Social media has permeated almost every aspect of our lives. From scrolling through Facebook and Instagram to tweeting our thoughts on Twitter, we spend hours on social media each day. While social media has brought people closer and provided means for sharing information quickly, it has also had a profound impact on our mental health. Today, we discuss the impact of social media on mental health, with experts weighing in on this issue.
Social media is not to blame, but it has an impact.
Social media has been blamed for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and even suicide. While social media is not the sole cause of these conditions, it has led to the increase of these conditions. Studies have shown that frequent social media use is associated with depression and anxiety, which can be attributed to the negative impact of social media on self-esteem, body image, and relational issues. According to Dr. Aric Prather, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, “Social media is not the sole cause of negative mental health, but it can certainly serve as a catalyst for many of the negative feelings that contribute to mental health issues.”
Comparison is the thief of happiness.
Social media is a breeding ground for comparison, it allows us to constantly compare ourselves with each other, which can lead to a sense of inadequacy, making us feel like we are not good enough. Social media has made it easier for people to present a version of themselves that is not authentic. According to Dr. Jeff Ditzell, a board-certified psychiatrist, “people are often putting forward a version of themselves that is curated, edited, and carefully crafted, which can lead to a sense of inadequacy and inferiority for those who compare themselves to these edited versions of life.”
Social media is addictive.
Like any form of addiction, social media is hard to quit once you get hooked. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average teen spends about nine hours a day online, while the average adult spends almost six hours a day online. The excessive use of social media can lead to mood swings, irritability, sleep problems, and other mental health issues. According to Dr. Ditzell, “As with any addiction, social media use can become destructive when it interferes with other aspects of life, such as work or school, or when it becomes a way to avoid uncomfortable feelings or experiences.”
Social media is not all bad.
While it’s easy to point out the negatives of social media, it’s important to note that there are positives as well. Social media has connected people from all over the world, it has provided a platform for people to voice their opinions, and has provided an outlet for people to form support groups. According to Dr. Prather, “Social media can provide a sense of community and belonging, which is important for mental health. It’s important to find a healthy balance when it comes to social media use.”
Establishing healthy habits when it comes to social media.
While social media can contribute to mental health issues, it’s possible to establish healthy habits to mitigate these risks. Limiting social media use, unfollowing people who make you feel bad about yourself, and taking breaks from social media are all helpful ways to establish healthy habits when it comes to social media. According to Dr. Ditzell, “It’s important to be intentional about social media use, choose the times of day when you will check social media sites, set time limits for yourself, and when possible, avoid using social media altogether late at night when you should be sleeping.”
In conclusion, social media has had a profound impact on our mental health, for better or for worse. While social media can provide a sense of community, it can also lead to a sense of inadequacy, and excessive use can contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It’s important to establish healthy habits when it comes to social media, such as limiting use, unfollowing people who make you feel bad about yourself, and taking breaks from social media. As with anything in life, balance is key, and it’s important to find a healthy balance when it comes to social media use.