The use of social networking sites has become increasingly popular in the past few years. Social media has now become an important part of everyone’s life. It is something which is influencing our daily lives, and it has become extremely important for everyone (including brands, businesses, celebrities, and audiences) to have an online presence in the social media world.
Many of us are using social media as a regular means of communication. No matter what activities we do for the whole day. We make sure to check our Facebook and stay updated on Instagram.
In today’s globalizing society, social media is a part of our daily routine. Is it just a routine or is social media eating up our lives?
Social media is a boon as it has become easier to connect with people and industries overseas. But it is important to understand that this virtual world of networking is also a bit of a trap which is dominating our lives. Social media is consuming our lives and can be detrimental and damaging to our mental health.
Studies have shown that the excessive consumption of social media can have long-lasting effects on our mental health. According to various studies, the prolonged use of social media is linked with the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem in teenagers and adolescents. It can also affect our sleep quality and hyperactivity.
Health experts also say that sitting in front of social media is the new age version of smoking. The effects of social media can be pretty damaging which is not good for our mental well-being.
Social media is a benefit for all those who struggled with socializing and communicating face-to-face. However, there are many people who are struggling with trolls, toxic comparisons, and cyberbullying because of the use of social media.
People of all ages are using social networking sites these days, and it is important to know how social media can have a negative influence on our mental health. Following are the ways in which social media could negatively affect your mental health.
1. Internet addiction disorder
Are you always on your phone checking updates on Facebook and Instagram? Are you excessively consuming social media? If your answer is yes, you may be suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder or IAD.
You may also be suffering from IAD if you play a lot of video games on the Internet or shop online always. However, social networking sites are one of the major reasons for people suffering from IAD.
Social networking sites get the users “hooked” which is interfering with their daily lives – relationships, work, and personal lives. Because of their addictive behavior, people might neglect their personal life. The over-dependence on social media can affect people from a psychological perspective and would affect negatively.
2. Decreased self-esteem
The use of social media has a major impact on our self-esteem. It can make an individual self-conscious and insecure. When we spend a lot of time online on social media, we tend to make comparisons which decrease our self-esteem and our confidence levels. Studies in the past have shown that self-esteem has an impact on our overall well-being and has a direct relationship with our overall health.
Constant exposure to social media can negatively affect our minds because many-a-times people take social media way too seriously and get trapped by the unrealistic standards set by social media. Seeking validation in terms of likes and followers, making comparisons with fellow people will tend to lower self-esteem which will further lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
3. Anxiety and Depression
The excessive use of social media could be a big cause for mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown the people who use multiple social media accounts are at higher risks of problems such as anxiety and depression.
Cyberbullying is on the rise, and prolonged bullying on social media can lead to suicidal thoughts, anxiety disorders, and depression.
4. Making comparisons with other’s lives is mentally unhealthy
No matter what medium it is, the spiral of silence happens all the time wherein a few people isolate themselves and never express their thoughts. A lot of people feel socially isolated and tend to silence their thoughts because they start comparing themselves with avid users of social media.
Social media promotes social comparison, and it is important to know that comparison is bad as well as a dangerous habit. Comparing ourselves with others will only take our job and lead to more insecurities and agony. Comparing can lead to feelings of loneliness, unhappiness, and depression.
5. Lesser Human connection
Social interaction is critically important for good mental health. But with the coming of social media, we’re glued to our mobile screens and desktops and have less face-to-face interaction.
Having more friends and followers on social media doesn’t mean that you have a better social life. It is important to have personal and realistic connections than engaging online on social media.
6. Sleep deprivation and FOMO
Social media is linked to increasing sleep deprivation and using social media even for a couple of hours can have adverse effects on your sleep.
The excessive use of social media can also lead to FOMO (fear of missing out), a type of social anxiety. FOMO is dangerous and can cause stress and can also decrease your ability to concentrate on other things.
Social media is beneficial, but it is important to balance your social life with real-life relationships.