Many studies have shown that social media usage has a harmful impact on mental health. As people continue using social media frequently, this impact continues to grow. Even though social media has its own advantages like helping people connect and share ideas, updates and share images with others regardless of where they are, it has its own disadvantages like negatively affecting our mental wellbeing.
Young people are the most affected as they use social media frequently. While social media usage enables young people to interact with others and create a sense of self-identity, using it too much can negatively impact their mental health. So, it is good to use social media in moderation to avoid its negative impact on your social health. Recent studies have shown that social media usage can cause the following mental health challenges:
1. Causes People to Be Overly Focused on Body Image
It is believed that Instagram (a photo-sharing app) has the worst impact on young people when it comes to mental health as young people see ‘perfect’ photoshopped images of celebrities on Instagram. They compare their bodies to these celebrities and become worried that their bodies are not as beautiful as those they see on Instagram.
2. Causes Anxiety
FOMO, which stands for Fear of Missing Out, refers to the fear of being left out of the communication and community. Social media users feel like they have to respond to invites, post their stuff online, and like the images posted by their friends on social media. This can make people have feelings of dread and emptiness. It can also cause the anxiety of being ‘always on’ and having to post something about your perfect life. If you feel like you or someone close to you could benefit from speaking to a professional search for anxiety therapist Chicago.
3. It Makes People Compare Themselves with Others
If you compare yourself with others, you will never be happy. When you look at others on social media, you will think that they have a funnier, shinier, and better life than you. This can damage your well-being and lower your self-esteem. Keep in mind that some of the things on social media are not real. So, there is no need to compare your life with what may be fake.
4. Tech Addiction
Social media can be addictive as it makes you check your phone from time to time so that you cannot miss anything. A person with tech addiction may do things like putting their phone under their pillow so that they cannot miss anything on social media. They can also be unable to put their phone down or switch it off. In fact, The Guardian has reported that some Facebook, Google and Twitter employees have united in a campaign for tech companies to look for ways of making their technology less addictive.
5. Low Self-Esteem
When a person posts a picture or post on social media, they believe that people will comment or like what they have posted. Getting a higher number of likes or comments will boost their self-esteem while a lower number of likes or comments will lower their self-esteem. It is not good to let the opinion of others affect your emotional wellbeing. It is only those with a stronger sense of purpose in life who are not affected by the number of likes or comments. (Source: Cornell University).
6. Can Cause Depression
Using many social media sites will force you to multitask. This can cause a low mood. (Source: University of Pittsburgh). Things like cyberbullying, being laughed at, or making a ‘gaffe’ online can cause negative thoughts and feelings about yourself and lead to depression. (Source: Stony Brook University).
Tips On How to Prevent Mental Health Challenges Caused by Social Media
1. Unfollow People
According to sources ensure that your friends on social media are those that care about you and matter to you. If following a certain friend is negatively affecting you, unfollow them.
2. Seek Support If Something Upsets You
If you post something on social media and it brings ridicule or backlash, share your feelings with your family or friends. Never deal with them by yourself. It hurts when people take what you post the wrong way. And if you get any offensive replies, consider reporting them to the social media site management.
3. Focus on Quality Over Quantity
You don’t have to subscribe to many social media sites to enjoy the benefits of social media. Just choose those sites that bring you the most joy. Engage like-minded people and avoid other things.
4. Turn Off Your Notifications
If you do not know what is going on, your mental and emotional space will be freed for things happening in the real world. When you have time, you can log in and check your social media.
5. Go Grey
Your phone has a setting known as greyscale which switches off from color and displays everything as black and white. This is meant for those who want to wean themselves off their phones. Try it today and see how attractive images look in black and white.
6. Get a Sense of Purpose
If you have you have found your purpose in life and you are working towards it, you are less likely to focus on small rewards like comments or likes on social media. Even though likes and comments are great, they should not affect you.