The effects of social media are profound on humans. Humans are social creatures and to succeed in life we need the company of others, and the quality of our relationships has a significant impact on our mental health and enjoyment.
Social media can be informative and even calming, as well as a much-needed vacation from the pressures and stresses of everyday life, but anything beyond that can be damaging. We don’t talk enough about excessive social media use, even though it can lead to chronic stress, sadness, and anxiety.
The effects of social media can currently also be observed in young children. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)Impact of Social Media on Mental HealthHow do you rate the impact of social media on your mental health? (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram are just a few popular social media sites that many of us use to interact and follow each other.
While they have multiple benefits, it’s important to remember that social media can never fully replace in-person interaction. The hormones that relieve stress and help you feel happier, healthier, and more optimistic need to be released through face-to-face interactions with other people.
The world of social media can have adverse consequences for users’ mental health, according to population-based studies and national surveys. According to survey results, teen suicide attempts increased by 25% between 2009 and 2017 in the US alone.
According to popular belief, social media can make you feel lonelier and more isolated, and worsen mental health issues like anxiety and depression. This is ironic considering the technology was designed to bring people together.
If you’re spending too much time on social media and loneliness, unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or other negative emotions are interfering with your life, it might be time to re-evaluate your online behavior and find a healthier balance. Adverse effects of social media on mental health include:
Constantly posting selfies and personal comments about every imaginable social circumstance can lead to an unhealthy sense of self. Self-centered behavior like this can create distance and a chasm between you and the people in your life.
2) Mood disorders and worriesSocial media comparison is a downward wave. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
Face-to-face interaction is necessary for human mental well-being. Nothing calms you down and improves your mood faster or more than making eye contact with someone you care about. The risk of developing or getting worse mood disorders like anxiety and depression increases the more you value social media activity over real-world interactions.
3) Favors virtual friendship
There seems to be a limit to how many friends a person’s brain can support, and maintaining those connections requires actual social engagement (rather than virtual interaction), according to a study published a few years ago. As a result, pretending to be social by using Facebook doesn’t work.
Obtaining genuine social support is crucial, as loneliness leads to a wide range of physical and mental health problems, including early mortality. Time spent with virtual friends doesn’t have the same healing power as time spent with real friends.
4) Difficulty falling asleepThe impact of social media can be seen on our daily habits. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
Is browsing social media the last activity of your night, the first thing you do in the morning, or even the first thing you do when you wake up at night? The light from cell phones and other electronic devices can make it harder for you to fall asleep, which can negatively impact your mental health and disrupt your circadian rhythm, which can lead to a host of other problems.
5) Anxiety or depression
You may feel more nervous, unhappy, or lonely after using social media instead of experiencing positive feelings or improving your mood. This results in social media use making your symptoms worse, making it more difficult and complicated to manage.
Social media impact is not necessarily a bad thing. As we have said before, when used properly, it can improve the mental health of some people. While virtual socializing doesn’t have the same psychological benefits as face-to-face encounters, it can still keep us in touch with loved ones, which ultimately improves our well-being.
The Impact of Social Media on Teens The impact of social media can also be seen in children and young adults. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
The impact of social media can expose teens to cyberbullying, body image issues and technology addiction, and reduce the time they spend on healthy, outside activities.
Some researchers theorize that the significant increases in teen depression symptoms and suicide rates that began during the same period could be explained by the rise in social media and excessive screen use between 2010 and 2015.
Additionally, several professionals believe that the effects of social media trigger the nervous system to go into fight-or-flight mode, aggravating issues like ADHD, depression, anxiety, and oppositional defiant disorder.
Adolescents using social media platforms often observe the lives and online personalities of their classmates, leading to constant comparisons that can be detrimental to self-esteem and perceptions of one’s own body. The causes and harmful effects of excessive social media use can be overcome by children with the help of mental health treatment.
The impact of social media use and mental health should be carefully considered. Establishing some guidelines for your social media use can be time-consuming, but it’s necessary when you find yourself spending more time on different websites and experiencing negative effects.
While mental health symptoms continue to affect your ability to function despite your best efforts to reduce your social media use, it’s important to dig deeper to determine what the potential root causes might be.
Get treatment when you think you need it, as disorders like anxiety, depression, loneliness, and others are treatable. Regardless of the mental health issues you are dealing with or whether the effects of social media are a factor in your symptoms, talk therapy and short-term drug use can be very effective in making you feel better.
Janvi Kapur is a consultant with a master’s degree in applied psychology specializing in clinical psychology.
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