media
As mentioned, the downside to overusing social media is suffering from mental health conditions.
One mental health condition that most social media users experience is Anxiety. When we constantly see the social media lives of other people, we can’t help but compare them to our own. We see them post about their achievements, happy experiences, and extravagant lifestyles while we struggle.
This can lead to social comparison, which leads to doubting abilities, overt-thinking, and panic. All of these can disrupt daily activities and cause sleep deprivation.
Another mental health condition social media users may develop Depression. According to studies, social media has been linked to Depression, especially in girls.
After experiencing traumatizing harassment and bullying cases online, you are more prone to get Depression. Unfortunately, the more you prioritize social media interaction over in-person relationships, the more you risk developing mood disorders such as Anxiety and Depression.
Aside from Anxiety and Depression, users may develop low self-esteem as well. Just like how social media can make someone doubt their abilities, it can also lead to the development of low self-esteem that could eventually lead to feeling isolated.
Last but not least, social media may also lead to the development of traumatic disorders. A traumatic disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event. Many things can be considered traumatizing, such as:
- Online Harassment
Social Media and Mental Health Tips for the Youth
How to Get Away from the Negative Effects of Social Media
Although social media has several adverse effects on mental health, it is not entirely bad. Individuals would have to be mindful of its uses.
Here are some tips on how you can get away from the adverse effects of social media:
- Reduce Time Online – Studies recently proved that reducing social media use to 30 minutes a day resulted in a significant reduction in levels of experiencing mental health issues.
- Change Your Focus – If you only access your social media account for essential things, it could help you reduce time to randomly open it. Remember to only focus on the things you need to do.
- Spend More time with Offline Friends and Family – Eventually, we all need the face-to-face company of others to be happy and healthy.
Unfortunately, people aren’t usually motivated to change their social media use by simply hearing it’s not good for them because they think it won’t significantly impact their lives.
This is why people should know what limits they should apply to themselves.
Q How does social media affect mental health?
A: Social media has several negative effects on mental health, such as Anxiety, Depression, low self-esteem, and traumatic disorders.
Q What are some tips on how to get away from the negative effects of social media?
A: Some tips include reducing social media use, changing focus, and spending more time with offline friends and family.
Q How can social media use be changed?
A: Social media use can be changed by setting limits on time used online, focusing on what’s important, and spending more time offline with people.
Q What is Cyberbullying?
A: It is a term used to describe any form of bullying behavior that takes place online. It could happen via social media or messaging apps, gaming sites, or other mediums on which people communicate online.
Q How long is too long on social media?
A: It is difficult to determine how long being on social media is. Some research suggests that limiting ourselves to just 30 minutes per day could lead to improvements in wellbeing.
Q What are the benefits of social media?
A: While social media has several negative effects on mental health, it is not entirely bad. It can help connect people, build relationships, and spread awareness about important issues.
Although social media has many benefits, we cannot ignore its potential adverse effects. Social media can be addictive and lead to negative consequences such as decreased productivity, decreased mental health, and cyberbullying.
Have you experienced any of the negative impacts of social media? If yes, please seek medical attention. Please share your thoughts about the article in the comments below.
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