8 Ways Social Media is Affecting Your Mental Health
In less than two decades social media has made a lot of people addicted and it is still stretching its arm. Have you ever thought of the impact it can have on your mental health? Just take a look.
1. Social media is addictive.
According to various studies about 63% of Americans log onto Facebook daily, and about 40% login many times in a day. A lot of people use social media for various reasons; however, often it serves same basic purposes of life: distraction and relief from boredom. “Likes” and “comments” are the positive reinforcement for posting any content, which makes it difficult for an individual to stop. Now even you can check your addiction level- researchers have created a scale to measure the addiction: The Berge Facebook Addiction Scale.
2. Social media compels us to compare our lives with others’.
What’s posted on social media often presents an idealized version of anything, be it someone’s looks, or how things are going. This prompts the users to constantly compare themselves with others and think less about their own lives. If things are going well for some people in your facebook’s newsfeed while you are having a bad day, it is most likely that this comparison will negatively affect your mood. In fact, in 2012 a team of researchers surveyed users and found that 53% said social media has changed their behavior; and another 51% said they had negative behavior because of decline in their confidence level they felt because of unfair comparisons to others.
3. Social media makes us restless.
Out of the same survey sample as the above example, two-thirds of people admitted that they having difficulty in relaxing when they are unable to use their social media accounts.
4. Social media gives rise to cyberbullying.
Cyber bullying is really very bad and it’s a huge concern for everyone, especially for adolescents. “Enough is Enough”: an organization that aims for internet safety. It recently conducted a survey and found that 95% of teens who use social media have witnessed cyberbullying, and about 33% have been victims themselves.
5. Social media glamorizes drug and alcohol use.
According to one study, the relationship between social media, teens, and drug use found that about 70% of teens between ages 12 to 17 use social media, and those who interact on a daily basis are five times more likely to use tobacco, three times more likely to use alcohol, and two times as likely to use marijuana. In addition, 40% also admitted to being exposed to pictures of other people under the influence through social media, which suggests the correlation between the two factors. In other words, social media amplify peer pressure to which teenagers are exposed.
6. Social media can make us unhappy.
According to the study by the University of Michigan, a sample data was collected about Facebook users and how it associated with their moods. What they found was that “the more keen users were overall more unhappy than those who used the site comparatively less.” Over more time, keen users also reported lower satisfaction in their lives.
7. Social media can lead to fear of missing out, aka FOMO.
“Fear of missing out” -a phenomenon that usually occurs when you feel pressurized to be doing what all others are doing, like attend every event, and share your every life experiences. Such acts evoke anxiety and cause the users to question why and how everyone can “have fun without them.” It has also been found that people feel insecure after using Pinterest since they feel they are not so crafty or creative. Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, make individuals feel that they are not successful and smart enough.
8. Social media often leads to multitasking.
According to the researcher, our brains don’t have that capacity to fully focus our attention on many things at once. Multitasking causes our brains to quickly switch from one task to another. This process hinders the information processing and productivity level. However, if you close out your Twitter feed you can seriously help yourself to get the work done.
Social media is not just about cyber bullies, selfie-taking narcissists, and killing productivity. If used in moderation with right intentions, it can really help you to achieve what it was set out to do in the first place: connect people.
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