Can Social Media Affect One’s Mental Health?
The continuous growth of social media platforms has increased how actively we find ourselves using social media. Various studies and articles, which I will get into later, discuss how social media has a great impact on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. As someone who spends a lot of time on social media, some of the negative disadvantages caused by social media have affected me. I have often compared myself to people I may see online, which takes a toll on my confidence and the way I feel about myself. I have also been the support system for many friends who struggle with relationship problems caused by social media. Social media tends to normalize many things that I don’t agree are respectful to others. Like I mentioned before, we are all on a social media platform and when we spend too much of our time on social media, our anxiety and self-consciousness get triggered. Social media can affect your health in many ways: mentally, physically and emotionally.
Mental health awareness has been an on-going topic throughout the past few years. Despite the continuous conversations about mental health, the rates are only increasing as the use of social media increases. According to the Wall Street Journal, “About a quarter of the teens who reported feeling “not good enough” said the feeling started on Instagram. Many also said the app undermined their confidence in the strength of their friendships.” This information provides how specifically social media can be triggering for developing teen girls. Bringing back my experience on social media, nowadays, it is so easy to compare yourself to the millions of users on any platform. Creating comparisons between someone else and yourself is negatively impacting your mental health because you create negative opinions about yourself and let your thoughts consume you. Mental health issues can be developed through many more things. Although, social media has shown to be the most continuous. The way social media creates comparison with those you see online, is the same way it makes you visualize yourself negatively.
Social media has been proven to affect many people’s physical health. Bringing in the idea of comparison once again, it is also considered a negative physical effect caused by social media. “A meta-analytic review of 63 independent samples of adolescents and adults found that body image disturbance is particularly strong for appearance-focused social media use.” When using social media, people only post what they want others to see, and that’s common sense. But it creates a “fake” lifestyle and standards that others would want to follow. With services like photoshop, you can even change the way the sky looks in your picture. To me, this is insane, the measures people take just to “fit” in today’s beauty standards. The standards that are expected today affect many with body issues and disorders. Although, these influencers or people you follow aren’t necessarily promoting weight loss or having a certain type of body, many tend to follow what they think is the correct way to be considered part of the beauty standards.
Who values their sleep? Social media decreases our sleeping hours. Our emotional health depends on variables, such as sleep. It has been found that “the risks caused by the excessive use of technology are psychological health, sleep programmed and the importance of sleep quality.” Sleep plays a major factor in determining how your day will go. If you don’t get sleep, you won’t be focused during class and you won’t have the energy you need to get through the day. Having no energy, in result of not being able to sleep, leads to depression and/or anxiety. These are issues that are common amongst people who stay up late on social media. Those who, whenever they are struggling with life obstacles, stay in bed creating negative thoughts about their lifestyle because of everything everyone else is doing.
Many of us allow social media to take over our emotions and the way we portray life. There shouldn’t be an emotional attachment to consistently follow certain standards or stick to certain trends. Understanding the disadvantages that social media exposes us to is important to learn how to manage our time wisely. Therefore, social media and its effects on mental health have shown that our time is being spent on things we should pay less attention to. Whenever you find yourself scrolling through TikTok for hours, think about the most valuable thing around you.