The Relation Between Social Media And Mental Health
The Relation Between Social Media And Mental Health
Social media is a platform that enables its users to create and share content (thoughts and ideas through documents, videos, photos and other such personal information) or to engage in social networking.
It is an ever changing and ever evolving platform. The power of social media is its ability to connect with anyone (or many people simultaneously) on earth.
Originated as a medium to interact with family and friends it was later adopted as a business to take advantage of this popular communication method to reach out to customers.
There is a variety of social media activities these include sharing photos or videos, making blogs gaming, business networks, virtual worlds etc.
Certain people use it to keep in touch with their friends and family while others use it as an application to network career opportunities and to find people all over the globe who share common interests, thoughts, feelings, insights and emotions.
Here are some of the most popular social media websites according to January 2019:
- Facebook with 2.27 billion users
- YouTube with 1.9 billion users
- WhatsApp with 1.5 billion users
- Facebook Messenger with 1.3 billion users
- WeChat with 1.08 billion users
- Instagram with 1 billion users
- QQ with 803 million users
- Tik Tok with 500 million users
There are more than 7 billion users of social media globally. These users, according to a research, are mostly young. It shows that 90% of the people between the age of 18 and 29 are at least on one social media platform.
Users connect to social media through smartphone computer or tablet, via web applications or softwares; utilising it mostly for messaging.
Positive Aspect Of Social Media On Mental Health
“Man is a social animal”. We need each other to thrive in life. The strength of our connections has an important role to play on our mental health and happiness.
Being connected to people socially can eliminate stress and anxiety and depression, it can also boost self worth, prevent loneliness, provide joy and comfort, it can also increase your lifespan.
Whereas on the other side of it lacking a strong social connection with people can impose serious risk to your mental and emotional health.
World social media has its own benefits. We must never forget that it is not a replacement for the real life human connection. In order to feel healthy, positive and happy it requires in-person contact with people. This releases hormones that eliminate stress.
While social media cannot provide the same face-to-face contact benefits, there are still many positive ways in which it helps you stay connected to your loved ones.
Social media allows you to:
- Find people who share the same interests or ambition as you do, and make new friends,
- Commute to your friends and family across the globe,
- Join for a worthy cause or create/ raise awareness on important issues,
- Offer or seek emotional and mental support during tough times,
- Provide an outlet for your creativity, skills and talents, in order to express yourself better
- Explore sources of valuable learning
There are some positive overlooked effects that social media can have on one’s mental health
Inspire healthy lifestyle
Announcing a goal via social media and posting about it regularly can bring a healthy lifestyle change. These goals can be anything such as quitting smoking or going to the gym regularly.
It motivates people with similar goals and according to research it even increases the chance of success; whether it is weight loss or recovering alcoholics.
There are certain platforms such as meetup.com which allow people to connect with groups, clubs and local organisations with similar interests. These may include range from people who share a love of playing football to groups of recovering addicts.
Relationships that result from dating applications such as Bumble or Tinder are very common these days. People who were lonely once, are now enjoying a cup of coffee with their loved ones!
Social media is also a wonderful platform which can help strengthen existing or new relationships especially with those who live far away. It breaks down all the geographic barriers.
People with physical handicaps or some disabilities who cannot travel outside their home can benefit from social media. Far from increasing isolation it can provide means of finding support and motivation.
Allows self expression
Number of teenagers will post things online which they are reluctant to share with their parents at home. This allows different modes of creative self expression
Makes social support possible
Heard of the 24 hours suicide prevention? They aren’t the only source of intervention. A number of websites are off ring support through social media. These sites even provide people with anonymous forums to connect and share personal experiences.
They even allow people to sign up to receive daily advice, motivational messages and important information through SMS services.
Here Are The 7 Best Online And Support Groups Of The Year 2020
Turn2me: it is the best overall
Founded in 2009 after Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard lost their brother to suicide. Free online support group for anxiety, stress management, suicidal thoughts and feeling,
depression and general mental health issues.
Mental health America: it is the best free screening tools
Leading community based non-profit dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthy lives.
Anxiety and depression association of America: it is the best informational site
Provides extensive information on anxiety also shares information on how to access local in person support groups.
7 cups of tea: it is the best for free one on one support
This site hosts forums to help people dealing with depression and anxiety. It also allows you to speak with someone one on one.
The tribe: it is the best peer to peer support group
Support for individuals coping with fear, anxiety disorders and stress. You have access to a blog where you write your story, speak your mind and inspire others.
Daily strength: it is the most active anxiety forum
Free to sign up and participate you can do it anonymously. It also states some clear rules such as no asking for money and all religious views must be respected.
Support groups.com; it is the best for joining multiple support groups.
Aims to bring people together through life challenges and encourages you to join as many groups as you like.
Negative Aspects Of Social Media On Mental Health
Social media promotes a feeling of envy and dissatisfaction when you are scrolling through to a celebrity’s airbrushed photos of their beach vacation or reading about your friend’s exciting new promotion at work. It makes you feel insecure about your life and appearance.
The fear of missing out (FOMO)
Feeling that others are having more fun or living a better life than you are can impact your self-esteem, fuel envy or anxiety. A study has found that reducing social media usage can make you feel less lonely.
Depression and anxiety
To be mentally healthy humans need face to face contact; when you choose social media interaction over in- person relationships, you are at a risk of developing disorders, like anxiety and depression.
Life risking videos
For Tik Tok likes, people do not mind risking their lives. They make videos which are dangerous and will get them more TiKTok followers. For example, a video of a girl eating live octopus which attacked her. The kiki challenge was also one of them.
A lot of teenagers complain about being bullied on social media.This accounts for about 10% of teens. There are others who are subjected to offensive comments as well.
Posting too many selfies to gain Instagram likes can create an unhealthy self-centeredness which is far away from real life connections.
The notifications and constant alerts affect your concentration and focus, it also disturbs your sleep routine and makes you a slave to your phone.
- The fear of missing out makes you turn to your phone over and over again even though there are things that can wait and do not require immediate response. You are worried that you will be left out of an important conversation with all the latest news and gossip if you do not check your phone every other minute.
A “security blanket”
Whenever they are in a social situation and feel anxious or awkward in a conversation they turn to their phones and logon to social media. In this way you turn your face from in-person interaction that can actually help to ease anxiety.
The feelings of inadequacy, dissatisfaction and isolation can affect your mood and worsen symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.
In order to show their popularity some people go to such extremes as purchasing Facebook followers or purchasing Instagram followers for themselves.