Mental illness is an issue for adolescent health, with 32% and 13% of 12 to 17-year-olds experiencing anxiety and depression, respectively. Young adults should also be concerned about it because 25% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 report having a mental disease. Particularly among girls, depression is on the rise. Some academics have hypothesized that this rise in mental illness may be related, at least in part, to the growth in young people’s usage of social media.
It has become increasingly common to use social media in recent years. Approximately 72 percent of Americans in the United States use social media. People utilize social networking platforms to discuss their political opinions, acquire news, and stay in touch with family and friends. Some studies are now considering the long-term consequences of social media use in light of this. As social media is still entirely new, little research has been done to determine its results. However, considerable research shows that social media has various adverse effects on mental health. Many Americans are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, loneliness, envy, and even physical illness due to their increased reliance on and use of social media.
In recent years, several researchers have linked online social networking with psychiatric problems, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. Social networks are a relatively new phenomenon; thus, there are still many unanswered issues about how they could affect mental health. However, given the widespread use of these online services, any established link between them and psychiatric illnesses in the future would be highly concerning for public health.
Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
Researchers find that social media can have significant drawbacks, particularly in mental health.
Use of Social Media May Increase Depression
When disputes break out online, technology meant to bring people together can sometimes have the opposite impact. Social media has been connected to loneliness, anxiety, and depressive disorders. People could feel alone and isolated as a result. One 2017 study indicated that compared to infrequent social media users, young individuals regularly using social media are substantially more likely to classify their mental health as fair or poor.
Concern about missing out
An additional mental health problem is FOMO, or fear of missing out, which is a social media-related mental health problem. Social media sites amplify the anxiety that you’re missing something or comparing yourself to others. In extreme circumstances, FOMO can make you dependent on your phone, forcing you to immediately check for updates or react to each alert.
The Use of Social Media as an Unhealthy Coping Mechanism
Social media can become an undesirable coping mechanism for complicated feelings or emotions. For instance, you may be using social media to divert yourself if you use it when you’re depressed, lonely, or bored. In the end, social networking is a lousy approach to self-soothing, especially if doing so frequently makes you feel worse rather than better.
Social media could diminish your sense of self.
You might feel inadequate about your life and appearance due to social media. Even if you are aware that the images you see online have been altered or are a highlight reel of someone else, these emotions can make you feel insecure, envious, and unsatisfied.
Social media can promote self-indulgence.
Sharing countless selfies and private thoughts on social media can lead to unhealthy self-centeredness that makes you more concerned with maintaining your online persona than creating real-life moments with your friends and family. Making a lot of effort to control your reputation or obtain validation from others can negatively affect your mental health, especially if you don’t get the acceptance you’re looking for. In the end, the absence of encouraging comments online might result in self-doubt and self-hatred.
One issue, according to researchers, is that social media use can disturb sleep, and lack of sleep can result in worry and sadness. Several ways using social media at night interferes with sleep:
- Many individuals wake up in the middle of the night to check or respond to messages.
- People stay up late online.
- A screen’s light can disrupt one’s circadian cycle.
Teenagers claim to use social media at night, even when it interferes with their sleep. They worry that if they don’t use their phones at night, they won’t get the chance to interact with potential friends online, which they think will hurt their in-person social connections.
It could be time to re-evaluate your online behaviors if you spend a lot of time on social media and start to experience feelings of melancholy, dissatisfaction, irritation, and loneliness that affect your life and your relationships.