Articles

Impacts of Social Media on Mental Health

Social media has become a prevalent way of communicating and connecting with others online. In a survey done by the Pew Research Center, it was found that about 88% of 18 to 29 year old’s indicated that they use any form of social media. There is no doubt that social media offers many benefits including more access to information, a place to share art and music, and connectivity to friends and family around the world. The issue is that as a society we are letting social media take over our lives, and there have been consequences on our mental health.

 

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in adolescent depression, and observers worry that social media has had an impact on that. There are concerns about whether social media platforms are causing teens and young adults to feel “less than” their peers, whether they feel lonely and left out by seeing other friends together online, or whether they are being attacked with negative comments (Rideout & Fox, 2018). A Pew Research study found that 59% of teens have personally experienced at least one of six types of abusive online behavior (Pew Research Center, 2018). These abusive online behaviors can range from offensive name calling to physical threats. It is also important to note that social media has had great effects on social wellness. Social connection is correlated to happiness, physical health, and longevity. Social media platforms allow us to be more connected and the more socially connected you are, the happier, healthier, and longer-living you’ll be (Common Sense Media, 2018). Nonetheless, spending endless hours on social media takes away from the genuine face to face contact with friends and families. As humans it is our innate emotional need to be connected to others, and it is important that we determine times and places where we can disconnect from our devices and be fully engaged with our peers. 

 

In order to enhance our time on social media, we must create balance. Balance does not mean deleting every social media account you have. Balance is about respecting the quality of life both online and offline. This includes designating certain times and spaces to disconnect, being self aware of your time online, and knowing your intentions when logging on. 

 

Top 5 Social Media Detox Tips:

  • Unfollow accounts that don’t make you feel good about yourself
  • Have designated times where you check social media
  • Have social media free times / days
  • No social media past 8pm
  • Spend more time as a creator of good content versus a consumer

 

Blog written by Jason Nowak

 

References

  1. Anderson, M., & Jiang, J. (2018, November 30). Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/
  2. Felt, L. J. & Robb, M. B. (2016). Technology addiction: Concern, controversy, and finding balance. San Francisco, CA: Common Sense Media.
  3. Rideout, V., & Fox, S. (2018). Digital Health Practices, Social Media Use, and Mental Well-Being Among Teens and Young Adults in the U.S.: Hopelab & Well Being Trust
  4. Image: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/social-medias-impact-on-the-human-brain