“What’s on your mind” Social Media? What social media does to your mental health? Stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, jealousy, loneliness, low self esteem and what not?
Social media is quickly evolving in front of our eyes and it is almost impossible to reject and hide from this new form of media. It is undeniably changing the way one communicates and how one finds and shares information. Although there are many positive aspects of social media, the negative effects on children and adolescents are also numerous. Social media can affect the mental health of teens as well as adults. The question to be asked is: How many are aware that the use of social media is having a negative impact on their mental health?
In India, many remain unaware of the ‘cost’ of enjoying this platform. If you find that you are becoming so absorbed in social media that you are neglecting work or school, ignoring your family and pets, and withdrawing from people and activities you used to enjoy, you may have a problem. When we allow one activity to eclipse everything else and fail to fulfil our responsibilities because of it, we are living an imbalanced and dysfunctional life. Is that addiction? In some instances yes, it is. Let’s have a quick run down on the addiction of social media on the mental health of people those who overuse it.
1. It can lead to comparison envy
We all know (don’t we?) that everyone puts their best face on social media. But even with this knowledge it seems that frequently viewing friends’ updates about their seemingly perfect or glamorous lives can negatively impact us.
2. Overuse is linked to narcissism and low self-esteem.
Self-promotion was defined as things such as updating statuses every five minutes, frequent posting of selfies, photos of celebrity look-alikes, and ‘self-glorifying’ quotes and mottos. The researchers concluded that the people who used Facebook the most tended to have narcissistic or insecure personalities and low self esteem.
3. Leads to Depression
Be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using social media excessively can increase your loneliness, and loneliness can lead to depression. The latest research by the UK Disability Charity Scope reviewed almost 1500 Twitter and Facebook users, out of which 60% felt jealous of their peers on social media, and 62% felt isolated.
4. Poor sleep quality
Numerous studies have shown that increased social media use has a significant association with poor sleep quality in young people. Using phones, laptops, and tablets excessively at night before bed is also linked with poor quality sleep.
Bullying during childhood is a major risk factor for a number of issues including mental health, education and social relationships, with long-term effects often carried right through to adulthood.
“Check-in, at home, on the couch, with my popcorns, watching Star-Wars”. Social media is encouraging people to become more public with their private lives, users are easily giving out information they could never reveal on a face-to-face conversation.
7. Decreased productivity
“A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click”. Social media can either increase or decrease productivity. It all begins with a single click of searching for some very important content, and then you come across a curious post about the first man on Mars, you ‘accidently’ click on it. After deciding to share the news to your friend, your friend comments, and ten more friends comment and it carries on…
This and many other examples can decrease your productivity. So the simplest piece of advice is to work with discipline and try to avoid social media distractions.