Several studies have been conducted to find out the relationship between social media and mental health. According to the concluded reports, a deep association between social media use and depression, anxiety-like mental illnesses, exists! But how is social media casting such a great impact on our intellectual well-being? Is it going to affect even more? Or will we be able to find out a solution to this universal problem? Let’s go through certain facts and figures and explore out the answers to these questions.
Why Is Social Media Bad for Mental Health?
I can not say that social media and mental health are interrelated because of just one or two factors! There are several direct and indirect influences upon this statement. Since youth is the part of the population that has access to social media platforms, most of the factors attribute to them. Check out below!
1. Affecting the Quality and Quantity of Sleep:
More than necessary use of social media could directly your sleep timings. I do not doubt this because excessive exposure to screens affects your sleep. And since social media makes up for a lot of our screen-time, it is definitely a culprit. Not only the quantity, but the quality gets affected adversely too. Usually, after long hours of social media usage before sleep, you end up feeling dizzy and sleepy. That is because you did not have a good quality of sleep, and it now has a significant impact on your mind and intellect.
Scientific research related to the general physical being concluded that social media usage is highly associated with poor sleep quality! A growing body of evidence has been provided by conducting several surveys that could relate to the fact that this is one of the negative effects of social media.
2. Limiting the Actual Social Activities:
Would you prefer to travel to your friend’s home to study together when you can easily get done using WhatsApp? Or any other social media account? OBVIOUSLY NOT! This is how social media has caused a sharp decline in the number of social activities we are used to. I think this can be a positive aspect of social media, i.e., to get done with your work faster than before. But on the other hand, it is also limiting the face to face communications and hence promoting distant friendships and relationships.
Lack of social activities and in-person communications can also greatly affect our mental health. The British Journal of Psychiatry is considerable proof that real-world socializing is better than digital socializing for human beings.
3. Exposure to the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out):
Passive use of social media, i.e., when you are using your accounts to check out other’s activities and successes, creates a feeling of inferiority complex inside you. This leads you out to the condition, commonly called FOMO, the fear of missing out. I also have experienced this condition, and trust me, when you start comparing your life with people’s lives on social media, you start disregarding yourself in every matter of life. A major direct effect of FOMO is the lack of confidence and lesser self-esteem. This mental state also gives birth to inadequacy and ungratefulness.
People also start considering themselves useless, and hence this, in extreme cases, leads to the disgraceful act of suicide!
4. Causing Cyberbullying Crime:
We all are well aware of the fact that news spread like fire on social media. If somebody gets to know about some fake interesting information about you, they can put it on Facebook and hence use it against you to threaten you! THIS IS HOW EASY CYBERBULLYING IS! Social media platforms are the pathway that leads to such criminal activities and therefore destroys the emotional health of people who are a victim of it. If you have never been a target of such crime, be super thankful! Because cyberbullying has been embedded in our generation’s mindset, such firmly that nowadays, one out of every seven people have been subject to it.
I believe that if social media accounts get more secured, we can eliminate such harmful acts from our society. However, crime will still find its way out if it wants to! The best thing you can do is NOT to TRUST EVERYONE online. There are plenty of fake accounts that get you into major trouble once they know important information about you.
Also, the absence of Block/Report a person in the new Clubhouse app is really raising concern for users, will the newer platforms be safer, or will they keep on getting worse?
5. Producing Feelings of Loneliness:
Now the introverts reading my article might think that social media is the easiest way out to avoid live conversations! Though this fact can be a positive effect of social media for them, after all, humans are social well beings! I am an extrovert, and I do need many social activities not to make myself feel lonely. But no matter whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, if your spouse or friend is sitting in the same room as yours, busy on their cell phone without giving any heed to you, you might develop some feelings of loneliness sooner or later!
Social media may also cause you to become shy, socially awkward, and less able to deal with the world. Tackle your social insecurities and fear, learn to get out of the world of social media, and expose yourself to more healthy face-to-face communications!
6. Making You More Self-Absorbent:
While social media is responsible for making you feel inferior, it can also make you feel superior to everyone else, hence indulging you in an eternal mode of self-obsession! When I used to post many selfies and daily life activities on Facebook, I started feeling like I am the most privileged amongst all my other friends, which took me to another level of self-confidence. No doubt, gaining confidence is very important, but being overconfident looks totally unprofessional and lame too, sometimes!
Also, Excessive self-centeredness is not only unhealthy but negatively affects your personality too! The article ‘social capital and mental health’ by Kwame Mackenzi make this opinion clear. The feelings of selfishness may also be produced due to overuse of social media, hence clearing out that a connection does exist between social media and mental health.
I will advise you to make good use of social media and help your community grow in a better, healthier way. You can do that by avoiding cyber crimes, being more friendly, concerned with other’s problems, and being mature enough. This is all about the relationship between social media and mental health. I hope to see you soon with another interesting blog article that could help you understand the different complexities of our society and make you a better person, physically and mentally! Make sure to drop down your queries in the comments box below, until next time! xx