Social Media: A Bane to Mental Health?

Social Media: A Bane to Mental Health?

Apr 22, 2019

Social Media: A Bane to Mental Health?

by Kritleen Bawa
In this day and age, most people with an access to a mobile phone and internet also use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, etc. The advent of social media has made a huge impact on the world and has touched many aspects of its citizens’ lives. Social media has allowed people to connect to family and friends who live far away, and it has given people a platform to connect to individuals with similar interests as them and even to make new friends.

Other advantages of social media include directly connecting with potential employers, asking for career advice from one’s role models and maybe even getting a job! In addition to helping with advancing one’s professional life, it can also assist in advancing one’s personal life. There are many online applications that allow people to meet and communicate with potential mates. Hence, social media is benefiting its users in many ways from the comfort of their homes.

But with the benefits of social media come disadvantages as well. People have started spending more time with their phones than with their real-life family and friends. In this way, having an excessive online presence can be a hindrance in one’s social life, which ultimately defeats the purpose of having an interconnected web. This reliance on social media can be concerning if it reaches an extreme. Moreover, the advent of social media was also the advent of cyberbullying. Unhealthy online environments can drastically affect its user’s mental health and can be a bane to one’s self-confidence and even lead to several mood and physiological disorders.

One systemic review found a significant correlation between social media usage and depressive symptoms in adolescents and teens in a sample size of over 12000. Another study showed that access to internet and usage of mobile phone has a causal relationship with reduced sleep time and satisfaction which can have direct effects on cognition. Moreover, several studies have also made an attempt to investigate the reasons behind the bad effects social media may have on mood. Studies have shown a link between using social media and being uncomfortable with one’s body image. Moreover, it has been reported that this association can get stronger over time by excessively comparing one’s appearance to others. One study showed that girls who used Facebook versus girls who were asked to use a control website reported being in a more negative mood after the usage and also reported a higher difference in their skin, facial and hair features when comparing themselves to others on the website. In addition to body image issues, cyber bullying can also lead to mood disorders in social media users. Systemic review on the topic revealed that more social media usage is associated with cyber bullying and that cyber bullying victims show increased depressive symptoms, substance use and suicide attempts.

So, all this research had shown that excess time on social media can lead to the development of various mood disorders such as depression and anxiety and physiological disturbances such as sleep disorder in its users due to an unhealthy online environment. Since adolescents, teens and young adults are the biggest users of social media, they are at a higher risk of such health problems. Therefore, people who use social media or know people who are avid social media users should be aware of its risks and should use it in moderation and to their benefit.

Newsletter Sign Up

Stay connected with Blu Matter