Social Media and Mental Health: How Social Networks Impact Our Life

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Social Media and Its Impact on Our Mental Health and Life in General

Humans are sociable creatures by nature. To prosper in life, we require the company of others, and the strength of our bonds has a significant impact on our mental health and joy. Social media has helped us build wider social connections that can reduce stress and promote remote learning. 

However, just as there are pros to using social media networks and messaging apps, there are some cons. In this article, we look at how social media impacts our social life and mental health.

Asides from Facebook, Instagram has become a go-to application for many people. On the app, both young and old can share their experiences, connect, and even learn. In the United States alone, there are about 115 million Instagram users, with that figure expected to rise to over 127 million by 2023.

With the world becoming more connected, businesses now use messaging apps for workflow and communication. In fact, almost every business now holds meetings on apps like Skype and Google Meet. Nevertheless, with stronger connections and more exposure to the outside world come more challenges.

“We get to know this world through other people. And social media empowers us to know and see more than ever before. At one time, to have at least approximate enough knowledge, one had to move and search a lot. Now without leaving a city, district, and even home anyone can have a vast circle of acquaintances or learn something new. Isn’t it amazing? And there is no point in resisting the new. Social media is a part of evolution. But it’s essential to use technology for good, for development, and not just for fun.  And this is not a problem of social networks but culture and education.”

Pavel Volkov, the founder and CEO ReNett.com  – the first mobile video forum.

Negative Mental Health Effects of Social Media Use

Little study has been done on the long-term impacts of social media use because it is such a new medium. A growing body of research shows that extensive social media usage increases people’s risk of depression, anxiety, loneliness, and even suicidal thoughts.

Nevertheless, everyday life has shown that social media can promote some negativity like those we’ve listed below:

  • Unhappiness
  • Low self-esteem
  • The wrong view of reality
  • Depression
  • Cyberbullying

1. Unhappiness Because of How You Appear or Feel

There’s nothing wrong with worrying about how you look or what’s happening in your life. However, it’s a problem when you feel imperfect after seeing photos of other people online. Instagram is flooded with photos that have been altered to make the owners look better.

Many people only talk about the positive aspects of their lives while ignoring or downplaying the difficult times that everyone encounters. Seeing a friend’s edited photos from their sunny beach vacation or hearing about their fantastic new job promotion doesn’t make you feel any less envious and unhappy, does it?

Consuming less social media content could help people appreciate what they have more. Comparison only breeds low self-esteem and envy.

2. Fear of Missing Out on a Trend

It’s not just social media that causes FOMO; sites like Facebook and Instagram seem to amplify notions that other people are having more fun or have better lives than you do. You may experience low self-esteem, concern, and an increased desire to use social media if you have the impression that you’re missing out on something.

FOMO may cause you to check your phone for updates or reply compulsively to every alert, even if it means putting your safety in danger while driving, forsaking sleep at night, or prioritizing social media participation above real-world connections.

3. A Wrong Perception of Reality

Frequent use of social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram makes people expect more from reality. Filters are tools to make pictures look better than they do in life, but social media users have begun to crave such perfection.

Consequently, people began to consider body modification surgery to look like their favorite Instagram celebrity.

“Would invite 200 people into your home and then give up all your hosting privileges to a corporate robot that decides who gets to speak? And then would you let those people talk about whatever they wanted or try to sell you products you don’t need, even though it’s your house? Of course you wouldn’t. But that’s exactly what social media is — a constant intrusion into your home, your mind, and your time. The solution isn’t to delete social media entirely. It’s to use it with intention. There are a million ways to do this. Try pulling all the apps off your phone and only using a computer to access the apps. Install extensions that block your newsfeed or hide retweets. Keep your phone in another room. Take back control of your house.”

Brooke Siem is a mental health writer and author of MAY CAUSE SIDE EFFECTS, coming in May 2022. Find her at www.brookesiem.com or @brookesiem.

4. Anxiety and Depression

Both cases are common mental health conditions. Humans require face-to-face contact to maintain good mental health. Making eye contact with a caring person reduces stress and elevates your mood more quickly and effectively than any other method.

If you prioritize social media above in-person connections, you’re more likely to develop or worsen mood disorders like anxiety and despair.

5. Cyberbullying

In the United States, around ten percent of students say they have been bullied on social media. Harmful rumors, lies, and abuse may spread quickly on Twitter and other social media sites, leaving behind emotional scars.

Conclusion

Social media isn’t entirely negative. Nevertheless, a user’s intention is what determines what effects a chosen platform will have on them. The tips here should help readers use social media better.