Social media has completely changed how we exchange information and communicate in the age of digital connectedness. Social media does have advantages, but there are also rising worries about its effects on mental health. Recent studies have highlighted the possible harm that excessive social media use may cause to various facets of mental health. We will examine the relationship between social media and mental health problems in this post, highlighting the challenges with the help of pertinent academic research.
1.Social Media Use and Depression: Several research have looked at the connection between using social media and depression, and they have shown a strong correlation. Young adults who spent more time on social media were more likely to exhibit depressive symptoms, according to a 2017 study by Primack et al.Social comparison and inadequacy sentiments might result from a lifetime of being exposed to the well controlled, idealized lives of others. Additionally, using social media excessively can interfere with sleep patterns, aggravating depressed symptoms (Levenson et al., 2020).
2.Social media use and anxiety: Using social media is frequently associated with anxiety, another mental health condition. Continuous use of social media platforms can lead to feelings of pressure from others and FOMO (fear of missing out). According to research (Elhai et al., 2017), FOMO mediated the association between using social media and both anxiety and depression. Social media’s exaggerated portrayal of perfect lifestyles can exacerbate emotions of worry and inadequacy, which can have a detrimental effect on mental health.
3.Cyberbullying and psychological distress: Social media platforms have opened up new opportunities for cyberbullying, which has detrimental effects on mental health. A study by Kowalski et al. (2014) found a significant correlation between teenage psychological discomfort and cyberbullying. Social media platforms’ accessibility and anonymity can give people the confidence to participate in destructive behavior, which can have serious emotional and psychological repercussions for the victims.
4.Body Image Issues and Eating Disorders: Social media sites can act as a fertile ground for issues with body image and the emergence of eating disorders. Research has shown how social media plays a part in propagating notions of thinness and unattainable beauty standards (Fardouly et al., 2018). According to a Perloff (2014) study, young women’s exposure to idealized pictures on social media increased body dissatisfaction and disordered eating practices. These findings highlight the significance of encouraging a positive body image and constructive dialogue on social media.
5.Effect of sleep and well-being; using social media excessively, especially right before bed, can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep and your general well-being. It is more difficult to fall asleep and disrupts the sleep patterns required for adequate rest when blue light from screens enters the body (Chang et al., 2015). In turn, sleep deprivation can have a significant negative effect on mental health, increasing irritation, impairing cognitive performance, and raising the risk of mental health issues.
Social media has many advantages, but it’s important to be aware of how use could affect your mental health.
Social media sites need to assume responsibility by putting in place safeguards to lessen the harm, like strict content monitoring, user support services, and encouraging constructive debate. We can capitalize on social media’s advantages while preserving our mental health by establishing a healthy digital environment.
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