Since the release of Netflix’s hit documentary The Social Dilemma, many people are rightly concerned about Facebook, Instagram, and other social media’s negative impact on our self-confidence, body perception, and psychological wellbeing – but is there more to it?
Social media, a Netflix documentary, paints a dystopian picture of social media, claiming that Silicon Valley’s growing technology poses a significant threat to civilization. The incredibly sophisticated and dominant Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube algorithms that have captivated us one of the most have spent the previous ten years dandy.
According to global studies, the average adult spends two hours on social networking sites, while the typical American adolescent spends up to ten hours per day. Addiction to social media affects about half a million individuals globally. But what is the impact of how social media affects mental health?
According to the video, social media sites are very addictive. They are meant to be manipulated using the “attention-grabbing model” to influence our behavior, keep us scrolling, and make us want even more. In this sense, social media plays on our inherent want for social interaction and recognition, providing a rush of dopamine each time we use alike and perhaps a response and never fully satisfying our basic human needs.
Unfortunately, even as the documentary points out, this could also lead to a slew of destructive emotions, prompting us to resort to social media for just a quick cure.
When we’re lonely, depressed, or uncomfortable, we turn to social media as a type of digital dummy, another maladaptive coping method. But, according to the movie’s leading character, Tristan Harris, an ex – google design ethicist and the founder of the Institute for Humane Technology, it poses a severe threat to our mental health, which the businesses that lack oversight will exacerbate.
The Impact Of Social Media On Mental Health
Humans are sociable creatures by nature. To be successful in life, we require the company of others and the intensity of our bond, which has a significant impact on how social media affects mental health & happiness. Staying socially linked to people can assist you in coping with stress, worry, and increase your self-esteem, depression, bring comfort and joy, avoid undesirables, and even add years to life. But on the other hand, a lack of strong social relationships can put your emotional and mental health at risk.
But on the other side, a lack of strong social bonds can jeopardize your mental and emotional health. We all use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Netflix, and Snapchat to find and interact with one another in today’s world.
Although each has its own set of benefits, it’s vital to remember that social media will never be a replacement for face-to-face human engagement. You must connect with individuals to access the chemicals that reduce stress and leave you feeling happier, stronger, and more hopeful. Unfortunately, spending such much time on the internet can leave you feeling more alone and isolated—ironically, for a platform designed to bring people closer.
Suppose you are spending too much time on social media or are experiencing feelings of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, aggravation, and loneliness. In that case, it seems to be time to re-evaluate your internet activities and establish a better balance.
Social Media’s Good Elements
While primary digital on social media does not have the same positive effects as face-to-face interaction, it can nevertheless help us connect and improve our happiness in various ways.
- Find (with caution) sources of helpful information and education.
- Stay in touch and informed with friends and family all across the world.
- Participate in or promote worthy causes and raise awareness about vital concerns.
- Find a way to express yourself and your creativity.
- If you live in a rural area, have individual, social anxiety, and are a marginalized group, find a critical social connection.
- Make new acquaintances and join new communities; connect with those who have similar interests or goals.
- During difficult circumstances, seek or offer emotional assistance.
The Disadvantages Of Social Media
Because social media is such a new technology, insufficient research has been done to determine its user’s long-term effects, good or ill. However, numerous studies have linked heavy social media use to an increased risk of melancholy, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, or even suicide ideation.
Harmful Experiences May Be Promoted Via Social Media, Such As:
Feelings of inadequacy in life or appearance. Even if you are aware that the photographs you see on social media have been edited, they can still make you feel anxious about how you appear or what is happening in society. Likewise, we are all aware that others only discuss the significant aspects of their lives, rarely the low points that everyone goes through.
However, that doesn’t make you feel any less envious or dissatisfied when you go through a friend’s retouched images of their sunny beach vacation or hear about their fantastic new job promotion.
Fear of missing out (FOMO). Although FOMO has existed long before social media, sites like Instagram and Facebook seem to amplify thoughts that everyone else is having more awesome fun or enjoying happier conditions than you. The feeling that you are missing out on something can lower your self-esteem, cause worry, and encourage you to use social networks even more.
FOMO might make you take up your device every few seconds to find for changes and respond obsessively to each as well as every warning system if it means risking your life while driving, sacrificing sleep at night, and putting social media involvement above real-world connections.
Isolation. According to a Pennsylvania State University study, high usage of Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat enhance rather than lowers feelings of loneliness. Reduced social media usage, on the other hand, can help you feel less isolated and lonely, as well as increase your general wellbeing, according to the study.
Anxiety and depression. To be physically stable, humans require face-to-face contact. Ocular contact with somebody who cares for you relieves stress and improves your mood quicker and more effectively than anything else. Unfortunately, you prioritize social media activity over in-person interactions; you’re more likely to acquire or exacerbate mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
Cyberbullying. Around 10% of teenagers say they’ve been bullied on social networks, and many others have received nasty comments. Facebook and other social networking sites can be hotbeds for spreading hurtful rumors, lies, and harassment that can cause psychological wounds.
Self-absorption. Posting endless photos and your most profound emotions on social networks can lead to an unhealthy sense of self-centeredness as well as a disconnect from real-life relationships.
What Motivates You To Utilise And How Social Media Affects Mental Health?
