How social media affects mental health
How social media affects mental health: The majority of us remember a time before social media. The smartphone reached 10 years old in 2017, and by June 2022, around 60% of people on the planet were using social media. What effect does social media have on mental health, for better or worse?
What is the impact of social media on mental health? Social media has the benefit of facilitating communication between users. Nonetheless, social media usage has been connected to mental health issues including depression.
However, how? The benefits and drawbacks of social media have been the subject of ongoing discussions. This article seeks to evaluate both arguments and provide a conclusion about this discussion.
How social media affects mental health?
Since social media has been around for a while, we can only examine its immediate effects on mental health. Your brain produces dopamine in response to each like remark, or share. People get attracted to their devices because an increase in dopamine makes them feel better.
We can communicate with other people instantly, no matter what time of day. Computers and cell phones are become almost necessities in today’s world. Approximately 60% of people worldwide use social media, according to recent research. Globally, there are around 4.7 billion social media users.
Every day, 72% of Americans update their social media accounts for two hours on average. Whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp, or Twitter.
According to statistics, 22% of social media users rely on WhatsApp, 30% on YouTube, and 40% use Facebook for news updates. Approximately 500,000 tweets and 500 thousand Snapchat photos are exchanged every minute, according to a survey.
This is a major contributing factor to the excessive amount of time that teenagers and young adults spend on social media. In America, 95% of teenagers have access to a smartphone, and 45% of those 95% use social media almost every day.
As most individuals surf through social media, they often lose sight of time. You will get more alerts throughout the day the more you participate online. You become less productive as a result, in addition to being detached from reality.
A study on college students who restricted their internet use revealed benefits for their day-to-day activities. Furthermore, social media use might become harmful based on how much how many hours you spend online.
Because of this, those who use social media more often run the risk of experiencing mental health problems. Many individuals even give up their sleep in order to peruse their feeds!
Given the significant role that social media plays in our lives, are we endangering our mental health in the process? Do we feel better now that we have media?
Is It Better to Have Cons than Pros?
The emergence of social media has changed the way we communicate. Social media, however, has been connected to mental health problems including despair and anxiety. Here are some more drawbacks of social media for mental health.
Addiction to social media
Social interaction is ingrained in human genetics. Human contact has been shown to boost self-esteem and lessen stress, anxiety, and sadness.
An absence of social connections may have an impact on your emotional and mental well-being. The gradual replacement of face-to-face contact by phone is a result of the advent of social media.
However, conversations on social media and in person are different and have distinct outcomes. These days, people also utilize social media to reduce anxiety or feelings of loneliness.
Due to their addiction, most social media users spend most of their time online, which leaves little time for other activities that need their attention.
What leads to addiction to social media?
Addiction to drugs and social media are the same thing. These are the typical circumstances in which individuals develop a progressive social media addiction.
- Regular social media usage causes the brain to produce more dopamine. As previously stated, your brain releases dopamine as a result of each like or remark you get.
- Over time, you’ll get addicted to checking your social media accounts to receive that quick fix or thrill. This is analogous to using medication to induce a certain bodily reaction. Addiction to dopamine may lead to mental health problems including despair and anxiety.
- You grow more antisocial the more time you spend on the internet. Antisocial conduct will eventually lead to mental health problems like depression. Additionally, it is simpler to contrast one’s life with others, which increases FOMO (fear of missing out).
- The idea that other people are having more fun than you are may lead to FOMO or the fear of missing out. Seeing pictures of your pals having a good time on social media while you are unable to go due to unforeseen reasons may be difficult. Depression and anxiety may worsen when one feels excluded.
So, antisocial acts may worsen mental health conditions in addition to causing emotions of loneliness and melancholy.
One of the most common illnesses brought on by social media is depression. When someone stops interacting with people in person and spends all of their time online, sadness might start. They have less time to spend with friends and family the more time they spend on the internet.
Thus, as a person’s social circle becomes smaller, he feels alone and may get depressed. Additionally, those who are sad are more likely to use social media to engage with others.
Depression becomes worse because interactions on social media cannot take the role of in-person connections. Additionally, dysphoria—the term for the tendency to compare one’s life to another on social media—can contribute to sadness.
Many individuals compare their lives to others, which makes them feel inferior and alone, even though many of us are aware that not everything we read online is true.
