The effects of social media on our mental health.
The statistics place the total number of social media users to 2.46 billion users. This amounts to one-third of the total world population. This makes it a social phenomenon with a wide implication. The advent of the internet made the information flow fast. It became faster as the social media started becoming popular. The social media platforms allow the people to connect instantly. They can interact across vast distances in moments.
Lack of consensus among researchers
Due to its popularity, the social media is a subject of many studies. Its effect on the mental health of its users is a subject of many studies. Researchers across the globe are in conflict on this issue. Some conclude that it has many benefits. While some conclude it negatively affects the user. Let us consider the negative effects of social media on mental health.
Social media is addictive
According to a review study, the symptoms of addiction are present in people with excessive social media usage. Facebook was the social media platform under consideration. The symptoms of addiction disorder include the following
- A disregard for personal life
- A tendency to conceal the addiction
- Mental preoccupation
- Mood modifying experiences etc.
The type of social media use depends on the natural traits of users. This was another conclusion of a study. The usage differs in extroverts, introvert and people with narcissistic traits. A study found the presence of withdrawal symptoms when people stop the use of the internet.
Comparison with others
The social media makes it easy to chalk out a comparison with others. The inherent human nature of competitiveness promotes this habit. The comparison of our life with another is bad for mental well being. This is due to our nature of drawing conclusions on this comparison. The conclusions may be either good or bad. The majority of times it’s bad since people tend to exaggerate on social media. When you try to make a comparison with the exaggerated version of others life, you fall short. This results in a feeling of low self-esteem.
Social media as a break from the routine
People turn to social media to take a break from their routine or work. The goal of the break is to seek relaxation. Another goal is to experience something that will help them feel good. This can be the result when you are involved in a social interaction. The social media experience often times gives opposite results. It may lead to depression or a feeling of isolation. The “perceived social isolation” increases with the times spent on social media. This is the conclusion of a study on social media and “perceived social isolation”. Increased social media usage increases the feeling of “perceived social isolation”.
The use of social media as a replacement for social interaction
In spite of its name, the use social media is a solitary activity. It appears to connect people socially, but in reality, it’s a false premise. The different social media platforms stimulate social interaction. The result is often loneliness. Excess use of social media makes people feel disconnected from people in their life. They also tend to feel sad.
The perception that social media will help
We don’t feel good by the use of social media. Our perception that it will make us feel good brings us back time and again. This creates an unhealthy cycle that’s bad for our mental health.
A study concludes that people expect to feel good when they start its use. They always feel worse when they stop the use of social media. Still, they keep on with an expectation of feeling good. The expectation of people was to feel better after the use, not worse. This was the conclusion of a study on what people believe to gain from social media. This tendency is similar to the symptom of other types of addiction.
Some conclusion of different studies on social media
There are many studies on the impact of social media on mental health. The conclusions of these studies give following statistics
- The use of social media is the highest by people with a low self-esteem. They use it as a tool of self-promotion.
- The increase in the use of social media in the last ten years is equal for both men and women. The difference is in the case of the negative effects of social media usage. This is higher in case of women.
There are many negative effects attributed to the use of social media. Two such effects are the feelings of depression and loneliness. According to studies, social media can be helpful for people suffering from depression and loneliness. This is especially true for young adults. Social media can help them connect with others that share similar interests. It can also allow them a feeling of belonging by allowing them to express views and participate in discussions.
Social media also acts as a tool to provide social education. This is through the communication with people from across the world.
Moderation is the only thing the researchers agree on. In moderation, social media is a benefit for everyone. It’s the excessive use that causes problems.
It is important when using social media to remember not to compare ourselves to others. You are enough just the way you are. I hope you found this informative and helpful .
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