The majority of us nowadays use our smartphones and tablets to access the service. While this makes staying in touch quite convenient, also it includes social media that is often available. The frequent alerts and messages hurting your concentration and focus, disrupting your sleep, and putting you a prisoner to your phone might cause impulse control issues.
The purpose of social media sites is to capture your interest, keep you online, or keep you monitoring your monitor for updates. That is how businesses generate money. However, like a gambling habit and nicotine, alcohol, or substance abuse, social networking can lead to psychological demands.
When you get a like, a post, or a positive reaction to a posting, your brain releases dopamine, the very same “incentive” chemical that you can get after scoring at a casino, eating chocolate, or smoking a cigarette, for instance. The more money you make, the more hours you would like to rely on social media, even if it hurts other elements of your life.
Other Factors That Contribute To Unhealthily Using Social Media
FOMO (fear of missing out) might keep you coming back to social networks again and over. Although many things can’t wait and require immediate attention, FOMO will convince you otherwise. Maybe you’re concerned that you will be cut out of the discussion at work or school if you don’t keep up with the newest news or scandal on social media.
Perhaps you believe that if you don’t really like, share, or comment on other people’s postings right away, your relationships will suffer? You may also be concerned that you will miss out on an invite or that others will have a better experience than you.
Many of us rely on social media as a “safety net.” We rush to our smartphones and log onto social media if we are in a social scenario and feel scared, uncomfortable, or lonesome. But, of course, using social media deprives you of a face-to-face conversation that might help you relax.
Your excessive social media usage may be hiding other underlying issues like stress, despair, or boredom. For example, you could be using social networking sites to distract yourself from negative sensations or self-soothe your moods if you spend so much time when you’re sad, lonely, or bored. Allowing yourself to feel can help you find healthy ways to control your moods, even if it’s challenging at first.
Symptoms That Social Media Is Harming Your Mental Health
Everyone is unique, so there is no set amount of social media usage, frequency of checking for updates, and amount of posts you publish that suggests your use is problematic. Instead, it’s about how much time you spend on social media affects your mood, other elements of your life, and your motivation for its use.
The following are signs that social media harms your mental health: Spending extra time on social media than friends in real life. Many of your offline social interactions have been replaced by using social media. Especially when you’re with friends, you feel compelled to check social media daily, frequently motivated by the fear that others have more pleasure than you.
On social media, you are making unfavorable comparisons to others. It is because you have such a low sense of self-worth or body dissatisfaction. You might even have problematic eating patterns.
You are being the victim of cyberbullying. Alternatively, you may be concerned that you do not influence what others say about you online.
There isn’t enough time in the day for self-reflection. So instead, you spend every free second on social media, giving no or negligible time to focus on where you’re from, what you think, and why you behave the way you do—the qualities that help you learn and grow.
You are risking one’s safety to obtain likes, shares, or favorable feedback on social media. You engage in harmful pranks, upload humiliating content, cyberstalker others, or use your cell phones while driving and in other potentially hazardous situations.
I’m having trouble sleeping. Do you look at social media late at night, early the following day, and also when you get up at night? Smartphones and other electronics emit light that can disturb your sleep; this can negatively influence how social media affects mental health.
Anxiety and depression symptoms are getting worse. Instead of helping ease unpleasant feelings and boost your health, social media makes you feel more nervous, unhappy, or lonely.
Assisting A Youngster Or Adolescent Who Is Using Social Media In An Unhealthy Manner
Developmental challenges and societal pressures can be expected during childhood and adolescence. Social media exacerbates these challenges for some children, increasing anxiety, bullying, melancholy, and self-esteem concerns. If you’re concerned about their social media use, it can be tempted to confiscate the child’s smartphone or other gadgets simply.
However, this might lead to more issues by isolating your child from their friends and the benefits of social media. There are alternative options for helping your youngster use Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms responsibly.
Monitor and restrict your child’s use of social media. You will be more able to address any issues if you know more about how your youngster interacts on social media. Parental control technologies enable you to restrict your kid’s data consumption or limit your internet usage to specific times of the day. Parents can also change their security settings on many platforms to reduce their risk to bullies and criminals.
Discuss any underlying difficulties with your child. Problems from social media use are frequently a symptom of more significant challenges. For example, is your youngster struggling to fit in at school? Is it possible that they have social anxiety and shyness? Are they stressed because of troubles at home?
Make “social media” breaks mandatory. You may, for example, prohibit your child from using social media until they have finished their schoolwork in the evening, prohibit phones from being used at the dining table or perhaps in their bedrooms, and schedule family events that do not include the use of smartphones or other devices. In addition, to avoid sleep disturbances, make sure phones are switched off at a minimum of one hour before bedtime.
Teach your child that social media does not portray people’s life accurately. Children should not use social media to evaluate themselves or their life to others. Individuals only share what they would like the rest of the world to see. Images are either manipulated or meticulously posed and chosen. Furthermore, requiring tiny social media pals does not imply that your child is less social.
Encourage physical activity as well as offline pursuits. Encourage your youngster to participate in physical activity and interests that need real-world interaction to keep them away from the media. Exercise is beneficial for reducing anxiety and tension, raising self-esteem, and enhancing mood, and it may be responsible as a family. Less and less your kid’s spirit and sense of identity are influenced by how many buddies, likes, and shares they have had on social networking sites, the better.