Cyberbullying is a result of social networking. Individuals might use their displays as cover while verbally abusing others. In addition to destroying a person’s sense of self-worth, cyberbullying may also cause sadness and a sense of inadequacy.
In a similar vein, some users of social media use it excessively at night. This prevents sleep, which exacerbates feelings of worry and despair brought on by insufficient sleep.
When someone spends so much time online that they are unable to imagine engaging with others in person, anxiety sets in. Typical indicators of anxiousness include
- Keeping your distance from others physically
- Being prepared for the worst at all times
- Fear of other people’s opinions of you
Because physical contact is difficult, an anxious person chooses to communicate with people on social media. This increases the amount of time spent online, exacerbates anxiety, and may result in further mental health problems. Apart from causing anxiety, social media may also make someone worry.
This is because you are always concerned that something could go wrong if your feed only contains bad news. Emotions that are negative are harmful and may result in sadness, anxiety, and panic attacks.
An additional kind of social media anxiety is the desire to continuously monitor one’s social media accounts.
Lack of self-esteem
Depression and dysphoria are two conditions that may cause poor self-esteem. Cyberbullying causes someone to feel inadequate and may even inspire suicidal or self-destructive ideas.
Furthermore, a lot of harmful material that encourages self-harm in one way or another may be posted on social media. Individuals who use social media on a regular basis are thus more likely to consider suicide and self-harm.
Dysphoria makes a person feel unworthy. Social media presents an idealized version of pleasure and beauty. People feel depressed and imperfect when they make comparisons between these ideals and their own lives. The primary cause of mental health problems is dysphoria.
For instance, after seeing an influencer on Instagram or Snapchat with a different body type, a person can start to have a different perspective on their own body. They then experience pressure to follow the examples established by certain social media influencers.
This might lead to negative behavior, such as teenagers starving themselves to fit into a certain body type or size. In a similar vein, someone’s self-esteem may suffer if they do not get likes on their photos or other material. This is because they may feel inadequate.
Social Media’s Beneficial Effects on Mental Health
There are times when using social media negatively impacts mental health. These are some benefits of social media for mental health.
The globe has become smaller as a result of social media. Social media has made it simple and fast for individuals to interact with one another. You may contact your family or friends anywhere in the globe with only a single button click.
This has made individuals feel less lonely and homesick, particularly those who live distant from their relatives. Even though it has been said that social media has replaced in-person connections, some individuals really gain from it.
For instance, when you connect with a group of individuals who share your interests and form new friendships with them online. Consequently, social networking enables you to get familiar with individuals from all over the globe and their diverse origins and cultures.
People have been able to learn about new concerns thanks to social media. Social media is being used by more and more individuals to spread goodwill and effect change in the world. Social media also facilitates anxiety sufferers in finding support without the need for in-person interactions.
It’s normal to sometimes feel awkward bringing up health issues with loved ones. Resources for mental health are widely available for all nations. With their online platform, they provide a safe space for anybody to express questions.
As such, social media makes it possible for people to look for emotional support from other people who have gone through similar experiences. It also provides easy access to a wealth of health options that encourage asking for assistance.
Social media gives those who live in remote or neglected locations an inexpensive and convenient way to ask for help.
Encourages originality and personal expression
Research indicates that some individuals feel better when they use social media to air their grievances. For what reason? because they are aware that kind individuals are prepared to assist them and that they are not alone. Additionally, artists have discovered a platform where they may display their work to a broad audience.
In this manner, suggestions about how to do certain tasks and enhance things are shared. People become more productive as a result, and the likelihood of feeling alone and lonely is also reduced. Engaging in virtual discussion boards on social media platforms grants access to an extensive network of knowledge.
Social media groups and forums enable you to learn more about various topics. Furthermore, you have the option to consult with those who possess greater experience by asking questions about your problem.
What is the conclusion, then? Do social media’s drawbacks outweigh its benefits? Sadly, they don’t. However, the line between social media’s benefits and drawbacks is very thin. Setting time limits for social media use and striking a balance between it and real life are the answers.
If you think you are using social media too much, review your routines and carve out time for other activities. Take some time off from social media. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance if you suffer from loneliness, anxiety, or despair.
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